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The Courage to Thrive

Posted By Rick Murray, Arizona Small Business Association, Monday, February 22, 2016

Message from Rick Murray, Chief Executive Officer of the Arizona Small Business Association - February 22, 2016


 

 Once a frontier state specific to mining and agriculture, Arizona has since thrived over the decades, now home to over 400,000 registered small businesses in industries such as technology, medicine, finance, and real estate.  With Phoenix ranked as 14th in start-up companies1 we are seeing more and more small business owners travel to Arizona to get their small businesses off the ground.  As encouraging as that is, we, as small business owners ourselves, know that running a small business can be tiring, hard work, and even discouraging at times, with 8 out of 10 small businesses failing within the first 18 months2.  What does it take to beat that statistic?  What type of team should you be building to have a business that is not just successful, but booms.

When I look at my team here at the Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA), I find a close-knit group of hard working and dedicated individuals.  Creating the right team for your business is the most important thing you can do for your company.  Without a cooperative and effective team, your business goes nowhere.  Qualifications of each teammate are important, yes, but that is not all that should be considered when hiring.  The culture of your environment is much more important.  A successful team is one that encourages and motivates one another, celebrating successes, and getting back up from losses together.  Choosing team members with skills needed, but also strengths and weaknesses that align with the culture you endeavor to create is vital.

It’s not uncommon for the typical “what do you do” question to come across as you go to events and make contacts.  What I have learned over the years is to stop answering.  More specifically, share your story or your purpose for why you do what you do.  People connect better to emotions, making it so important that you are clear on aspects such as your values and mission statement.  More importantly, as business owners, we have to ensure that our team also understands our purpose as an organization.  A good team and leader understands how all of the tiny day-to-day pieces fit into your larger picture.

Whether or not you consider yourself to be in a fairly standard industry, creativity has the means to take you to a completely different level in your business.  Innovative thinking on a daily basis is one of ASBA’s goals as we try to continuously improve what we’re doing.  Changing the way you market yourself, spicing up your current events, or even just updating your documents and filing systems can do wonders.  Instill this in your team.  Innovative thinking involves risk.  It demands taking chances and the willingness to fail in order to learn better for next time.  It takes the courage to thrive, and courage in all areas is what makes you successful.

1 Metropolitan Area Rankings for Startup Activity (2015) Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

2 Five Reasons 8 out of 10 Businesses Fail (2013) Forbes.com



Rick Murray
Chief Executive Officer
Arizona Small Business Association
4600 E. Washington St., #340, Phoenix
602.306.4000 - rmurray@asba.com


Rick Murray, Chief Executive Officer, ASBA

 

Tags:  eamwork  rizona  small business 

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At the End of the Day, It's all About Jobs

Posted By Rick Murray, Thursday, July 23, 2015


Message from Rick Murray, Chief Executive Officer of the Arizona Small Business Association - July 16th, 2015


 

Raising money to start a business or take a business to the next level has always been a challenge.  Many great ideas and businesses have gone under because they lacked the ability to stay in the game long enough before revenues could support the business.  Under capitalization is the number one reason businesses fail.

Banks know this.  Unless there is collateral or solid financial history, it’s not likely they’re going to lend money.  So where does that leave the small business owner wanna-be?  Typically, they resort to using their retirement funds, obtaining a 2nd mortgage, maxing out credit cards, and borrowing from friends and family to help fund their business.  In most cases, it is not enough. Without the ability to tap into other sources of funds, many businesses are doomed for failure.  That’s why the Arizona Small Business Association championed a new law that allows Arizona businesses to solicit investors for an equity positon in their company without having to comply with SEC laws.

Equity Crowdfunding is different than typical Kick Starter crowdfunding in that you are actually selling shares of the business in return for an investment.  Previously, this option required SEC compliance, which is complicated and expensive and reserved for companies seeking millions of dollars.

