Founder’s Focus: Oh, That’s What This Is?

Advice, particularly for business owners and entrepreneurs is everywhere . . . as I scroll through LinkedIn its coming from the influencers I follow and the colleagues I connect with, it graces the covers of books in the airport bookstore, and I even get a daily text messages and emails.

Advice is good.  But sometimes I just don’t know or am too busy to figure out how to use it.

That’s how I’ve come to believe that advice and its action may be relatively near each other in the dictionary, but they are separated by interpretation (Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as ‘a particular adaption or version’).

What the advice doesn’t typically give me (or I don’t stop long enough to listen) is “the how” I can put the advise to use in what I’m doing (or not doing)?  How do I adapt it to work for me?  What’s my version?

For example, one piece of advice that shows up in nearly every piece of advice including those like-titled “7 things successful entrepreneurs do. . .” is a notion of quiet time or a “pause” if you will.  Sometimes it’s referred to as meditation, but also can be called recovery, reflection, centering, getting present, or even mindfulness (a new buzz word).

But regardless of what it’s called, the advice is the same: entrepreneurs are supposed to take “time” to be successful because that’s when the great things can be allowed to manifest.

So I’m the first to admit I can be a skeptic of things like yoga, meditation, etc.  And anytime I’m faced with the notion of a pause, all I can envision is meditation.  And thinking of me somehow sitting crisscross applesauce on the floor of a quiet in a room by myself with no interruptions and distractions is frankly scary.  Because I’ve got three active kids, a brutal travel schedule, an internal clock that no long has a time zone, few precious minutes of downtime and some body image issues.

Meditation has always seemed impossible for me and think about it being something I should be doing has given me a tinge of the fear of missing out (FOMO) that questions whether my reluctance/inability holds me back.  And since I’m getting real honest here, I’m going to even admit that I bought a book about 10 years ago called “8 Minute Meditation” and I never gave it 3 minutes of my time.

So how am I still here?  How has it that I’ve slowly built my business if I am not doing one of these “7 things all successful entrepreneurs do. . ?”  I finally found the answer.

It’s because I already do it, but I didn’t know I was doing it.  A complete, “Oh, That’s what this is?” moment.

Here’s how I figured it out.  I was sitting on a plane the other day and it struck me that as I recently went through some struggles with growing the business and I had been fishing a lot with my youngest son (like every free night and weekend day) and we were staying far longer than normal (and not at his urging).  It reminded my of when I decided to start my business in 3rd quarter 2007 – after a week on the river fishing for pink salmon.  Or when my now wife gave me the ultimatum – commit or quit – which led to a couple weeks on the river from which I returned with a grand (and successful!) plan.  You get the point.

I now realize that when I’m out there (lake, river, pond, ocean, etc.), it’s quiet.  Not just quiet on the water, but quiet (relatively) in my head.

Fishing isn’t just some hobby I can list in my profile, nor is it just an activity I do with my kids because my dad did it with me.

Fishing is “that” time for me.

So the good news is I’ve been meditating, pausing, reflection, etc. all along.  I just failed to interpret what I was doing as being my version of meditation.

Note: this blog is the second in a series of blogs I’m writing on various topics that aren’t related to our company’s core services, but definitely relate to how we cope with the same challenges that our clients and colleagues often face as small businesses and entrepreneurs.

You Don’t Know You Need Us (Until You Do)

We’re a land use and economic development company.  Most people aren’t sure what that means, but essentially we have three types of clients:

  1. Developers – we help developers get the permits and approvals then need (especially difficult ones) in a timely manner.  We also help them analyze and select locations for their projects.  We also help bridge the gaps where a jurisdiction’s policies, permits and practice don’t quite fit or are not anticipatory of a type of project.
  2. Cities/Countys/EDOs – knowing what it takes to make a project happen, we help advise communities on policies, programs and marketing so that they are more effective at getting the economic development they want.  Essentially, we help these clients get smarter, more strategic and we do it for a better cost structure than “planning” companies.
  3. Small Businesses & Individuals – zoning is one regulation that applies to every business, every non-profit and every individual, so when small businesses run into zoning challenges that are complex and political, we help them navigate to safety.  Click here for an example

Unfortunately, we frequently hear our new small business and individual clients say something like, “Wow, I didn’t even know people like you were out there. . .”

