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The Entrepreneur’s Corner

Questions for your business
Patrick Henry said, “I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. A few years later, Einstein said, “Doing the same thing and expecting different results is insanity.”

These two bits of wisdom have guided me for decades. In the last few years, they have proved insufficient. Our world has changed. Cheap energy and currency exchange rates have allowed people on the other side of the world to effectively compete for our next door neighbor’s business.

Businesspeople are constantly on the lookout for ways to systematize our processes so we can achieve maximum efficiency, thereby lower our costs of operation to either offer our services at lower rates or better yet, increase our margins.

We determine our processes by agreeing to sets of assumptions. Assumptions we agree to after thorough examination of our competencies and market opportunities.

Once we establish these efficient processes we loathe changing them. It’s at this point that our agreed upon assumptions become “givens”. They become our culture. They become “the way we do things around here.”

Once solidified into the concrete of unconscious habit, we no longer regularly check to see if our assumptions are still valid. We all know the old adage that when we assume we make an ass of you and me. This truism relates to the unstated assumption. The conscious, shared assumption on the other hand is a powerful tool.

So, if you’re doing what you’ve always done and not getting the results you’ve gotten in the past, let me encourage you to reexamine your assumptions.

Bring then out in the open and ask yourself,

1. “What’s our business?”

2. “What do we do?”

3. “Who are our customers?”

4. “Do these people give us money?”

5. “For what?’

6. “Why?”

7. “What do they value?”

8. “Are we delivering value they want?”

I’ve a bunch more questions, but having your team candidly revisit the assumptions upon which you’ve based your business to see if they’re still relevant is a great way to come to grips with your current reality. Because in today’s business climate the definition of insanity may be doing the same thing and expecting the same results.

Gayle Turner, a member of Henrico Business Leaders, can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
Community

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

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Entertainment

The Boathouse to open at Short Pump Town Center

The Boathouse restaurant will open at Short Pump Town Center in the spring, its third location in the region.

“People have asked us to come to the West End for years,” said owner Kevin Healy. “When the opportunity arose, we knew had to jump on it.”

The new restaurant will be located in a 5,800-square-foot space under the Hyatt House Hotel at the town center and will include a large outdoor patio. > Read more.

Getting a ‘mouf’-ful

Boka Kantina exceeds its strong food truck reputation
Already a fan of Boka fare from outdoor events with the Tako Truck, I was delighted to learn of the new restaurant, and eager to see if its reputation held up after putting down brick-and-mortar roots.

Would the food lose its zest if I wasn’t enjoying it in the great outdoors? Would it seem pedestrian served from an ordinary kitchen instead of a truck?

Would the tacos be less satisfying as an antidote to normal lunch hunger – instead of being ingested to stave off desperate hunger after a long afternoon of crowds, sun, and tedious lines? > Read more.

Lakeside microbrewery beginning to take shape

Original Gravity gets the green light to move forward with relocation, expansion into larger space

A Lakeside home-brewing shop has felt the gravitational pull toward the booming craft beer scene.

Original Gravity, a shop that sells beer and wine kits for homebrewers, has just been given the green light to start work on a microbrewery.

Owner Tony Ammendolia is expanding his 1,000-square-foot shop in Lakeside Town Center to 5,000-square-foot digs a few doors down to add a brewery and expand his supplies.

Ammendolia opened the home-brew supply store in November 2011 and since then he said business has taken off.

“I think I outgrew this place in the first year,” Ammendolia said. “We’ve seen steady growth and I’ve been looking for a place to expand to move the shop to get more square footage.” > Read more.

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