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What Have You Got To Lose?

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April 14, 2020

If you’re a mid-90s punk rock fan, then Sublime’s What I Got is probably the first song that comes to mind. Coincidentally, the feel-good lyrics ” life’s too short so love the one you got” fits squarely in the box for Day 9 of the 30 day song challenge that’s spreading like wildfire on social media.

Yet, for a significant portion of our community, the answer to the question, “what do you have to lose?” isn’t tied to catchy rock song lyrics, it’s: everything.  Indeed, experts project that a re-opening of the economy won’t occur for some time and estimate significant adverse economic impacts. 

So, this week we’re exploring whether the current environment changes  what it means to give from what you’ve got. 

What Time Is It?

Time is a construct.  Unlike other social devices, this theoretical framework and unit of measurement actually helps us make sense of the abstract world in which we live. Plus, it makes homeschooling much, much, much easier. 

If you asked me to hold a meeting, complete a task, or perform a favor a mere 2 months ago, the default answer would be, “as soon as I find the time.”  Now, though we remain busy as ever, the time to complete all the recycled items on the to-do list seems to have magically materialized.

South Florida leaders like Valencia Gunder of Smile TrustVanessa Tinsley of Bridge to Hope and Dr. Armen Henderson dedicate their time to ensure the basic needs of our most vulnerable populations are met during times of crisis.

Time has a value. Although the stock market is experiencing record volatility, time, however fleeting, is a quick, low risk investment. And, while we need not quantify it financially, the ROI of reconnecting, mentoring, advising, coaching, or running errands for others is priceless.   Particularly when made in the folks who fall within our immediate and extended community– staff, clients or vendors, and mastermind and fellow innovators.  How are you donating your time?

The Talented Tenth

Unlikely W.E.B. Dubois’ theory of talent tenth — a push to better resource the natural top talent among leaders of color– more than 10% of our community possesses unique talents.  Individually and collectively, we can choose to leverage our our skills for the benefit of others.

Martin Ekechukwu of WhtWrks launched the #donate1post campaign, which matches social media influencers with small business to drive engagement and expand marketing reach.  In less than 10 days, this creative giving campaign has donated an estimated $200,000+  in free marketing through a simple need-resource match model. 

This example demonstrates that intangibles like our brand value, influence, networks and reputation + a little creativity can go a long way. How are you sharing even 10% of your talent?

Buried Treasure

The barrage of government and philanthropic led incentive programs has proved essential in unlocking much-needed grants, loans and other resources. Unfortunately, for many entrepreneurs and small business owners, the pathway from program to dollars in the bank has left them dumbfounded.  Indeed, SMEs report widespread confusion and lack of clear access points for many of the newly created funding resources.

Amidst the deluge of information, few if any, resources provide support or thought partnership around how to develop an individual financial crisis strategy.  Sure, a natural first reaction is to scream, eat ice cream, freak out, then repeat.  We recognize, however, that ignoring the problem rarely leads to a positive outcome. 

Where others see a problem, we see an opportunity. By, filling gaps in access and information, we can connect more $$$ to those who need it the most.  For example, the upcoming #VCMVirtual interactive workshop, Not Another CARES Act Webinar, in partnership with Microsoft, the SBA, Emineo Media, and others, promises a dose of humor, but also the real deal on strategies to keep your business afloat during COVID-19.

Though giving away throngs of money may not be in your budget, an alternative consideration is:  How are you making funding more accessible?

In our recent How Can We Help? appeal, I shared that my favorite principle from Venture Cafe Miami’s Community Credo is: give before you get. Whether you give of your time, talent or treasure, this practice instantly encourages a shift in perspective away from self to focus  instead on adding value to others.  Plus, when you give, you’ve got nothing to lose.

Cheers,

Leigh-Ann / Venture Cafe Miami

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