We recently helped a small business, The Grayson, resolve a zoning compliance matter that threatened to shut them down because their c0-housing solution to long term rentals for corporate relocation clients was defined as a “hotel” though it’s a far cry from such.  It would be incredibly difficult to walk through the challenges of their situation in a single blog post (so we won’t try).  But, we’d like to provide you with our client’s thoughts, which she allowed us to share:

“Toyer’s firm has a great background and working knowledge of regulations, zoning, and code. Toyer was able to navigate the complexity of county planning department and code, succeeding in getting a resolution that kept our business from having to close. More incredible was the fact that Toyer was successful where attorneys had failed to help us with the problem.  Without Toyer Strategic’s involvement, we would have spent thousands of dollars fighting a losing battle,”  Mariam Zinn, Owner, The Grayson

We’re proud of the work our company does and what it means to small business and entrepreneurs.

Got a zoning or zoning compliance issue?  We can help. Contact us

 

Approved: Hawks Prairie Logistics Park

Last night the Lacey City Council approved the master site plan and wetland development permits for Hawks Prairie Logistics Park, a 130-acre industrial development that will feature three buildings totaling 1.9 million square feet of industrial space.  The main building on the site will house a new Home Depot distribution center.

Our firm played an instrumental role in the project’s approval, providing the project’s economic impact analysis and performing required land use analysis to address the policies and conditions that limit the granting of wetland development permits.

Additionally, we provided early project management services to support the project’s pre-application site plan review,  the processing of the land use applications, and the facilitation of a meeting with the adjacent residential neighborhoods.

You Should Know the Economic Impact

How often have you. . .

  • Heard a company press on a city or county to make a decision based on their economic impact locally, but without any data?
  • Considered incentives for an economic development deal without knowing more than the number of jobs and total investment as given by the company?
  • Lacked specific information on the projects your economic development group helped support?
  • Had a developer tout the economic benefits of their proposed speculative building, but not have data to back it up?

In every case, it is important to have this data:

  • To help prioritize how to invest your resources
  • To ensure incentives are based on a ROI to your community
  • To prove the effectiveness of your EDO

Our firm helps our clients (cities, EDOs, companies) with the analysis of the economic impact.  Relying on RIMS II multiplier data from the BEA, we can help you analyze and determine the direct, indirect and induced impacts of a project (or projects) on jobs, economic output and wages.

Contact us and let us help you determine the impacts of your next project.

 

Rhodora Annexation Approved

Lake Stevens, WA.  On Tuesday night the City Council unanimously approved Ordinance 1041 to annex approximately 100 acres into the city – an action our firm initiated and supported on behalf of landowners in the annexation area.

One of the direct mailers.

One of the door hangers used.

About Our Role
Our firm was retained by our client in September of 2017 to complete an analysis recommending if an annexation could be successful and by what method.  After studying parcel data (acreage, valuation) and voter registration data in the area, we concluded that the best approach was the Direct Petition Method.  Further, we used our research to identify an annexation area meeting the location and boundary criteria in state law.

We were subsequently retained to secure signatures for the required 10% and 60% petitions (based on % of valuation in the annexation area).  To complete this task, we developed a communications strategy to provide answers to the most common questions about annexation.  We utilized a combination of direct mail, door hangers and door belling (see examples to the left).

We successfully gathered the 10% and 60% petitions, negotiated applicable zoning and indebtedness, completed the required State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) checklist, and prepared exhibits and narratives to be included in the official “Notice of Intent” to annex filed with the Washington State Boundary Review Board for Snohomish County (BRB).

The annexation was challenged by a group of residents.  However, the annexation was unanimously approved by the BRB and an appeal of the BRB’s decision was dismissed by Snohomish County Superior Court.

For more information on the annexation, see visit our project page.

Got a project you think we can help with?  Contact us!