The similarities between small business and non-profits are far greater than anyone realizes.

Most people are quite surprised by the similarities. 

They are both businesses after all!


Both have:

  • investors

  • operations

  • profits/losses

  • staff in one form or another

  • promotion and advertising

  • finances

  • competition

  • sales and marketing

  • business plan

  • vision, mission, values and business statements

  • boards of directors

  • ETC.

Why do People Think They are Different?

Because most people never see a non-profit as a business - they think "charity".

To succeed, non-profits must adopt good business practices.  The operations of a non-profit need to be as tight as that of a small business to maximize the efforts put forward.

What about Profits?

Both can make profits.

Non-profits raise money either through donations or profits through sales and promote a cause with that money.  Small business put their profits towards the benefit of the owner and investors.

Either way, someone or something is benefited by the success of the enterprise.

What is truly necessary for both types of businesses?

Both small business and non-profits must be well run as efficient and effective entities to succeed.  Without the proper management of resources, the enterprises suffer and, often, die.

Just because the cause of a non-profit is worthy or just because a person has saleable products or skills does not make the enterprise successful.  Many a good cause, product or skill has never produced much  because the whole host of skills and abilities was not available to them either because they couldn't afford them or the individuals involved that effort would be enough.

The three most important factors are:

1.  The very first thing on the list is understanding finances thoroughly - the budget, financial statements and chart of accounts 

Understanding finances is a simple, simple process made complicated by people who don't know how to show other people the basics or don't want to in order to retain power and control.

I helped a small architectural firm once which found itself in a declining market.  Despite the fact that the owner had been in business for many years and made a lot of money, he was now faced with asking the banks for a loan.  He couldn't do that because he didn't understand his financial picture nor how his budget related to what had happened in the past and what was to happen in the future.  When I showed him how to relate the figures and justify his requirement to the bank, he couldn't believe how understanding the overall picture was simple.  He had left finances up to his accountant for years without taking the time to understand what the story the numbers were saying about his business.

Non-profits have the same issue - many executive directors and most members of the board don't understand the finances clearly.

2.  Create a realistic documented budget. 

I am astonished during my consulting work to see that most budgets are undocumented.  How can anyone, staff or board members, possibly, first understand the budget without details and, secondly, remember later what the figures consisted.  They can't. 

3.  Learn to sell well.  

If you hate selling, then don't go into business for yourself nor should you seek to help a non-profit.

If you hate selling, don't become an executive director or member of the board of directors.  Fundraising is essentially sales - asking for something for something in return.

So many would-be small business people to whom I presented workshops told me they couldn't and wouldn't sell.  My answer was blunt:  get a job.  Selling is critical to starting or growing a business or a non-profit.


Lorraine Arams

On Contract Only



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Are You A Blue?

Are You A Blue?

If you're not, dealing with a Blue can be quite challenging especially if you're a Green or an Orange.  Everyone has some colour combination but one colour dominates each one of us.  What does that mean?

True Colors is a personality system which can help people better understand themselves and others with a simple system which is not as complicated as Myers-Briggs.  You can read more about it here:  https://truecolorsintl.com/about-us/what-is-true-colors/

Blues Can be Frustrating 

If you've met someone who is predominantly Blue, you'll want to be with them because of their calm and loving manner.  However, to work with them can be a big challenge and you may want you to tear your hair out trying to reason them logically.  Why?  Because their world is one which they want to help at all costs.  They see the whole world and its people with true rose-colored glasses. They  "feel sorry" for others  or refuse to see dangers from others even to themselves.  The person in front of them could literally shoot the Blue, and Blue will still try to find a way to justify the shooting as incredible as that sounds.

It makes you wonder if they value themselves at all.  It's almost like dealing with someone who has been physically abused but keeps returning or continuing to live with the abuser knowing full well that the abuser could someday go too far and kill Blue.

Blues on the Job

Usually, in every day life, we can accept the difference and even marvel how Blues can "love everybody", however, in business, Blues can become a detriment to the organization.

Non-profits mostly attracts Blue types - helpers, self-sacrificing, always there when you need them even if it means tremendous inconvenience to themselves or their families.

