MEET EGBI CLIENT – MARIA DOMINGUEZ

By Marisol Klauer

Maria Dominguez was born in Guanajuato, Mexico. Her mother migrated to Texas with her and her three siblings when she was just nine years old. She attended Texas State University where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, majoring in Bilingual Education in 2007.  Mrs. Maria received her EC-4 Bilingual Certification from the state of Texas in December 2007. In 2008, Mrs. Maria began her career as a Kindergarten teacher and became school director three years later.  While working at the preschool she joined the graduate program at Texas State University and on May 2012 she graduated with a Master’s degree in Bilingual Bicultural Education and a minor in Educational Leadership. Receiving DACA gave her the opportunity to begin working at Rodriguez Elementary as a Pre-K Bilingual Teacher and and a few years later she became a First Grade Bilingual Teacher. A few years later Maria became a Certified School Counselor in May 2018 and had the opportunity to work as a school counselor at Elgin Elementary school.

Due to her contribution in her classroom and in her community, Mrs. Maria was honored at the White House in the summer of 2016, as a DACAmented Teacher Champion of Change. She was also awarded Bilingual Teacher of the Year by the Austin Area Association for Bilingual Education in May 2017. She was also awarded Campus Teacher of the Year at Rodriguez Elementary School in 2016.

Maria founded Cielito Lindo Spanish Immersion Preschool in December 2019, expanding to a second location in November of 2021. Since then, Mrs. Maria has been the owner/director managing both locations. She plans to continue providing a multilingual education for young children and enhancing her program to provide a high quality early childhood education. 

Maria shares her experience as a client of EGBI.

Do you mind telling us a fun fact about yourself?

I used to be in Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) when I was in High School and in my senior year I was the group commander 🙂


How did you first get involved with EGBI?

I first got involved when I was working at preschool in 2009, I believe. I found out about EGBI through FB, the ad said something like, do you want to start your own business and are you interested in learning how to do it. So I decided to attend the series of workshops and I actually completed the program and graduated in the fall of that year.  My dream had always been, since I was a little girl, to become a teacher and have my own school. I used to be the teacher in my neighborhood when I lived in Mexico and then when I came to the United States at the age of 9 years old. 


Why is it important to support organizations such as EGBI?

It’s important to help organizations like EGBI because they actually do what they say they do. They support small businesses by providing mentorship and workshops on taxes, business plan, marketing, loans, etc. depending on your income, they will only charge you a portion of what the classes are and many times they are free. They have a huge network and are always willing to help you connect with the right people that can help grow and improve your business. 


How has your involvement with EGBI helped you grow professionally and personally?

It has help grow my knowledge of how to run my business. With their guidance and business classes, they have helped me feel more confident to be able to make the right decisions for our business and our Cielito Lindo Preschool families. I look forward to continuing working with EGBI in the future. All of the staff is awesome!! I am not sure what I would’ve done without their support. Cielito Lindo SIP has been blessed by having the opportunity to work with an such a great organization like EGBI. 

Want to get involved ? Contact us to find out how you can volunteer or donate.

Meet EGBI Volunteer – Kitty Bird

By Marisol Klauer

“Wouldn’t it be great if…” is by far the most common thing out of my mouth, which is usually followed up with some outrageous idea I’ve concocted in that moment. It’s true I was once labeled “an idea machine”. Always looking for that inspiration, that connection, that key moment that brings something to light. Photography is a passion of mine that does just that. Connecting with people can be so inspiring; and yes, I can be an enthusiast on just about any topic. Let’s talk!

Been a Texan since 2004 and the amazing landscape and tiny towns are becoming an essential part of my DNA. I’m currently hosting guests in Austin, Leakey and Concan Texas, photographing the lifestyle and heartbeat of small businesses and pushing the fair-trade movement with Ten Thousand Villages. 

Kitty shares her experience as a volunteer with EGBI and how you can get involved too.

To get started, do you mind telling us a fun fact about yourself?

I coordinated and am part of the Guinness Book Of World records for the largest singing bowl ensemble through Ten Thousand Villages.

How did you first get involved with EGBI?

I answered a volunteer ad because I wanted experience in shooting for small businesses. 

Why do you volunteer for EGBI?

To meet people and use my talents to help them. I also wanted to expand my portfolio as a photographer.

How has your involvement with EGBI helped you grow professionally and personally?

