Lob­by­ing on Be­half of Small Busi­ness

Trillions - - In This Issue -

For much of her com­pany’s work, Carol Farabee, the CEO and founder of Farabee Pub­lish­ing of Chan­dler, Ari­zona, fo­cuses on help­ing prospec­tive au­thors find a way to cre­ate that book they have al­ways wanted to write – and get it pub­lished. Her com­pany works with au­thors to help them find the story they want to tell, plan how to write that story (even on a chap­ter-by-chap­ter ba­sis), build a dis­ci­plined plan to bring it from idea to fin­ished prod­uct and find an au­thor’s unique voice in telling that story.

Carol comes from a back­ground in cor­po­rate and univer­sity life and from that back­ground has taken on other roles to ad­vo­cate for the cause of small busi­ness ev­ery­where. This in­cludes her roles as an elected mem­ber of the Non­profit Lead­er­ship Council for Al­liance of Ari­zona Non­prof­its; CEO and founder of the non­profit Young Writ­ers Foun­da­tion; an am­bas­sador for the Chan­dler, Ari­zona, Cham­ber of Com­merce; and a mem­ber of the Chief Learn­ing Of­fi­cer (CLO) Busi­ness In­tel­li­gence Board.

In May, Carol was named to the Na­tional Small Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion (NSBA) Lead­er­ship Council. The NSBA is the na­tion’s old­est small-busi­ness ad­vo­cacy or­ga­ni­za­tion and op­er­ates on a non-par­ti­san ba­sis for the var­i­ous causes most im­por­tant to small busi­nesses na­tion­wide. At a time when on a fed­eral level the role of the NSBA ap­pears to be in the process of be­ing cut back, and in a na­tion very much need­ing the en­tre­pre­neur­ial spark that small busi­ness pro­vides, its Lead­er­ship Council is a group the coun­try needs now more than ever.

Trillions spoke with Carol at her of­fices in Chan­dler, Ari­zona, on June 14, 2017.

Trillions: Tell us a lit­tle about Farabee Pub­lish­ing and what your com­pany does.

Carol Farabee: Farabee Pub­lish­ing started a cou­ple of years ago. I’ve been writ­ing since 1990. I’ve writ­ten about 24 books my­self. I’ve only pub­lished three. I’m one of those who like to write, but I don’t write with any thought of ever pub­lish­ing them. It’s just that joy of writ­ing.

I went to a week­end sem­i­nar about pub­lish­ing. I thought, “Well, I’ll find a pub­lisher to pub­lish my book.” I en­joyed the week­end, and … I thought, “I can do this. I’m a teacher, and I’ve been teach­ing at the univer­sity … for years, and I can do this.” I know a lot of people that I can ac­tu­ally help write their book. They need that writ­ing coach. It just started from there.

I just started talk­ing to people and net­work­ing all over the place. The next thing I knew I’ve got people that re­ally want to write but they don’t know where to start.

So, my spe­cialty grew out of not just edit­ing and for­mat­ting books. I do that too, but [I help with the case that] you’ve got a story but you don’t know where to start. I sit down with people, we brain­storm, they go through my step process. [I ask …] “Where do you want to start?” They don’t know. We work through it, and, ba­si­cally, I out­line chap­ters, I [help] de­sign how much [they’re] go­ing to put in each chap­ter and what needs to go in each chap­ter, and they go and they write. Then we come back and we talk about it, and we go to the next step. I’ve got one au­thor [who I] worked with for a whole year.

My spe­cialty is to walk through and help them write.

I’m sure hav­ing a coach helps them not only im­prove the qual­ity of their work but also pro­vides fo­cus and

pro­vides some dis­ci­pline too. [It’s] one of the things that makes the big dif­fer­ence. The first step in writ­ing is to ac­tu­ally write, rather than to talk about it.

One of the things I have to say is that ev­ery­body says they can’t write. My thought is “Of course you can.” You send email, you’ll be in a con­ver­sa­tion and you’re telling a story, you’re writ­ing. That’s ex­actly what writ­ing is.

So, it’s work­ing with them, de­sign­ing chap­ters so they know ex­actly what they want to put in it. So, they get that struc­ture. It keeps them dis­ci­plined, but also it takes a lot of pa­tience on my part. Be­cause it’s work­ing with them, send­ing things back to them to say “[These are] not your words.” And they say, “Some­one else said it” and they liked it bet­ter. And I say, “No. Your voice.”

