One Light Ahead Presents Our New Look

From Coach April Ballestero

If you have been following One Light Ahead over the years, you know that we just recently rebranded in 2015, but now it is 2020 and we are releasing our new brand, yet again. I want to take a few minutes to explain why and share the story of how.

Beginning this process, all I could think was “here we go, revising our brand, presence, and colors… again.” 

Why now, during this challenging year? Believe it or not, we chose to rebrand before the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrations, and financial constraints we are all facing now. We have been through a few different web developers and “branding” agencies in our attempt to find the right fit; so trying something new, we expanded our reach outside the country. 
Eric Ballestero, my son, and Operations Coordinator stumbled across a company called Canny Creative. He subscribed to their blog and soon reached out to Canny to explain the situation. He took the lead to guide us in this new venture to learn about the public image One Light Ahead was displaying and the image we wanted to represent. A few incredibly busy months of work later, and we now have a brand and a strategy that represents One Light Ahead more accurately. The branding we created aligns with our purpose and brings us into the modern era.
The brand strategy document Canny provided led us to look inward and discover who we wanted to serve, what we wanted to provide, and the pillars we wanted to build the foundation of One Light Ahead upon. Originally only serving real estate agents, One Light Ahead quickly opened the doors to serve a wide variety of industries. We continue to expand our services for entrepreneurs, executives, and influencers (leaders). We deliver one-to-one coaching, group coaching, team-development, keynote speaking, strategic consulting, and conflict management resources. We have adapted our previously offered programs into newly inspired courses. Currently, we offer a self-paced online course (All About YOU), and a hybrid group course complete with weekly live group sessions called the Masters League Competition™.

We proudly structure our programs from our brand pillars of partnership, commitment, and leadership with the motivation to light the way and provide guidance for every journey.

My primary goal in leading this organization has always been to transform self-awareness and decision making to the benefit of my clients. Leading by example, I now have my master’s degree, many certifications, and years of experience to enhance the experience of One Light Ahead’s community.
One Light Ahead’s team is full of different perspectives. So, to achieve a culture of consistent results, we needed to focus our energy on the brand and image of One Light Ahead.

Each part of our new brand brings together the whole concept.

 

One Light Ahead New Logo and Brand

 

The new logo represents an intentionally aligned integration of colors. Green representing our energy and slight tinting of blue to represent trust. The white is to represent our commitment to transparency. 
We brought bright colors and white text on a dark background to represent One Light Ahead as the guiding light in the darkness. As we launch our new website, our brand, and our renewed commitment, we continue to focus on creating light bulb moments and guidance for every journey.

We wanted to share how thankful we are for you and our ability to serve your transformation. We are in an environment where authenticity, energy, and trust are the highest priorities. It is our mission to provide customized partnership plans, positively impact, and improve our community. We light the way for business leaders to reach for the stars and shine at their highest potential. To inspire transformation.

 

 

Addressing the ELEPHANT in the Room


 
Addressing the ELEPHANT in the Room with Coach April Ballestero and Jason Safford. Join us as we talk and interview guests about the ELEPHANT in the room. We talk about the hard things to talk about and shed light on difficult subjects including Diversity in the Workplace, Interracial Relationships, and many more important topics.
 

Collective Experience for Leading Change

Shannon Plummer is speaker and musician of a non-profit, is leading by example. She reminded us that one person’s experience impacts a whole group which may impact each of our businesses moving forward. We have learned from the pandemic, the protests, and historical lessons, that our lives are constantly changing. As we face these changes, our individual choices will impact others and create a collective experience. Let us also determine what we want this experience to be now and lead the change together.

Pandemic lessons

Multiple businesses and individuals have been impacted by this pandemic. Each one may or may not have had a crisis management plan. Many developed the plan on the fly. The lesson learned is best exemplified by the people and businesses who are choosing to donate, serve, and align with others in overcoming the obstacles. The effect and impact are real and many are going to be spending years overcoming, yet as an individual working to impact the collective, finding what is my ability to assist is a much more powerful use of my time.

Protest lessons

Many cultures, races, and communities are in the midst of gatherings requesting reformation. We get the ability to use our platforms to remind people how to respond to the challenges of any protest. We, as individuals, and business leaders, get to either support or hold elected officials accountable, no matter their role, and create conversations for creating reforms for the collective experience as a whole, as a wise respected leader reminded me. The old idiom, “A picture is worth a thousand words” reminds us that even one picture we share has meaning and ability to impact the collective experience. Wise to determine what presence we are portraying in the simplest of concepts.

Historical lessons

Martin Luther King Jr. and many others created change to attempt to address the racist challenges of our country. These movements impact every one of our businesses. We get to lead the change for a movement to create leaders who are willing to ask the tough questions, guide diversity reform, and unite the collective experience of equality, respect, and agape love. Our business services and products can be driven by relationships honoring the lessons and creating history from our leadership.

