Entrepreneur’s Spotlight: Angela O. James

What’s your entrepreneurial story? Why did you start your business?

I am an Etiquette Coach, Social Innovator, and Mentor and I am a CUTIE Mom! My life’s passion is to motivate and inspire women and girls to take charge of their destiny. I understand the limitless benefits of personal development. I strive to bridge the gap between opportunity and achieving goals by providing the tools and techniques needed for success in an ever-evolving world. I created CUTIE Girl as a vessel for girls to learn the importance of positive behavior. This creates a solid foundation in good manners and proper etiquette to develop strong social skills.

I am dedicated to engaging, empowering and educating women and girls by providing creative and comprehensive classes, workshops, presentations and one-on-one coaching in etiquette and self-development.

Your product/service helps people/organizations do what?

C.U.T.I.E ( Crucially Understanding The Importance of Etiquette) Girl helps to engage, educate, and empower girls and young women. C.U.T.I.E. focuses on self development through etiquette, positive body image, academic and career planning, and community service.

What should I know about starting a business in your industry?

The foundation of etiquette is a behavior accepted as gracious and politeness in social, professional, and family settings. Good manners can mean the difference between success and failure in many aspects of life, having good manners is essential. Some people argue that etiquette no longer matters, that the rules for good behavior are old-fashioned and out of date. However, good behavior and manners are never out of style.

Starting a etiquette business is crucial. Studies suggest that professional success is directly related to a person’s social quotient—a combination of social skills. In a world where things change constantly, possessing core values: integrity, courtesy, sincerity, kindness, are still essential to building positive personal and professional relationships.

How do you stay focused on you, business, and other areas of your life?

Work-life balance— the ability to work hard and be passionate about my business, but also have time for myself in my personal life.

What is your favorite business tool?

Evernote (app), saves my ideas and thoughts in one place which helps me communicate effectively and get things done.

What is your favorite business book?

Successful Women Speak Differently, written by Valorie Burton

What is your favorite quote?

“To whom much is given, much will be required” Luke 12:48 We are held responsible for what we have. If we are blessed with talents, wealth, knowledge, time, it is expected that we use these well to glorify God and benefit others.

Entrepreneur’s Toolkit

Help Wanted!

This just in, “You will need people to help you grow your business”! Now, that’s only if you want to grow from a one person operation. For those who do want to grow, you need to decide who you need on your team and what employee classification they will fall into. Here are some keys to help you get started:

Get help. Don’t hire without knowing the ground rules. Seek out advice from professionals who can get and keep you in the game. An accountant, attorney or human resource professional can lead you in the right direction. The direction of course is how to hire a new team member. As you look for a team, consider a full time employee, independent contractor, intern or strategic partnerships. Each one of these classifications have some type of legal and financial implications to them. Your professional advisors can provide you with the right plays to help you win in the game of business.

Define roles. Ok, you now know the advantages and disadvantages of each classifications. As you go about operating and growing your business, you will need to determine how other people will fit. First, determine your role and if that is the role you are more comfortable with and if that is the role that will grow the company. Now, enlist others like mentors and your advisory board to help you hash out what skills compliment yours in growing the business. Work with your team of experts to write job descriptions, compensation plans, and an employee handbook.The experts will determine what other resources are needed.

Resources to explore. For starters and a good resource, visit http://bit.ly/hireclass. Its one of the resources from the Internal Revenue Service.

Next step. Now that you have new information about hiring, what action will you take? If you are ready to take action, put together a new hire map. Draw a circle in the middle of a sheet of paper. Inside the circle, you can either put a specific project or the skill you need for your business. Draw lines away from the circle. The lines represent how you will onboard the new hire. They will include an action step including tasks (skill needed), where to identify the individual(s), financial resources to pay for the individual, and a timetable for the entire process. This is a simple visual guide to bringing on resources to help you grow your business. Here’s to improving and progressing!

Omar S. Muhammad is an EN-TRE-PRE-NEUR and is the director & entrepreneur for the Entrepreneurial Development & Assistance Center at Morgan State University. You can reach him at omarsmuhammad@gmail.com.

Entrepreneur’s Toolkit

The Entrepreneur’s Toolkit is a resource to help budding and existing entrepreneurs with taking their enterprise to the next level. Each month, I provide tools of the trade, take the pulse of entrepreneurship, and resources to help you develop personally. Consider this column your coach for personal and entrepreneurial growth. I welcome ideas and questions about entrepreneurship that you may need assistance with. This is your space to grow.

Personal improvement

As entrepreneurs or budding entrepreneurs, having a plan to stay motivated is key to your success. There will be plenty of challenges as you go about operating your business including, but not limited to finding new customers, dealing with customers, having the right staffing and of course finding financial resources to stay the course. Having a solid foundation will help. Here are some keys to help you get started:

Hour of Power. In your current situation, do you have an hour to spend on personal improvement? I hope that your answer is yes. Here are some actions you can take in an hour a day:

  1. Read a personal improvement book.

  2. Take a walk to reflect on your personal and business goals.

  3. Listen to a talk on www.ted.com for inspiration.

  4. Listen to an audiobook on personal improvement.

  5. Take an online course to increase your skills and understanding of entrepreneurship.

Brain Team. When you have doubting self talk on a matter, consider incorporating others to keep you on a clear sense of purpose and direction. This is where a brain team comes into play. The team can help you decide on actions to take on challenges or opportunities that may come your way. The brain team can be made up of friends (no “yes” one’s), colleagues, or individuals who you feel will provide you with honest feedback. As the old saying goes, “its better to have more heads to help you reach your goals.” Ok, I took some liberty in adding to the old saying.

Resources to explore. There are many resources available to assist you in your personal development and the development of your business toolkit. Consider these resources:

  1. www.audible.com, type in self help. Your public library has personal development audio books that you can check out.

  2. If you listen to podcasts, there are a host of podcasts on personal development that you can download and listen to at your convenience

  3. Your local community college has continuing education courses based on the type of skills you want to acquire.

  4. There are some good resources online to use to acquire new skills. Consider: lynda.com, udemy.com or sba.gov

Next step. Now that you have this information, what action will you take? If you are ready to take action, email me to obtain your complimentary personal improvement plan.