What I’m try­ing to do is change the rhetoric. There are a lot of au­thors out there that ev­ery­one likes, but they’re writ­ing like they did from 40 years ago. We need au­thors that I want to hear ver­bally, so that when the per­son picks up the book and they start reading it, they feel that there’s a per­son talk­ing to them. We’re not look­ing at, well, I teach univer­sity schol­arly writ­ing and that’s not prose. Where’s the pas­sion? When they’re writ­ing, I want the pas­sion. I want the reader to cry. I want the reader to laugh. I want the reader to feel emo­tions as they’re go­ing through a per­son’s life, and they’re get­ting on the right path, or they’re show­ing you or talk­ing about joy.

Trillions: Hope­fully the next thing we’re talk­ing about is also some­thing I think you’d feel good about. Which is your new role, where you were re­cently named, as your press re­lease talked about, to the Na­tional Small Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion Lead­er­ship Council. Be­fore we get into some of the is­sues in that, could you tell us about the council, what it is and how you got in­volved in it?

Carol Farabee: I’ve been work­ing with en­trepreneurs and small busi­nesses over the last year or so. Then I re­ceived this email out of the blue, ask­ing me if I would like to ap­ply to be on the Lead­er­ship Council. For that I said, “Well, sure.” [Laughs] I never thought – be­cause I’m just “me.” I don’t have 10, 20 or 30 years work­ing [like that]; I sourced out ev­ery­thing. So then, in about a month and a week later, I get this in­vi­ta­tion back saying ... I’m go­ing to be in­ter­viewed.

I’ve only been 15 min­utes in when not only do they want me to ap­ply to the council; they also want me on the tech­nol­ogy council and the in­ter­na­tional busi­ness council.

I later found out that it was by in­vi­ta­tion only. You can’t just vol­un­teer to be a part of it. I think that, through my years in cor­po­rate Amer­ica, in the univer­sity, work­ing with small busi­ness, there [were] all these things I was in­volved in, they thought I’d bring a lot to the ta­ble.

My kids were laugh­ing. “Mom, do they re­al­ize you’re the one that asks that ques­tion no­body else will ask?” And I said, “Well, they’re go­ing to find out.”

So yeah, I’m real ex­cited to be a part of it.

What the NSBA does is they lobby for small busi­ness. They have health care; they’ve been look­ing into that. They lobby on what small busi­ness, what would be best for them. Also the tech­nol­ogy part. Hu­man re­sources. There’s a cou­ple more that we’re go­ing to be talk­ing about next week.

I had mixed feel­ings about [what] we think we can do and what we can’t do. We do have a voice and can lobby and can make a dif­fer­ence. But there’s so much … leg­is­la­tors … congressmen buy and sell and trade votes. It is not a se­cret they do it. So, you won­der how pow­er­ful [you are] at that level.

I’m look­ing for­ward to talk­ing to a lot of busi­ness own­ers here in Ari­zona. And I’ve gone to the Cham­ber of Com­merce in dif­fer­ent cities. I’ve gone to the cities, them­selves, about their eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, talk­ing to them about it. We all come to the same con­clu­sion. That the NSBA says, for a small busi­ness, you can have 500 em­ploy­ees and you’re con­sid­ered a small busi­ness.

My thing is to break that up and say mine would be con­sid­ered a mi­cro-busi­ness. And then 10 to 49 would be con­sid­ered a small busi­ness. And then after that would be medium, then large and then maybe your cor­po­ra­tion, in or­der to give pref­er­ence to each of these small busi­ness ar­eas. Be­cause the lit­tle guys are be­ing suf­fo­cated.

So that’s my vote – that we stop the de­clin­ing and start help­ing the start-ups. They need to get where they need to go.

Trillions: You were saying some­thing about where they needed to go?

Carol Farabee: Well, for in­stance, the start-ups, the big banks. They’re not go­ing to loan them any money.

And then people are com­ing up with all these dif­fer­ent in­vestors, all these dif­fer­ent ar­eas, you can go on­line for fund­ing and all these things.

I talked to a lady that was with an or­ga­ni­za­tion that helped en­trepreneurs … from all over the United States. She’s in Or­lando. She said, and I knew [it] pre­vi­ous[ly] be­cause I al­ready checked into it, that the com­mu­nity banks are the ones that are will­ing to help you. So, again, we knew the is­sues there, to help the start-ups.

This coun­try was based on the small com­pa­nies, the small busi­nesses. A lot of those small busi­nesses that are huge to­day, I think they’ve lost the ba­sic idea that they were small at one time.