Just meeting Monica from EGBI has helped a ton! She encouraged me in areas that I didn’t realize were important. Now I have experience in working with small business’ owners and can expand my portfolio to include commercial photography. Plus, I’ve met so many wonderful people who have used EGBI’s services. It’s a community of incredibly warm, friendly, and giving people. 

Want to get involved too? Contact us to find out how you can volunteer or donate.

How To Promote Your Business on Alignable

Are you starting your own business? Do you want to know if anyone around you is too?

Alignable is an online network that connects small business owners. It is a US-based company that went public in 2014. Now, it has more than 7 million members.

Imagine a LinkedIn but specifically, for micro and small business owners.

Here is what Alignable can help you with:

Make connections with other business owners

Alignable is meant to act as an “ice breaker” for this community by helping you make connections, post about your business, and refer others. You can announce new events or product lines to all your contacts at once.  

You can also create and join groups to connect with other business owners that have similar interests. When you first join, Alignable adds you to a community that includes the businesses in your general area.

This makes it easy for other owners in your area to seek out your business and vice versa. Once you establish a connection with each other, you can continue it through Alignable.

Contribute to your local community

Alignable is great to get you in contact with business owners in your local community.

It spans about 5 to 10 towns in your area and you can personalize your connections by specifying who you want to connect with.

These might be potential customers and partners!

Here are 3 Steps to Promoting Your Business on Alignable:

Step 1: Figure out the logistics

You need your post to communicate your event or announcement clearly. What is the title of your announcement? What is the date and time of your event? Who is it for? What are you promoting?

Step 2: Create art for your post

Unique social media art is a big part of catching your audience. Make sure your message is clear and the color palette is simple. Your design should be something that you stop scrolling to take a look.

Step 3: Share your post

Below is a list of all the different functions on Alignable. You are able to click what kind of post you want to share so your potential consumers can understand your post’s purpose.

The main difference between Alignable and LinkedIn is that it’s more casual. Since it connects you from town to town, it feels close knit.

If you want to contribute to your local community and connect with other small business owners in your area, Alignable might be good for you.

Small businesses deserve the spotlight too.

See if Alignable is a good complimentary platform for you.  

Meet EGBI Client – Luis Salinas

By Marisol Klauer

Luis Salinas is the owner of 24hr Passports and Visa Services. Born and raised in Austin, he graduated from St Edwards University with a degree in Business Administration in May 2021. He started his passport expediting business in April 2022 and has been in business for over 7 months. Luis says EGBI has been instrumental in his business’ success and has helped him every step of the way.

Luis shares his experience as a client of EGBI.

Do you mind telling us a fun fact about yourself?

I started my first business when I was 8 yrs old. I sold glow sticks and toys to kids at events where my mom was the photographer.

How did you first get involved with EGBI?

I got involved with EGBI through a friend’s recommendation, who was also a business owner. He told me how much of a positive influence EGBI has had on his business and convinced me to check it out.

Why is it important to support organizations such as EGBI?

It’s important to support organizations like EGBI because they support the wellbeing of our community, as well as foster economic growth and advancement.

How has your involvement with EGBI helped you grow professionally and personally?

My involvement with EGBI gave me the confidence to start my business and take a leap of faith. Thanks to them, I finally got the ball rolling.

Why is it important to learn information in your primary language?

Spanish is my first language and I believe it’s very important to embrace your roots. I was born in the U.S. and have lived here my entire life, but my parents are originally from Mexico. They would only allow me to speak Spanish at home and instilled a very deep sense of pride for my Mexican heritage. That is why I embrace learning in Spanish, and why I continue to develop my ability to communicate with others that share the same language.

Want to get involved too? Contact us to find out how you can volunteer or donate.

Meet EGBI Clients – Owners Of Natural Healing Wellness Co.

By Marisol Klauer

Christina worked in Social Work for more than a decade and earned a Master of Science from UT-Austin. Christina then went on to work for the next decade serving the mentally ill population in various agencies in Austin.  Though she thoroughly enjoyed supporting her clients and empowering their agency for change, she felt she needed to transition to living her dharma by teaching various aspects of Spirituality. During this time, Christina began to experience a spiritual awakening that transformed her view of the world and her role in it. Christina enjoys spending time in nature so you can find her on the hiking trails in Austin.

Aaron Gobert is also a University of Texas-Austin Alumni, who previously worked as an Audio Engineer with his own record company, “ATX Recording”. Aaron later pursued a career in the medical industry and worked for various agencies in the Austin area. During this time, Aaron began to educate himself about the Alkaline lifestyle and its benefits. Aaron went on to share this valuable information with Christina and they founded Natural Healing Wellness Co. In his spare time, Aaron enjoys educating others about genetics and human history.