For line workers in non-profits, this can be a good thing especially when Blues work in the care giving world such as hospitals, care homes or hospice environments.   However, because their thinking almost  borders on irrational, clashes can happen with those who are more concerned with the bottom line - paying for the services being delivered.  Blues response is often - "Who cares about money?  They need help."  While Orange and Green types will respond, "We can't spend what we don't have."  What a challenge!


How Can the Difference be Reconciled?

How do you get these people to work together effectively?  Communicating - not in meetings but communicating with one another every day so that the "tug and pull" becomes a symbiosis of directed energy taking into account what can be done with the money available and the need to help others.

Appreciation of one another's strengths builds quality relationship.  The key is communicating every single day in some way, on the job, not in meetings.

The pay-off is that, as individuals everyone grows because they learn something valuable from each other - a different way of looking at the world.

In terms of relationships, because there is respect for one another's differences, the relationship becomes stronger.  For the organization, this symbiosis creates an environment of more balanced and solid decision-making - everyone's voices blended together.

Though you may think that True Colors is simplistic, think about the impact it could have in your organization amongst all the people involved - staff, board of directors, volunteers, beneficiaries of your services, donors, sponsors, government agencies and all the other groups who are involved with your organization.

The more we understand each other, the better we can harmonize and work with one another's differences for the best possible outcomes.


Lorraine Arams

On Contract Only




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Are You Killing Yourself? Every Day

on contract only

Every Day You're Killing Yourself

You may not acknowledge it.

You may ignore it.

You may refuse to accept it.

You Are . . . .

Because you let them do it to you . . . .

The excuses:

  • I'd rather have peace than say anything

  • It's not worth it

  • I need my job to pay my bills

  • So what?

  • Like water off a duck's back

  • I rise above all that

  • Karma will take care of it.  Mine is good; theirs isn't.

  • Who cares?

You care.  Whether you acknowledge it or not, you care. And when someone takes a "bite" out of you, the bite hurts one way or another.  You'll pay the price no matter the excuse for not taking action.



Sticks and stones may break my bones but words won't hurt me - it all hurts.  Decades later people still reel from being ridiculed, pushed around, ignored, laughed at, ignored, called names, beaten up, teased . . . .

Was it your fault?


If you didn't have the skills to deal with the situation or the support and guidance to learn how, then the fault lies in the adults who likely didn't have the skills to stand up for themselves and couldn't teach you.  They helped you with the excuses.  It wasn't your fault then.

But, as an adult, the fault lies squarely with you because you can do better if you want to.

Bullying kills you - every day - at work, at home, in the community - everywhere if you don't learn the skills to stop it. 

Your psyche is damaged.  You feel defective, weak and less than.

When your psyche is under siege, your body reacts causing the body not to work as it should.

Psychologically, depression can set in or, at the very least, you avoid people at all costs as you have come to believe pain is everywhere when you're with people.


bullyYou pay a very dear price for not standing up for yourself everywhere you are. 

Every time someone bullies you and you do nothing about it, you kill yourself little by little - every time.  You diminish yourself in your own eyes and the chemical reactions within your body are killing you.  Your psyche dies a little bit more every time.  Your soul is attacked. 

Think about it.

Feel the pain.

What can you do about it?  Plenty.

I'll be creating posts over the next while about bullying.  For those who have the courage to stop being bullied, stay tuned.  I'll be talking about techniques to deal with bullying effectively in different types of situations.  However, you must have the courage and be willing to practice.  When bullying happens, it occurs without notice.  You must be ready. 

Do you want to stop killing yourself?

Lorraine Arams
On Contract Only










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desires on contract onlyThat's how many people find themselves - not knowing  their true essence.  And, worse, they don't know how they would recognize their most critical desire.

Their wants  have no foundation in the root of their being.


What is your Desire? 

This is the starting point.  What desire would make you feel "full" as  expressed in a career?  Not what others want you to want or what will "look good" in your social structure or what the latest craze happens to be in the media, but the "real you" - your burning desire.

 If you feel depressed, frustrated, anxious or just plain lost,  then realize that you either want something you really don't want or you don't know what you want because you have never truly labeled your deepest desire.

desires on contract onlyAnd . . . if you are in the process of "getting something", then does it fit your essence? 