Trillions: They cer­tainly op­er­ate dif­fer­ently. In my ex­pe­ri­ence, I’ve seen com­pa­nies that are small, and then there is a shift at some point where they for­get that they’re op­er­at­ing very dif­fer­ently. It’s like [what you said], re­lated to bank loans, that the old thing is true that when you can get the best loans is when you need them the least. The chal­lenge is, in the be­gin­ning, when you re­ally do need some help – in most cases I know very few people who say “Well, I’ve got $2 mil­lion. I can do that.” It’s gen­er­ally a small busi­ness – they’re op­er­at­ing on a shoe­string and they go for­ward.

Carol Farabee: It’s ac­tu­ally why the whole idea of the mi­cro-loan in­dus­try, es­pe­cially out­side of North Amer­ica and in the emerg­ing coun­tries, is so big. And what people don’t re­al­ize is that some of these things, like the [Grameen Bank] that was de­vel­oped in Bangladesh was ac­tu­ally what we would con­sider a case of usury. [Some of these] were charg­ing 70% pay­back [in­ter­est] on their loans. Some were lower but not a lot lower. The rea­son they were charg­ing so much is the risks were so high for the lender. At the same time, it en­abled things to hap­pen. What hap­pened is [they en­abled] a lot of small busi­nesses to be cre­ated, of­ten women-owned busi­nesses, in these emerg­ing coun­tries that just would never have hap­pened. That 70% was on that first, very small amount of money. After that, it turned into more nor­mal busi­ness. [So there are other busi­ness mod­els to con­sider.]

But the com­mu­nity banks, which is what you grew up with, what I grew up with. For me in Illi­nois, where they knew you, with the fam­ily – when they gave you a lol­lipop, they knew the one you liked when you were a kid – that isn’t true any­more. It’s only true with a hand­ful of banks [now]. I al­ways con­sider it [funny] when I read the his­tory of places like the Bank of Amer­ica, which came to the United States as the Bank of Italy and was re­named [later] in or­der to sound bet­ter [for Amer­i­cans] and has be­come a bank with many hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars be­hind it. It changed from the lit­tle bank that helped to re­build after the [San Fran­cisco earth­quake of 1906], which took place over a hun­dred years ago. They helped the small busi­ness own­ers get back on their feet, and they did that with ab­so­lutely no clue of whether or not they would be able to … pay back their loans.

Trillions: When you talk about the var­i­ous things the [Lead­er­ship Council in­tends to ad­dress], you men­tioned in your press re­lease [an­nounc­ing your ap­point­ment to the board] is­sues of reg­u­la­tory re­straint, tax re­form, health care costs and even how the Af­ford­able Care Act af­fects all busi­nesses. What do you see as the things in small busi­ness that af­fect people the most, the things that they seem to be most con­cerned about, as well as per­haps the things where they feel they aren’t be­ing heard?

Carol Farabee: Health care. Yeah, def­i­nitely. I talked to … sev­eral dozen health care people; one of them sells busi­ness in­sur­ance and an­other one sells health care so­lu­tions. [That last one] tried her best, [for a busi­ness that has only three people], and the low­est she could get was $3,500 a month to be cov­ered. They can pay taxes, they can fig­ure out taxes. They can pay a cer­tain amount ev­ery month, they can get an­other job. But with health care, that is the thing that is hurt­ing the most. They’re pay­ing thou­sands a month for it; they even [have] a high co-pay. And then of course you’ve got a lot of pro­grams, that work with people, they’ve got the gyms, they’ve got the train­ers. They’re work­ing on health, they’re work­ing on nutri­tion ar­eas. So, what we’re do­ing be­cause we don’t have that great health care is they’re work­ing fine to keep people healthy. But at the same time, what do you do with the per­son who has that heart at­tack?

And I tell you what – it’s a Catch-22. We work hard to get to a place where we have money com­ing in, and the health care, we have to pay a lot for it. But if we do noth­ing, and we’re on wel­fare, we get health care for free. That means heart trans­plants, liv­ers – that means ev­ery­thing. People see that. So, it’s more than just I can’t af­ford the health care; it’s how ev­ery­one else that’s not work­ing as hard as I am gets bet­ter care than I do.

Trillions: You can see that on both sides. You see that people le­git­i­mately can’t work for what­ever rea­son and need help. And the people that are work­ing also need help. How do you do that? It’s a chal­lenge, [es­pe­cially] given the na­ture of the econ­omy and the na­ture of the val­ues that the coun­try es­pouses.

We can’t af­ford it, ei­ther, from a bal­ance sheet stand­point, whether or not you ar­gue that health care is too ex­pen­sive in ac­tual num­bers, re­gard­less of what the in­sur­ance poli­cies are.

