Art and Board of Director Engagement…

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Happy Friday!

On Tuesday, December 6th, I had the honor and pleasure to discuss some of the things I am most passionate about in life and in Charlotte, NC. As part of the #discussclt podcast which is produced by Charlotte Magazine (www.charlottemagazine.com) I was interviewed by Andy Smith and Andy Goh [The 2 Andy’s as I called them!) about my art and board of director involvement along with how others can get involved.

Take time to listen to the podcast and let me know what you think!

http://www.charlottemagazine.com/Charlotte-Magazine/September-2016/LISTEN-DiscussCLT-Podcast-Episode-8/

Have an awesome day!

Cheers.

Keith Cradle (@mrcradle on IG/Twitter)

Life Happens…

Good Morning All,

Happy Wednesday to you and I pray your week has been off to a remarkable start. Starting is just as important as finishing. So having a strong start can help prepare you for the things that will come. As the title of this post and the old saying goes…LIFE HAPPENS.

LIFE HAPPENS in the midst of everything we set out to do. From the plans we make to the strategic decisions we design, nothing skews or throws us a curve like life. When crafting your external plans or branding schemes for your nonprofit or small business, you can never be fully prepared for the “LIFE HAPPENS” moment. It just happens and you need to be flexible and willing to adjust.

I converse with plenty of people who want to begin or are in the first few stages of development for their nonprofit and the full display of optimism is front and center. They discuss all the things they wish to do along with how the business will look in 5 years. Hell, they even have a mock-up of the office space once they reach a certain amount of money and decide to purchase an office. All well and good because the dream and confidence in the future is important.  However, no one ever discusses the contingency plans for when “LIFE HAPPENS.”

Trust and believe, LIFE WILL HAPPEN, and you as the owner need to be prepared. Potential donors rescind funds, employees quit or have children, there is a fire in the office, data records get washed away, computers crash, business credit/debit cards get lost or stolen. I could go on for months with the never-ending LIFE HAPPENS scenarios. So while that sounds awful, just know there is a silver lining to those dark and gloomy clouds. And here are 3 things you can do:

  1. Have back up plans for the back up plans: Nothing like having a Plan A, B, C, D; so that when LIFE HAPPENS, you will have a guideline on how to proceed.
  2. Be very flexible: Bending never made anyone break. So don’t be so rigid to the current business plan and be ok with change.
  3. Seek guidance: LIFE HAS HAPPENED to a lot of business owners. So talk with those that have experience and learn how they got through it.

Again, things are going to go wrong. Do not fret or sweat the small stuff. Just know that you can push through and your nonprofit/small business will be fine. If you need help getting through crisis moments and needing organizational plans, please contact us @ JSW Media Group so we can be there when LIFE HAPPENS.

Have an awesome day!

Cheers.

Keith Cradle [@mrcradle on IG/Twitter]

Organizational Culture…

Good Morning All and I hope/pray you are having an awesome Wednesday! We are in the third week of October, with Halloween right around the corner. Which will essentially means we have 2 more months left in 2015.  As we prepare to close out the year, the most recent blog posts have been about getting ready for 2016. So today, I want to continue that trend and make sure we are preparing correctly plus finding out if there is some retooling that needs to be done before January 1st, 2016.

Today, I want to touch on “Organizational Culture.” This concept is so important because it helps define what type of nonprofit you are or want to be. It also helps staff, volunteers, potential donors connect to the mission/vision of the organization.  Culture in society plays a huge role in crafting and keeping traditions.  And traditions are key for consistency, value creation and continued development.

Take a look at your agency or current employment assignment and try to determine what the “Organizational Culture” is. Is it one of empowerment? A culture that breeds gossip and deception? Or does it pass on positive traditions that invest people into the long-term goals?  The “Organizational Culture” that is created can speak volumes and determine possible successes and failures.

