Guard Rails – a new book by Karl R. LaPan

Are you looking for a new book to read in 2019?  Are you seeking to build your business and need some solid advice and innovative thinking?

Then I highly recommend you pick up Karl LaPan‘s book, Guard Rails.  Karl, as you know, is the CEO of the NIIC – Northeast Indiana Innovation Center.

Guard Rails

 

“Guard Rails are loosely defined as a “system designed to keep people (or vehicles) from straying into dangerous or off-limit areas.”  This is the exact intent of this book.  This books highlights practical advice to expand your thinking and provides guardrails to ensure context and structure for applying this book to your business and personal life.” (from the Foreword)

Where do you find your inspiration?  If you are serious about building your business and/or start-up, read this book.  If you are needing advice about some next “big steps,” read this book.  If you are wanting to expose areas in your life and business that you may be blind to, read this book.

Karl and the NIIC are great local resources.  Karl is also known around the world as a speaker, author, and coach.  Take full advantage of his years of working with businesses and mentoring business owners and invest yourself in becoming better.

As Karl writes – Aspire Higher!

 

Note:  “Proceeds from this book will benefit our Connected Communities Initiative which is focused on inclusive business builders – women, students, people of color, immigrants, and the hardest to employ…” (from the Foreword)

Chuck Surack – Super Achievers Interview

If you are from Fort Wayne, you know who Chuck Surack is.  Watch this excellent interview of Chuck to learn even more about his story and the story of Sweetwater’s success:

See more interviews of Super Achievers at:  http://genealogycenter.info/LifeStories/mylifeindiana/

Thank you, Bruce Buck, for giving us permission to share this with First Fridays Fort Wayne.

From Farm to Power Equipment to Bridal Shops to Politics

He’s a 4th generation farmer from Northern Indiana.  He and his family own a farming operation.  He owns a trucking company and power equipment business.  He and his wife opened a bridal shop.

He was an Indiana State Representative.  He was an Indiana State Senator.  He served as the Indiana 3rd District Representative in Congress.  He is now the Chief Development Officer for an orthopedic company.

He is a husband and a father.  Marlin is a leader.

Marlin Stutzman will be our December 7 First Fridays presenter.  Come hear leadership lessons Marlin has learned over the years.  Invite a friend!  To register for this free event, click on the image below.

Dec 7 2018 Marlin Stutzman flyer

October 5 First Fridays Focus

Do you know why some businesses fail while others succeed?  Do you know the role a leader plays in a business’s success?  Do you want to learn how to navigate towards success in business?

If you want to learn more about all of this and be truly inspired, then the October 5 First Fridays is for you.  In fact, bring a friend!

Wayne Robison will be our featured presenter.  Wayne will share from his 40 years of experience in helping businesses succeed and prosper.  You will enjoy his stories and insights.

Oct 5 2018 flyer Wayne Robison

We only have 67 seats remaining.  Remember, this is a free event designed to help you grow and as a leader and to provide an energetic place to network and connect.  To reserve your seat today, click on the image above.

Jordan Page – NE Indiana Entrepreneur

I saw this in this morning’s news. I was inspired by this young man’s drive. The following link is the news story from 21Alive here in Fort Wayne:

You can follow Jordan and his upcoming magazine, Tillman, on Instagram. Here is that profile link: Tillman Magazine on Instagram

What to do on July 6 by Jim Johnson

As you know, First Fridays is taking a break this summer.  We’ll be back at it on Friday, September 7 (2018-2019 Schedule).

So what will you do on Friday, July 6 (the first Friday of July)?  Here’s some ideas to keep the networking momentum moving forward:

  1. Look through the business cards you’ve collected at First Fridays or any other networking event.  Pick one and contact that person.  Invite them to coffee/breakfast/or lunch.  Get to know a local leader.  Let them get to know you.
  2. Find a new book to begin reading.
  3. Find a new leadership blog to start following and interacting with.
  4. Start to follow a key organization here in NE Indiana.  I would recommend the NE Indiana Regional Partnership and/or the NIIC as great places to start.
  5. Go on a “field trip”
    • Pick a local company/person from your collected business cards.
    • Ask that person if you make a brief visit at their location.
    • Meet new leaders there.
    • Discover what leadership looks like there.
    • Discover what their ideal customer looks like (then in the near future, give them some referrals/connections).
    • Appreciate the value they bring to their customers, staff members, and our community.