Christina shares her experience as a client of EGBI.

Do you mind telling us a fun fact about yourself?

My husband and I are both University of Texas Alumni.

How did you first get involved with EGBI?

I attended one of Monica’s Marketing classes online first. Then I started coaching with her and took the 90 day goals course later.

Why is it important to support organizations such as EGBI?

I love the work that EGBI is doing to support small businesses in Austin. Starting a business is a challenging task, but it is nice to know I can call Monica or Joni to point me in the right direction.

How has EGBI helped you grow professionally and personally?

EGBI has helped me to step out of comfort zone in advertising my business and reaching my goals.

I especially loved the 90 day goal course. Though I did not reach all my goals, I was able to create some serious momentum that propelled my business forward, in a way I may not have accomplished on my own.

Want to get involved too? Contact us to find out how you can volunteer or donate.

Meet EGBI’s Summer Program Intern- Aamir Kutianawala

By Alison Flangel

Meet Aamir Kutianawala, a summer program intern at EGBI. Aamir has been working with EGBI for the summer. He is a rising junior at Westwood High School and would like to go more into business/marketing as he progresses with his education. Outside of school and EGBI, Aamir is part of his school’s debate team, robotics team, DECA team, and various others as well. He loves playing and watching sports in his free time, and has also been pursuing guitar on the side!

Aamir shares his experience as a volunteer with EGBI and how you can get involved too.

To get started, would you mind telling us a fun fact about yourself?

I have been learning to play the guitar for 3 years.

How have you been involved with EGBI?

I have been working on a variety of tasks, but mainly help clients/business owners with finances and marketing. I also provide broad support by making lectures for entire groups of clients, along with helping to complete any general tasks.

Why do you think it is important to volunteer at EGBI?

I think it’s important to work with EGBI to support disadvantaged business owners, and help bridge the gap with underrepresented groups in business.

What has your favorite experience with EGBI been so far?

My favorite experience has been taking and editing pictures for a client’s Etsy shop.

“EGBI helps you make a difference in the community.”– Aamir Kutianawala

In 2021, EGBI volunteers put in more than 130 hours to help EGBI support and serve over 400 small businesses. Volunteers like Ken make this possible and continue to help EGBI pursue their mission of training, coaching, and supporting aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business.

Want to get involved too? Contact us to find out how you can volunteer or donate.

Meet EGBI’s Summer Program Intern- Shamitha Ramanan

By Alison Flangel

Hi! My name is Shamitha and I have been with EGBI for a month now and it has been an enriching experience. I am an incoming senior at Westwood High School, and as my education progresses, I hope to pursue a degree in finance or management. Outside of EGBI, I am in my school’s orchestra, Academy Ambassador program, GenShe, and several other clubs and honor societies.

Shamitha shares her experience as an intern with EGBI and how you can get involved too.

To get started, would you mind telling us a fun fact about yourself?

A fun fact about me is that I grew up mainly in London, England, and California.

How have you been involved with EGBI?

I mainly do research and analysis for clients’ businesses to see where they can improve financially. I’ve also recently worked on importing and exporting goods, bookkeeping, and more.

Why do you think it is important to volunteer at EGBI?

EGBI allows you to connect with people from all kinds of different backgrounds and changes your perspective on business and the world around you.

What has your favorite experience with EGBI been so far?

My favorite experience has been attending the 90 Days business workshop. I’ve been able to connect with a lot of different people and learn about their businesses and inspirations. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet with them one-on-one to help expand their businesses.  

“EGBI provides you the opportunity to learn new skills, communicate, and network.” – Shamitha Ramanan

In 2021, EGBI volunteers put in more than 130 hours to help EGBI support and serve over 400 small businesses. Volunteers like Ken make this possible and continue to help EGBI pursue their mission of training, coaching, and supporting aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business.

Want to get involved too? Contact us to find out how you can volunteer or donate.

Trello for businesses

Trello for Small Business Owners

By Shamitha Ramanan

Trello is a web-based project management program with an easy-to-use interface and a lot of flexibility for organizations of all sizes and sectors. It’s an excellent option for entrepreneurs and company owners searching for a low-cost solution. Trello’s base plan is free, but they do offer two paid versions: Business Class and Enterprise.

