Karen Cupp found out early in her business career that having someone to encourage, challenge, as well as, motivate her to think outside of the box, would have been beneficial to her success. That revelation led her to her current mission; assisting entrepreneurs to realize their true potential thereby helping their business grow and prosper.
In 1994 Midwest Cash was born from the sweat, tears and dreams of Coach Karen and her husband, Barry. This small Midwest pawnshop startup was built on the “lets figure it out as we go along” mentality. There was no one to provide them with a one size fits all manual on policies and operational strategies. They were willing to do the work and suffer the slings and arrows……”but wouldn’t it be nice if there was a group of likeminded business owners who could challenge, encourage or maybe be the tiebreaker of difficult decisions.”
But as it often is in small family businesses Karen was just too busy working in the business to organize or facilitate what she now refers to as a peer advisory group. Business owners grow when they can take time away from working in the business to work on growing themselves and developing new programs and opportunities.
During her early days of Midwest Cash Karen served as Chief Financial Officer, Human Resources Officer as well as head of training and development. In juggling the plate of duties the question came to mind “what would happen if one could focus on what they really love and are good at?”
In 2008, Karen begin honing her skills as a facilitator in a program known as Operation Bootstrap through the Small Business Development Center. Startup businesses as well as businesses wanting to expand joined a six week training program to learn organizational structure, marketing, and other aspects needed. It culminated in a competition where participants presented their business plan and could win seed grants.
Karen realized there was one thing was missing. Owners cannot be confined to Monday – Friday support when they start running their business. They need coaches and advisors to come into the trenches to see firsthand challenges and concerns and be willing to speak an encouraging word or give them a gentle kick in the butt. As an entrepreneur herself, Karen has made it her mission to be just that.
She share with us that peer advisory groups are grounded by a powerful facilitator who is well connected to ideas, resources and people that business owners need. Entrepreneurs are notorious for making endless excuses for why they can’t “get outside of the bottle” (their business) and open themselves different perspectives from other business owners. Trained coaches and facilitators take entrepreneurs to places that they cannot get there on their own.
As captain of her 38’ trawler Karen says “the adventure in business starts when you leave the safe harbor.” Today she asks you “are you ready to leave the safe harbor and find your perfect business advisory board?”
Finding your tribe opens doors to a whole new mindset. In 2015 Karen found a tribe that she knew could help her develop this model for small businesses around the world. In joining with the John Maxwell Group Coaching Program Karen adopted John Maxwell, world renowned leadership coach’s philosophy that leadership is imparted out in the world through the transformation of the minds of its leaders. Ninety eight percent of business are 100 employees or less and they are hungry for the support of Peer Advisory Boards.
Karen has made it a dynamic part of her business strategy to support and to be the connection! Groups meet together to help challenge each other and offer solutions to common challenges of everyday business ownership. Loving accountability leads individuals to embrace their fears and turn them into action!
“Entrepreneurs are courageous individuals who meet and conquer fear by knowing that they have a mission greater than their fear.”
Passion is actually fear in action Karen told us. Find what speaks to your heart and be willing to pursue it! Never give up pursuing that dream. In 2002 Karen knew there were people who needed a place to develop their skills to speak so she began the mission of starting a local Toastmaster club. She contacted Toastmasters International about attending the conference so that she would know how to start a club, and was told that she couldn’t attend as she wasn’t a member. What do you do when obstacles smack you in the face? If you are Karen Cupp, you find ways around them. By joining a club in a neighboring state Karen attended the International Conference and gained the support to start Southern Illinois Toastmasters. This year they celebrate 15 years of success.
Join Karen at A Cupp of Wisdom: the power of focus in business and family, at Midwest BizTV Shows, to learn more about how you can bring a powerful advisory table into your world.
Also reach out to Karen at her website karencupp.com or contact her at 618-925-Gold.
Listen to our interview with Karen for the Soar to Success podcast.