For the second in the series of posts answering frequently asked questions about NWA FaithWorks, we take up the topic of what makes NWA FaithWorks unique. Josh Bryant has a saying, "differentiate or die." He didn't coin the phrase - that honor belongs to Jack Trout in his book by the same title. However, the premise is the same. Any business that is not unique in its field and service area is going to have a hard time surviving. There are other incubators here in Northwest Arkansas. What makes NWA FaithWorks different?
Faith-Based. There are few faith-based incubators anywhere in the country, and none of them are based in Northwest Arkansas. NWA FaithWorks is one of the few in the U.S. that are markedly faith-based and designed to help entrepreneurs build and run a business consistent with their faith and as a means of taking the gospel to Northwest Arkansas and the world.
Lawyer Lead. There are also very few incubators lead by attorneys in the U.S., and none of them are based in Northwest Arkansas either. Since it is lawyer lead, those in the program can have all of their legal work done at no fee. Since Josh Bryant is a tax attorney, entrepreneurs in the program have all of their tax work done at no fee as well. In a world that is becoming more regulated and litigious by the minute, it helps to have a lawyer coach you through the startup years of your business. For more on why you should join a lawyer lead incubator, see our previous post.
No Equity. Neither Josh Bryant nor NWA FaithWorks take an equity stake in your business. Many incubators will allow you to enter their program for no fee other than taking an ownership interest in your business. This is your business, so we want you to own it and run it. We won't take an equity stake in your company in exchange for your participation in the program. We have a simple fee that covers everything: utilities, rent, phone, internet, legal work, tax work, access to capital, discipleship, networking, and more. That fee is a flat $400 per month.
Competitor Ban. We will not admit two entrepreneurs to the program that compete with one another. If we get an insurance agent in the program, that will be the only insurance agent we have. When we get a graphic designer, that will be the only graphic designer in the program. Josh Bryant wants your business to succeed, so he will not admit your competitors to the program. This will give you a distinct advantage over your competition.
There are only a few spots left in the incubator. Put in your application today by clicking on the NWA FaithWorks tab above.
Josh Bryant is telling everyone he knows how excited he is about NWA FaithWorks. He always gets the same questions - what will NWA FaithWorks do? What makes it unique? How will it help entrepreneurs? What types of entrepreneurs will it help? These are a few questions we'll answer on the blog over the next week or so. What will NWA FaithWorks do?
Infrastructure. NWA FaithWorks will provide entrepreneurs with the infrastructure they need to get their business going. If they have not formed an LLC or other business organization, Josh Bryant will create that for them. He will help them get their EFTPS and ATAP accounts established. He'll get them set up with accounting software. He'll help them figure out how much to pay themselves and how much to withhold for taxes. NWA FaithWorks will provide the workspace, meeting space, high speed internet, and telephone. In short, all of the infrastructure needed to get a business off the ground is already in place. You just have to go market and do your business.
Discipleship. NWA FaithWorks is an incubator for faith-based small businesses whose owners want to run their business consistent with their values and as a means of bringing glory to God. Josh Bryant is a pastor who led a large discipleship ministry in Northwest Arkansas before returning to the practice of law to help churches and Christian small business owners. Together we'll walk through Scripture, pray together, and sharpen one another on ways we can use the business God gives us to bring Him glory in Northwest Arkansas and around the world. We'll hear from other God-honoring small business owners who are already doing this in their workplaces.
Networking. You've got to get your name out there, so we're going to network like it's going out of style. Josh Bryant will introduce you to several different networking groups in Northwest Arkansas. You'll get the opportunity to meet with like-minded commercial bankers, venture capitalists, private equity investors, and angel investors. This is a great opportunity to meet others who will volunteer to be leveraged by you to grow your business, and turn to in difficult times for encouragement and advice.
Community. We're going to do all of this together. We'll be a small group, and we won't be stepping on each other's toes competing for the same business. You will be the only person in your field in the incubator, but you'll have a community of other entrepreneurs to pray for you and live life with you.
There are only a few spots remaining, so click on the NWA FaithWorks tab above to get your application in before it is too late!
So you're taking that leap of faith and starting a business. That's awesome! Josh Bryant has a few pointers for people going into business for the first time. In summary, avoid the entrepreneurial plagues like... the plague!
Plague 1: The Rope Swing Budget
A lot of small businesses will fail. A lot of those small businesses didn't fully grasp the concept or necessity of the shoestring budget. A lot of people start a business and operate it more like a rope swing. They build the business they want in 10-years and spend massive amounts of cash swinging into the entrepreneurial lake. The problem is, they aren't quite heavy enough to generate the momentum they need. The rope swings a little bit, but the never get the speed to make it far enough to get over the water and end up falling flat on their face on the shore.