But alas, the “Organizational Culture” comes from those that are in charge. So if you are the Executive Director, Boss or Director, just know that it is a top down approach. If your staff is negative and back-biting, chances are they got that from you! And just the opposite. A leader that fosters positivity, openness and growth usually gets that back from those they employ or supervise.  So you have to ask yourself, who I am or who do I want to be as a leader?

“Organizational Culture” is one of the tabs that is hard to quantify but can easily be qualified. Word of mouth is powerful and you should pay attention to the things people say about your nonprofit/small business.  If you need help defining or understanding your organizations culture, please contact us at JSW Media Group so we can get you started on the right path!

http://www.jswmediagroup.com/

Thank you for reading and have an awesome day.

Cheers.

Keith Cradle (@mrcradle on IG/Twitter)

A Change Gonna Come…

Hola! Happy Friday and with Hurricane Joaquin bearing down on the East Coast, I pray you are safe, warm and dry. The month of October is upon us, which means fall weather, sweaters/jackets and the sun going down a lot quicker. In other words, a change is coming!

“These the rainy days they say you should be saving for, but when sun shines no one carries umbrellas…” Fabolous

Change is the only thing that is constant. Seasons change. People change. And your business changes. But are you ready for the inevitable change that is going to come? As an owner, director, manager/supervisor or frontline employee, you must be prepared for change and adaptation.  Business models and strategic plans should include provisions for the predictable and the unpredictable.

The great thing about nature is the way it prepares and showcases change. Leaves on trees change colors and then shed. Animals begin to store up food for the long winter.  Seeds become dormant but prepare for spring and a new blossoming. But do you prepare your small business or nonprofit for the change that is coming?

If not, here are three things you can do to prepare:

  1. Take a look at the budget and see where you can trim: Find ways to store up resources and scale back during lulls in business
  2.  Decide if seasonal staff/volunteers are right for you: Nothing like having help at low costs during the winter months, especially students needing internship or volunteer hours
  3. Take a look at your online presence and does it need a refresh: Just like the leaves changing colors, maybe your logo needs a touch of color

While there are plenty of other things you can do, these are just a few to get your mind working and thinking about how to approach the impending changes. Because the changes are going to come. But will you be ready? If you are not ready and need help, please make sure to contact us at JSW Media Group and we can service all of your small/nonprofit business needs.

http://www.jswmediagroup.com/

Have an awesome weekend!

Cheers.

Keith Cradle (@mrcradle on IG/Twitter)

Why a Vision Statement is So Important…

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Good Morning All!

As always, thank you for taking the time to read and share this blog. Today, I wanted to share a quick story that will hopefully bring some perspective to you and your nonprofit/business as it relates to vision. Having vision is something we all need as business leaders, managers, executives and down to the interns that wish to move up the ladder to leadership positions.

Without vision, you will not have an idea of the path you wish to tread. It is the vision that coincides with the mission and the strategic plan so that the staff and donors know exactly why they do what they do!

Over Labor Day Weekend, I went out to Dallas to visit and play golf with my friend Eric. While the weather was particularly hot, we enjoyed the hours we spent hitting, chipping and attempting to make par. LOL For those that don’t know, I am new golfer having just started playing the game in March of 2014.  So my tenure hasn’t been that long and my experience is nowhere near PGA level.  I have some ok days on the course and then I have some very terrible days. Lots of lost balls and tons of dropped balls back on the course. During that hot Saturday, I found myself and my golf balls behind a lot trees. Yup, on more than one occasion, I would hit the ball directly behind a tree [see picture above.] So while frustration was setting in, I was also able to find the message in the moment and snap that picture.

While my ball was neatly tucked behind the tree, the flag for the hole was right on the other side. So even though I couldn’t see the flag, I knew where I wanted and needed to go. I may not have had the perfect sight but I had vision. My plan to getting to the pin was now going to be altered but that wouldn’t negate my progress. My journey would be a bit delayed as I hit around the tree and back on the fairway but nonetheless, I found my way. So, when you can’t see the forest from the trees, you need to have vision. A vision of where you want to end up.