The 2012 JOBS Act allowed for equity fundraising at much smaller levels and bypassing SEC requirements, but states needed to set up the framework in order to participate.  With the new Equity Crowdfunding law, Arizona businesses can solicit up to $10,000 per investor and raise as much as $2.5 million.  The Arizona Corporation Commission will have oversight and, along with submitting a business plan, there are several disclosures that a company must comply with in order to participate in Equity Crowdfunding.

This new way for businesses to raise capital is a game-changer.  Businesses that have a solid business plan, competent people at the helm, and a clear plan to profitability will succeed in raising the needed capital.  The obvious by-product will be new jobs and added tax revenue for Arizona.  It will also provide the public with the opportunity to invest in ideas, people and businesses within their community, creating opportunities in areas of the state where none existed before.

But as with all investments, it’s buyer beware.  Due diligence will be critical.   The average person new to investing will need to be diligent, educating themselves before investing in any opportunity.  Asking the hard questions will not only help the investor learn more about the business, but also force the business owner to know more what investors are expecting.

It is hard to predict what equity crowdfunding will look like in 10 years, but one thing is certain: Opening a new avenue for small business to access capital will create new opportunities and new competition in the business lending/funding arena.  It’s the booster shot the Arizona economy needs to continue the gradual climb back to economic relevance.


Rick Murray
Chief Executive Officer
Arizona Small Business Association
4600 E. Washington St., #340, Phoenix
602.306.4000 - rmurray@asba.com


Rick Murray, Chief Executive Officer, ASBA


Tags:  Arizona  economic development  jobs  small business 

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Crowdfunding - A Reality for Arizona

Posted By Rick Murray, Arizona Small Business Association, Thursday, July 2, 2015


Message from Rick Murray, Chief Executive Officer of the Arizona Small Business Association - July 3rd, 2015


 

Raising money to start a business or take a business to the next level has always been a challenge.  Many great ideas and businesses have gone under because they lacked the ability to stay in the game long enough before revenues could support the business.  Under capitalization is the number one reason businesses fail.

Banks know this.  Unless there is collateral or solid financial history, it’s not likely they’re going to lend money.  So where does that leave the small business owner wanna-be?  Typically, they resort to using their retirement funds, obtaining a 2nd mortgage, maxing out credit cards, and borrowing from friends and family to help fund their business.  In most cases, it is not enough. Without the ability to tap into other sources of funds, many businesses are doomed for failure.  That’s why the Arizona Small Business Association championed a new law that allows Arizona businesses to solicit investors for an equity positon in their company without having to comply with SEC laws.

Equity Crowdfunding is different than typical Kick Starter crowdfunding in that you are actually selling shares of the business in return for an investment.  Previously, this option required SEC compliance, which is complicated and expensive and reserved for companies seeking millions of dollars.

The 2012 JOBS Act allowed for equity fundraising at much smaller levels and bypassing SEC requirements, but states needed to set up the framework in order to participate.  With the new Equity Crowdfunding law, Arizona businesses can solicit up to $10,000 per investor and raise as much as $2.5 million.  The Arizona Corporation Commission will have oversight and, along with submitting a business plan, there are several disclosures that a company must comply with in order to participate in Equity Crowdfunding.

This new way for businesses to raise capital is a game-changer.  Businesses that have a solid business plan, competent people at the helm, and a clear plan to profitability will succeed in raising the needed capital.  The obvious by-product will be new jobs and added tax revenue for Arizona.  It will also provide the public with the opportunity to invest in ideas, people and businesses within their community, creating opportunities in areas of the state where none existed before.

But as with all investments, it’s buyer beware.  Due diligence will be critical.   The average person new to investing will need to be diligent, educating themselves before investing in any opportunity.  Asking the hard questions will not only help the investor learn more about the business, but also force the business owner to know more what investors are expecting.

It is hard to predict what equity crowdfunding will look like in 10 years, but one thing is certain: Opening a new avenue for small business to access capital will create new opportunities and new competition in the business lending/funding arena.  It’s the booster shot the Arizona economy needs to continue the gradual climb back to economic relevance.