That metaphor can't be taken any further, but the point is that you must operate on a tight budget until you have cash in-flows to substantiate a bigger budget. Don't go and rent the biggest and best office you can find. Start small. Start in an incubator or accelerator like the one lead by Josh Bryant at The Bryant Law Firms in Northwest Arkansas.
Plague 2: The Pocket Knife in the Amazon
You wouldn't want to trek through the Amazon with just a pocket knife. You need a machete. Better yet, you need some nice paved roads. Your business is no different. You're embarking on a journey through what the government has made a heavily thicketed forest. You're going to have to cut through all sorts of regulations, taxes, snares laid by litigious customers, and more. Wouldn't it be nicer if you could drive through that forest on a nice paved road?
Josh Bryant does just that - he paves the road so you can get where you need to be. As a member of NWA FaithWorks, you'll get all the legal and tax work done for you. You'll have phones and high speed internet. You'll have a workspace and advisors. You'll have access to mentors and capital. The infrastructure is already there. All you have to do is run your business.
Plague 3: The Blank Map
A lot of people go into the entrepreneurial jungle with nothing but a piece of the map. They've done their business plan with their pro formas and SWOT analyses and think that's the only map they need. It just isn't correct. Business owners have to get their business out of their heads and on paper - not just the goals and dreams of revenue, income, and profit, but the step by step process by which they are going to market, secure, and serve their clients and customers. That is a much more detailed map than a canned business plan.
Josh Bryant has become a bit of an expert on process management as a means of making a business secure, effective, and efficient. He helps all types of organizations use process to make their organizations more legally secure. You're far less likely to get sued if you can do your business the same way every time. It will also make you more effective. You'll see what works and doesn't work, and make corrections along the way. It will also make you more efficient. You'll see that some things in the process are taking more time, energy, or money than they should and work those inefficiencies out of the system. When you join NWA FaithWorks, you get access to process management systems that make you more secure, effective, and efficient.
Last Week, Josh Bryant announced that The Bryant Firms would house an incubator for faith-based entrepreneurs in Northwest Arkansas. That raises an obvious question: why incubate with a lawyer?
Small Businesses Are Likely to Get Sued. It's just a fact of life and part of doing business. Rarely can you predict when you'll get sued or who will sue you, but the Small Business Administration reports that up to half of all small businesses with fewer than 50 employees will get sued at least once per year. Granted, that's a broad statistic that will vary from industry to industry. But even on the low end of the study indicating no less than a third of small businesses will end up in court annually, it only makes sense to start off on the right foot from a legal perspective. Add to that the same research that found 90% of all small businesses will be in court at some point, and it becomes imperative to speak with someone like Josh Bryant before going into business.
Process Drives and Secures Businesses. It has become an unwritten rule that you are a second class Christian if you haven't read The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. We're kidding (sort of...) but Josh Bryant has a bit of a different philosophy. Purpose does not drive life, business, or churches - process does. Your car isn't driven by the fact that its purpose is to transport you from one place to another. It's driven by the process of turning the vehicle on, applying your foot to the gas, fuel injectors pumping fuel into cylinders that is ignited inside by a spark plug, causing pistons to rise, turn gears and belts, that ultimately turns the wheels of your car. The same applies to your business. No matter what your business is, there are processes that you have to follow the same way every time. There may be variables from time to time, like what gear you're in or what road you'll go down and how fast, but the more repeatable your process, the better it gets. You find inefficiencies as the business owner and work them out of your systematic processes. You find points where the system breaks down and either repair or reengineer them. What's even better - when a lawyer like Josh Bryant helps you put those processes in writing, it can help secure your business from being one of the 33-50% of all businesses who will be sued this year.
Taxes Will Make You Want To Quit. You didn't get into your business to do bookkeeping (unless of course you are a bookkeeper or accountant). Doing your taxes and accounting can take a significant portion of your time and slow your growth. What does that have to do with incubating with a lawyer? Josh Bryant is well versed in small business taxation, which by the way is just one of many areas of the law. Members of the incubator hosted at the Bryant Law Firms' will have their taxes done for them as part of the monthly fee.
Josh Bryant is an attorney, entrepreneur, pastor, and visionary with a heart to see churches, businesses, and families more secure, more effective, and more efficient in fulfilling their mission and bringing glory to God.