Are You a Member of ACR?
I recently rejoined the Association of Conflict Resolvers after a long hiatus. (I'm a long-standing member of the New England chapter, which is the largest and most active chapter, but not national) Join. It's amazing how much the association has grown and how essential it is to our growth as a practitioner and business person.
Looking around the site I saw a post on the ACR discussion boards from a newbie, just starting off his practice. Here's the comment I left her him. We talked about some of this already, but it bears repeating. Enjoy!
Congratulations on taking the leap! It really is tough to come across some of the business data that might be available to other types of startups. And, to make matters worse, people shy away from discussing the cold, hard facts of cash flow. Here's an idea or two about how to do your market research and planning.
Personally, I turned to mainstream resources like Inc and Forbes Small Business to find ideas that would translate well in service firms like ours. One of the best ideas yet (how to find and maximize excess capacity-- a key topic for new mediators) came from an Inc article on the Polar Bear Soda Factory in Mass.
Joining a peer coaching group was very useful in a number of ways. Because each woman of a different type of business we all sampled a variety of ways to run a business. It also motivated me to try harder and reach farther outside my comfort zone. I'm proud to say we've all growth our businesses dramatically over the years.
If you like online resources, check out Natalie Armstrong of Golden Media. Her ADR 411 website offers great benefits for new ADR entrepreneurs. Clever woman, Natalie saw a nice niche market for providing marketing for us ADR types.
My friend Diane Levin and I are determined to make bloggers out of everyone. We created ADRBlogBuzz.com to tout the benefits of blogging. What a great way to build trust and intimacy with potential clients.
Now, if you thought this seems more like an article than a post. I agree. Half way through I thought I'd turn this into a post on my own blog, Mediation Mensch.
(Hey thanks for visiting ACR members! This is your shout-out!)
Peter update: My guy is the best. He's improved tremendously (he's getting speedy with that walker) He should be home from rehab in a few weeks. Thanks for the good thoughts and prayers.