Intentionally create value in your community.  As you expand your relationship reach in NE Indiana, you will discover great organizations doing great things with great people.  You and our community will be better for your efforts to connect with our businesses.

summer break

Does Connecting on LinkedIn Make a Difference? by Jim Johnson

My brother, Jere, and I talk with a lot of business people.  It seems the conversation comes around to social media and to this – are you “on it”, watching it from afar, or want nothing to do with it?

We encourage businesses to be “on it”.  Here’s why.

We are building a local networking/leadership forum, First Fridays, here in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  We could not have reached the audience we have without LinkedIn.  Prior to launching First Fridays, we both independently began extending our relationship reach using LinkedIn.  As a result, we met some great people who were also working to become better connected in the area.  We discovered that NE Indiana has a lively LinkedIn community – and we are proud to be a part of it.

Why do we encourage business people and their companies to become more involved in LinkedIn?

Awareness.  We are not marketing experts, but we have seen many businesses struggle with having the community know they exist.  LinkedIn is a HUGE resource in building awareness.  Connecting with others, participating in the online conversation, networking, sharing content all builds awareness of YOU (your personal brand) as well as your company.  In just the recent months, I’ve become aware of a local company that is growing and working to make an impact – GMS Distribution, Inc.  I’ve followed Gerrett Stier‘s posts and I’ve read his content.  He’s using LinkedIn and he is building awareness!  I’m not in the market for what GMS creates, but I’m enjoying how Gerrett promotes and builds awareness!

Indiana Wesleyan University has used LinkedIn to build awareness of their Fort Wayne campus.  From my brother‘s posts (he is a corporate rep with IWU) to posts by Dr. Matt Lucas, Chancellor of the National/Global campuses, to hosting First Fridays each month, Indiana Wesleyan has jumped into the the spotlight in NE Indiana.

Networking.  Businesses all over NE Indiana are finding ways to connect with consumers and other businesses.  Networking forums such as First Fridays, BNI, etc. are great places to meet face-to-face.  But networking can also happen online.  Because I network and have gotten to know more about local organizations, I have shared leads with others.  I have done this with Reusser DesignNate Reusser and Brandon Noll are “frequent flyers” at First Fridays and have become friends in the process.  I have had others ask if I knew a company that can design websites.  Of course, I did!  I reached out to Nate & Brandon on LinkedIn.

Content.  Businesses and business representatives are always sharing great content.  The ones that do it well are producing more than mini commercials on LinkedIn.  They are providing value-added content.  Organizations that excel in this are the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnershipand the NIIC.  From articles about how NE Indiana is growing to entrepreneurial stories and resources, both create content that is interesting, educational, motivating and truly makes us proud to live in our corner of the state.  Both organizations make an impact beyond our geographical boundaries.

Other business leaders such Randy Lehman of Northwest Mutual share content from wealth building to home buying tips.  All very practical.  Cody Weikel, one of my team members (he is the creator of the First Fridays logo), always shares interesting content while also promoting our company, 3Rivers.

Connect.  If you are not on LinkedIn or struggle to understand the reason why you should consider being on it, talk with Jere and me.  Or someone who is actively on it.  There are local experts on this.  You’ll find them on LinkedIn.  Experiment.  Read other’s content.  See how they are doing it.  You can do this.

It’s not about creating a commercial.  It’s about connections, conversations, content, and impact.  NE Indiana is blessed with wonderful organizations, companies and leaders.  You’ll discover them on LinkedIn.  They also want to see you there.

It works when you work it.