Features

The first thing people will notice that distinguishes this platform from others is that it has no restriction on the number of projects, users, or tasks. The site also provides templates that are customized to specific sorts of tasks. 

Trello divides projects into boards, similar to the software in Pinterest, and divides diverse chores into easy, basic phases. Time-sensitive activities may be assigned a due date and time, and when done, just drag and drop them into the next phase of your board.

Productivity & Creativity

Whether you’re working on a design sprint that has to be structured into phases or a creative project for your newest client that needs to go through numerous review procedures before completion, the platform can help you get everything organized and done as efficiently as possible. 

Product Development

Trello may help you assign tasks to different members of your team and keep track of product phases and deadlines.

Sales 

If you want to organize your sales cycle with Trello, the software makes it quite straightforward. Lists may be established to track lead information, score, and status, and team members can be allocated to different cards. 

In one page, you can move cards down your pipeline, designate due dates for tasks for your clients, attach necessary documents, and keep track of where your leads are in your sales or CRM pipelines.

Event Planning 

Trello is also a wonderful tool for event planning, even if you are not a professional event planner.  You may make a board for a specific event and lists to help you keep track of deadlines, task status, and dates.

Save money

Actions to reduce operating costs

By Shamitha Ramanan

By lowering your operating costs, you can outperform your competitors. Small business entrepreneurs ought to constantly hunt for strategies to save costs without compromising the caliber of their goods or services. 

Consider these suggestions to lower your company’s operational expenses and possibly increase revenue:

1. Automate tasks

Numerous internet platforms and software tools are available that help streamline and automate a small business’ daily operations. Numerous functions, like bookkeeping, website hosting, marketing communications, payroll, and others, can be handled by these systems. 

Technology is beneficial because it encourages productivity. Efficiency results in lower operational expenses, especially for things like direct labor.

2. Outsource 

Delegating certain jobs to subject matter specialists will help you save money and provide even better outcomes. Marketing and advertising are two areas that gain most from outsourcing. Certain operations can be outsourced as a long-term investment that pays off in the long run.

3. Find a freelancer

It’s one thing to outsource your IT department or human resources’ requirements, but what about routine tasks? In your company, freelancers might step in to cover tasks that aren’t always required. 

It makes little sense to hire a full-time staff for sporadic demands.

4. Pay your bills in advance

Many suppliers may give you a discount if you pay your bill ahead of time. Savings of even 2%–3% every billing cycle can add up quickly. 

To minimize any late fees or other penalties, make sure to at the very least pay your invoices on time. The same holds true for any other debt you have, including loans. If you are late or start missing payments, your interest costs might rise.

5. Think eco-friendly

Your company’s running costs go up when you print everything from fliers and catalogs to internal papers. Encourage staff to print papers only when absolutely required, and if you must print a catalog, purchase a size that will prevent any from ending up in the recycling. 

Compact fluorescent lighting should be used to save heating and cooling expenses, and physical waste should be reduced. To save energy, disconnect the equipment from any unused workstations to decrease electricity usage. You’ll save money on monthly office supplies prices in addition to electricity bills.

construction business

Start a Construction Business in Austin, Texas

By Monica Peña

Are you wanting to start a business in the construction industry, but don’t know where to begin?  Whether you specialize in flooring, remodeling, painting, or roofing, below are helpful tips to successfully launch the company.

  • Get experience.  If you have not already worked for a construction business, there are many aspects of the business that you may not have considered.  Industry rules related to areas from permits, licensing, contracts to customer service can be less straight forward than anticipated.
  • Register the business.  Registering your business establishes it as a legal entity which helps the owner have limited personal liability, receive funding, and create a brand that is recognizable to potential customers.  
  • Create a business plan. A business plan can help with all aspects of your start up from potential problems, pricing to explaining the concept for your business. It is a road map to the success of your business.
  • Fund your business.  Figure out a budget and how the construction business will be financed. How will material and labor be paid for? How and when will payments on projects be received?
  • Decide on the niche of the company.  Choose the specialty of the work whether projects are commercial, residential, or government contracts. Determine certain area of Austin or surrounding towns that the business will concentrate.
  • Build a marketing plan.  This includes creating a strong brand with name, logo, and figuring out how to communicate the niche of the company. Design a plan to communicate with potential clients, customers, and territories.  
  • Take advantage of resources available for your new business. EGBI provides training, coaching, and support to aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business.  Staff helps connect business owners with different business tools and outside resources.

Contact us to meet with a business coach that can help guide you through your small business journey. To get started, register HERE.