Such in life, as in business, there will be times you hit obstacles, speed bumps or find yourself behind some trees. Don’t get discouraged. Focus on the end result and know that your flag is on the other side. You will need to take a step back, readjust your business plan and get the business back on the fairway. And once you are back on the fairway, you will see the flag! Hit your next shot there. It may take some time but it will be well worth it.

Hence the reason all businesses need a real and detailed vision and mission statement.  The Vision statement continually reminds you of where you want to go and how ambitious you need to be! If you need help with crafting mission/vision statements or comprehensive nonprofit/small business services, please contact JSW Media Group via the website:

http://jswmediagroup.com/

Have an awesome day!

Cheers.

Keith Cradle [@mrcradle on IG/Twitter]

Programs Aim to Prevent Teens from Becoming Repeat Offenders…

Good Afternoon All,

Today I had the pleasure of talking with News 14 in Charlotte, NC about some of the innovative programs we are offering youth while in custody. Hopefully we can change some of these kids ways of thinking and make sure they do not become a part of the system long-term.

Please see clip attached below:

http://www.twcnews.com/nc/charlotte/news/2015/09/15/programs-aim-to-prevent-teems-from-becoming-repeat-offenders.html

As always, thanks for reading!

Cheers.

Keith Cradle [@mrcradle on IG/Twitter]

Build It & They Still Won’t Come…

Good Morning All and I pray your Wednesday is going well!

I am a huge baseball fan and now that September has arrived, it means pennant races and the Hunt for October. Currently my NY Yankees are in second place in the AL East but leading the Wild Card race so that feels good. Especially considering that they were not picked to get this far or have this record with the aging roster and questionable pitching staff. Just goes to show you that pundits, so-called experts and polls do not always have the answers…you still have to play the games.

Which brings us to the topic of the day. A marginal baseball reference from “Field of Dreams.” If you have not seen the movie, it stars Kevin Costner as Ray Kinsella who is a huge baseball fan living in Iowa. One night while strolling through the cornfields, Ray hears a voice that says “If you build it, he will come…” Kind of spooky but hey, it’s leading you somewhere. The build that Ray is encumbered to take on is a baseball field in hopes of patching up the relationship with his father. You have to see the movie in order to get the full perspective.

However, many of you are having similar voices, dreams or visions that are prompting you to start a nonprofit or small business with the hopes that if you build it, they will come. The golden premise is that we have something great to offer, people need it and they will magically appear spending money, time and resources which will grant our success. But, I am sorry [actually not that sorry because it is the truth] to say that you can BUILD IT & THEY STILL WON’T COME. The problem is not in the creation or ideation of your idea but the lack of promotion, press, attention and marketing of this grand idea!

If no one knows about your business or nonprofit idea, how will they know when and where to support it? You cannot simply rely on word of mouth or a 2 month ad campaign. You must market and promote your idea thoroughly and for more than a year! The monetary investment you make must match the perceived return you wish to gain. Just building it is not enough. You have to let people know you exist. And you have to do that on a consistent basis.

A lot of times, owners do not know when to get out of their own way. They want to do everything themselves and skimp on costs. Now, if you do not have the financial resources I can understand but you should not want to start anything without doing a proper cost analysis.  Marketing and PR should be at the top of your list when it pertains to budgeted items for a start-up. Again, if no one knows you exist or are open for business, you can BUILD IT & THEY STILL WON’T COME.

So take a look at your budget and marketing materials. Decide if hiring a marketing firm is right for you. Reevaluate your promotional material and check to see if your social media pages are producing the results you desire.  Word to the wise, while social media is great and has opened up many new doors to advertising, it does not totally replace a good marketing campaign.

Have an awesome day and if you need help with business needs, make sure you contact JSW Media Group and Jameka Whitten @ http://www.jswmediagroup.com/.

Cheers.

Keith Cradle [@mrcradle on IG/Twitter]