Rick Murray
Chief Executive Officer
Arizona Small Business Association
4600 E. Washington St., #340, Phoenix
602.306.4000 - rmurray@asba.com


Rick Murray, Chief Executive Officer, ASBA

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Tags:  crowdfunding  small business 

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A Governor Who Chose to Ride with Uber Over Regulators

Posted By Rick Murray, Arizona Small Business Association, Monday, June 29, 2015

 

CNBC recently published a piece written by Governor Doug Ducey highlighting Arizona initiatives to benefit businesses.  Governor Ducey discusses sound policy and equity crowdfunding. You may be interested in knowing that ASBA was the driving force behind getting equity crowdfunding introduced and passed at this year's legislative session. Please read and share with your family, friends, and colleagues. 

 

Rick Murray

ASBA CEO

 


 

 

CNBC: A governor who chose to ride with Uber over regulators

Standard and Poor's recently assigned Arizona the strongest rating the state has had since 2008.


Commentary by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey
June 22, 2015


When I was sworn in as Arizona's governor on January 5, the Super Bowl was set to kick off in our state just four weeks later.

Amid all the planning and upcoming festivities, there was a wrinkle: One of the state's regulatory agencies I inherited had been running sting operations against Uber and Lyft drivers, aggressively trying to shut them down. State regulators were out of control and using taxpayer resources to try to put the brakes on a wildly popular service.

We worried about what this might mean during a major event like the Super Bowl, when 100,000 visitors were on their way to Arizona.

So I took action, replacing the agency's leadership and immediately ending all pending regulatory actions against ride-share operators.

Next, we passed statutory language, making it clear these ride-share operators can do business in Arizona. And for good measure, we are in the process of abolishing the very department where all the regulatory mischief originated.

Breaking down these antiquated regulations made a lot of heads spin among entrenched interests. But the reality is that Uber and Lyft drivers are small-business owners-regular people who are just trying to make an honest living and, in the process, are changing the way we get around.

Our pro-business mind-set is paying off. Recently, Uber announced the opening of its first-ever Center of Excellence in downtown Phoenix. By the end of the year, the center will employ 300 people who will provide support to drivers and passengers.

This is just the latest in a string of good news for our state and a loud message that Arizona is open for business.

See, while everyone was watching the Super Bowl, our office was working. The day after the big game, we announced that the most successful company in history-Apple-was making one of its largest investments ever right here in our state: a $2 billion data center to serve as a command center for the company's global networks.

A lot of what we're doing in Arizona is forcing our government to enter the 21st century so that 21st-century companies can operate here.

We lifted inexplicable caps on craft breweries. We ended restrictions on the use of medical testing, allowing Theranos-a company started by the world's youngest self-made female billionaire, Elizabeth Holmes-to provide the public easy access to instant lab results. And we passed an equity crowdfunding bill that enables innovative access to capital for Arizona entrepreneurs at workshops like TechShop in Chandler, Arizona. If you've ever used Square to pay with a credit or debit card at a farmer's market or coffee shop, you'll be interested to know that the first prototype came out of a TechShop.

Along the way, we tackled a $1 billion budget deficit by forcing government to live within its means. We rejected calls for higher taxes. We instituted a state hiring freeze. Our budget is on the path to structural balance for the first time since 2007. Our state government will actually spend less next year than it did this year. And just this month, we put forward a plan to invest $1.8 billion in our schools-without raising taxes-by better utilizing funds Arizona has earned from the sale of state lands.

It's no accident that two of the world's top credit-rating services have upgraded Arizona's credit outlook. Standard and Poor's recently assigned us the strongest rating we've had since 2008.
 
Our goal is simple: We are committed to getting Arizona back on a path to job creation and economic growth. Our recovery from the Great Recession-like much of America's-was much slower than expected, and the price our workers and job seekers have paid has been high.

The first five months are just the beginning. Arizona has many natural advantages over other states-our climate, our people, our independent culture. Now we're seeking some man-made advantages based on sound policy and smaller government. While there is much more to do, these actions are already paying dividends for our state.

Our leaders in Washington would do well to look up from their petty fights and instead look west and follow our lead. There is a better way.


Find the article here.

Tags:  crowdfunding  public policy  small business 

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