One thing I did want to ask you about. You know, the White House … has rec­om­mended cuts in a num­ber of ar­eas. The [Na­tional] Small Busi­ness [As­so­ci­a­tion] has been his­tor­i­cally quite help­ful in guid­ing small busi­nesses and pro­vid­ing ac­cesses to cer­tain things in the fed­eral con­tract area, as a client base that this pub­li­ca­tion, Trillions, serves. It even sets up ear­marks … for small busi­nesses … and, in par­tic­u­lar, cer­tain types of busi­nesses, such as a vet­eran-owned busi­ness or a woman-owned busi­ness or some­thing like that.

As part of the [pro­posed] cuts this year, and I’m cu­ri­ous about your opin­ion there, there are three spe­cific things that [the White House is] rec­om­mend­ing cut­ting out. This is a long way from done, but one of them is [the area of] Tech­ni­cal As­sis­tance Grants … [A se­cond] they plan to get rid of is the Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Ad­min­is­tra­tion, and [a third] thing which a lot of the people [reading this] will know is the Mi­nor­ity Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Agency, the MBDA, which sup­ports mi­nor­ity-owned busi­nesses and di­ver­sity [in small busi­ness] across the United States. I’m not sure [these have] come up in the con­ver­sa­tion [about the Lead­er­ship Council, but] I’m won­der­ing if those are things you have an opin­ion on or if the group is in­tend­ing to look at those.

Carol Farabee: I be­lieve that if [the govern­ment de­cides] not to do this, if you look at each state – if you look at each state, [for ex­am­ple], for the tech­nol­ogy council, each state … has a tech­nol­ogy council.… All of them have an Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Ad­min­is­tra­tion. We’ve got all kinds of mi­nor­ity busi­ness as­so­ci­a­tions. There’s a South­west Busi­ness Ad­vo­cacy here. So, if they [drop this] at the fed­eral level, it doesn’t mean that it’s not go­ing to hap­pen. It means it may not hap­pen at that level. But … for small busi­ness in ev­ery state, we’re go­ing to take back tech­nol­ogy, we’re go­ing to take back eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, we’re go­ing to take back mi­nor­ity [busi­ness con­cerns]. We’re not go­ing to stop those things from hap­pen­ing. In fact, that’s prob­a­bly go­ing to cause more as­so­ci­a­tions to be de­vel­oped. We’re go­ing to have more busi­nesses cre­ated to sup­port those ar­eas. Ev­ery state has al­ready in place those things with­out go­ing to the fed­eral level. And they’re go­ing to say, “Good. Now we can reg­u­late our own stuff and have more things hap­pen, with­out the pol­i­tics of Capi­tol Hill in­volved.”

Trillions: I’m try­ing to say this the most pos­i­tive way I can: The govern­ment needs to [spend less time] on the var­i­ous things it’s wor­ry­ing about these days and hope­fully move on to some of the more sig­nif­i­cant is­sues. Like those we’ve talked about, like health care on a na­tional level and health care within the var­i­ous states.

One ad­van­tage you have within in­di­vid­ual states, es­pe­cially the smaller pop­u­la­tion states, is that it is ac­tu­ally eas­ier to en­gage govern­ment on a small level.… I’m sure Ari­zona is some­what like that. Even though [the] Phoenix metropoli­tan area is a big area, over­all the state is not that big [in pop­u­la­tion], so work­ing things through the gover­nor with council prob­a­bly [can work] very well.

Have there been any first meet­ings since you joined this group?

Carol Farabee: I have talked to sev­eral of [the mem­bers], kind of an off-the-cuff type of thing. But … in July … I’m ac­tu­ally go­ing to be in com­mit­tee meet­ings. But right now, Mon­day the 19th [of June] I’ll be talk­ing with them.

When I first go into a new area, [like] a new board, I don’t say any­thing. I’m quiet, be­cause I’m lis­ten­ing. You … lis­ten, and you get the tone and un­der­stand­ing of ev­ery­body in the room, be­fore you want to say some­thing. So, I think Mon­day and Tues­day of next week, [the 19th and 20th of June], it [could] be very in­ter­est­ing. There are 258 mem­bers of the Lead­er­ship Council, and I think it’s go­ing to be en­gag­ing and im­por­tant. Be­cause as I was look­ing through, there are dif­fer­ent busi­nesses rep­re­sented. You’ve got that full gamut of lead­er­ship and men­tor­ing com­ing from all of them, not just one or two. And ev­ery dif­fer­ent area of busi­ness has their dif­fer­ent struc­ture of what they think is im­por­tant. So, I think it’s go­ing to be very in­ter­est­ing.

An in­ter­view with Carol Farabee

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.