The problem is that you may not have a label for the longing motivating your involvement.  The result may leave you feeling empty and unfulfilled despite the belief you thought you were doing the right thing in the right place.

For instance, if you're working long hours at your job, is your hope is to reach the top of your career or to serve and please others or to conform.

What's the real desire behind what you are doing?  Are you even in the right job or the right workplace to fulfill yourself?

Can You Name It?

That's your first step.  Name your desire - your yearning - your wish.  Don't kid yourself about what you're doing. 

Pleasing people or conforming are not the roads to a great career unless you are in the right industry. If you're heading for the presidency in a flat organization, you'll obviously fail.

 If you want to please people, then line up your career with that yearning - a butler, a waitress, a masseuse, a surgeon, a chef - all kinds of professions have a main objective of pleasing people. 

If your craving is to conform to belong, then you'll find peace in government or other big bureaucracies where conformity is a key ingredient.

And if your aspiration is to have power over others and decision-making, "be the boss", then your road must be quite different.  You'll want to set yourself up in a place where the probability of becoming president is quite high.

Name it.  What is the desire?  Where will that desire fit?

If you need some help, consider my coaching services.  Coaching can help - click here to find out more.

Lorraine Arams
On Contract Only

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Keep Your Mouth Shut in the Workplace Unless . . .

power structure

You Know It's Something Someone Else was Already Agreeing On

Keep your mouth shut in the workplace unless you know that someone or everyone is in agreement.

Why?  Because if someone doesn't like what you said, you're in trouble.  No one may give you any indication whatsoever that you have made a "faux pas" but you'll soon find out.

People who were once friendly will distance themselves from you.  Your supervisor may not be so receptive to your comments or suggestions any longer.  And, soon, you'll feel like an outsider.  There will be nothing specific you can identify and no one will be willing to tell you what happened.

You have arrived to the workplace "purgatory" never to be released.

What to do? 

  • Stop offering anything - even personal advice to anyone.
  • Be nice - really nice to everyone.
  • Let the air cool off.
  • Do your work well and completely.
  • And, agree with everything or say nothing.  If you are pushed to agree, then nod.

Yes, you're on trial - you've offended someone somehow. 

Will you recover your status?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Depends on how offended the offended are.

At one meeting, we were told the purpose of the meeting was to explore new programming ideas.  Little did I know how "sensitive" one person was and I walked right into her bad books by suggesting an addition to one of the ideas she had expressed.  The air in the room got "very cold".  I knew that the way she wanted to execute on the idea would have some serious ramifications but that didn't matter at all.  What mattered was that she simply didn't want anyone, for any reason, commenting on her ideas.

The next day, I asked another attendee what I had done.  He told me that she had been horribly upset by my suggestion.   You would say that she was very emotionally immature.  Yes, I would agree but she had the power to make my life difficult.  From that point on, when she was in a meeting, I said nothing.  If I had to visibly agree with her, I'd nod or raise my hand the same way as others did in order not to stand out.  Over time, the cold shoulder warmed up a bit but I was never, ever comfortable when this person was in the room.  I'd minimize the time I spent with her.  Though relations improved somewhat, the trust was gone.

How can you avoid this situation? take notes

  1. Ask questions and get to know what people believe especially those who have more power than you.  You need to know the people very well.  What do they think and feel about any particular subject in the workplace or even outside the workplace if the subject impacts your enterprise.
  2. Make notes in your Smartphone - do not ever write it in a book or on your computer at work.   This is top secret information in your arsenal.  Use code too in case someone is ever looking over your shoulder when you're reading what you have recorded.
  3. Learn everything you can about designing strategies.  Strategies are all important.  Being a great strategist is helpful throughout life.
  4. And also learn all you can about working with the "powerful" successfully.  The workplace is never about the "know-how" you have but how you manage the people around you.  You were hired on what you knew and your knowledge and skills will grow as you gain experience.  Managing power and people are two entirely different abilities and skills you need to develop.  Psychology becomes very important.

Managing power and people without selling your soul are the critical skills for success.

Lorraine Arams
On Contract Only


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