Lead the Change

A collective experience, by our choice, to ask questions, lead growth, and increase our success as a whole is needed every day. Every individual and every business leader has a platform to choose how to lead this opportunity. It may be as simple as a lyric or statement, as Shannon Plummer started this conversation. It may be as intense as the messages Martin Luther King shared in his worldwide platform. It may be a simple blog as this woman business leader shares with you to call us all to collectively collaborate and cause collective change. Our relationships, services, and successes in honoring diversity, respecting each other, and validating the experience from all perspectives are just a few ways we may all lead the change.

Practical Software for Start-ups and Small Businesses

Easy Accounting Softwares For Startups And Small Businesses

A variety of affordable online accounting software has made it easier for small businesses to manage their finances. Accounting software allows business owners and accountants to collect all the financial information they need in a single system to track and monitor the financial health of their business. [Sources: 1, 17]

Whether or not you use the best accounting software for your small business depends heavily on what your business is and what it does. This means you should try different packages to help you choose the right accounting tool for you and your smaller accounting needs. A good account for small businesses allows you to manage the company’s finances and balance the books with the level of accounting you bring with you. [Sources: 0, 4, 17]

Xero is an intelligent accounting software tool aimed at small businesses with a focus on ease of use and mobile benefits. If you are a retailer or if your business accounts are straightforward, a number of users have chosen Xero as the best software for small businesses that they find easy to use. However, depending on your specific needs, it is your best smaller accounting software for you. [Sources: 13, 14, 17]

Small businesses are looking for a complete and user-friendly accounting solution. QuickBooks Online accounting software has a number of features that appeal to small businesses and small business owners, with an emphasis on ease of use and mobile benefits. It is the best – for anyone who just needs a simple, simple – accounting tool for their business accounts. For the small business owner who needs everything streamlined, Quickbooks offers the best services and features with the most advanced features. [Sources: 0, 7, 16, 19]

If you are a small business owner who is in the market for something very simple and doesn’t want to pay for an accounting app, you can put all your business’s accounting data together in one place and put it together on your mobile device. If there is a part of the company that can generate and use data, it can benefit from the accounting software for small businesses. Simply put, if this area is not your strong suit or you don’t like the idea of working with an accountant who directly oversees corporate finances, just use a software solution like QuickBooks and do what you want. [Sources: 0, 8, 10]

As you can see, FreshBooks, QuickBooks, and Xero are by far the most popular accounting software for small businesses and startups. In our Small Business Tools Overview, we recommend you read our list of the most user-friendly accounting tools for start-ups and smaller businesses. Freshbooks is a well-known organization that provides comprehensive cloud-based accounting software specifically targeted at start-ups or small businesses. ZipBooks is the solution for all small business owners, including freelancers, consultants, and sole traders who are familiar with the accounting process. [Sources: 2, 5, 9, 12]

In addition to QuickBooks, Hyland points to other commonly used accounting software for start-ups and small businesses. Quicken allows you to manage your personal and business finances in one place, making it a great choice for home-based entrepreneurs and freelancers who don’t need the same level of control over their finances as accounting software designed for larger, more established companies like Xero. Listed up 4 out of 20 times, this is an online small business accounting software that allows users to create and send invoices, manage inventory, and more. The free account also allows for automated workflow for up to 5 customers, making it ideal for smaller businesses that are not willing to shell out a monthly subscription fee. [Sources: 3, 5, 11, 14]

For truly small businesses and startups, Zoho Books offers a variety of tools to track your growth. In such a dynamic industry, it is especially important to be able to deploy accounting software for your small business, especially if you are using it as part of a larger, more established business such as a law firm, auditing firm, or consulting firm. [Sources: 7, 18]

Small businesses are looking for a fully functional accounting solution that is relatively easy to use, and their accounting software should be tailored to your needs. We have listed some other solutions for your business that might fit here, as well as some options for small businesses that want to play their game with a more advanced accounting system. [Sources: 0, 7]

Startups and very small businesses can get away with using free accounting software, but it will be limited in functionality. Accounting software for small businesses that are not in the cloud will take a lot of time and effort and therefore will not add value to the business. For this reason, small businesses must look for cloud-based accounting software, otherwise, data collection and processing can be tedious. [Sources: 6, 20]

For this reason, we have created a list of simple accounting software for start-ups and small businesses in the world of accounting. [Sources: 15]

On a personal note, I would start with FreshBooks, Quickbooks, or Xero. They are the programs listed in the article that will integrate with the most business software that we will be covering in future posts. Note: If you use Stripe (which I will recommend later in this series) Freshbooks is your best option. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions you can post a comment here or email me: eric@onelightahead.com

Written by Eric Ballestero

Sources:

[0]: https://www.merchantmaverick.com/easy-accounting-software-for-small-businesses/

[1]: https://www.waveapps.com/accounting

[2]: https://www.fool.com/the-blueprint/accounting-software-reviews/

[3]: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7543-best-accounting-software.html

[4]: https://startupsanonymous.com/tools/small-business-accounting-software/

[5]: https://www.blog.consultants500.com/accounting-audit-advisory/best-accounting-software-professional-service-firms/

[6]: https://softwareconnect.com/accounting/small-business/

[7]: https://www.ignitespot.com/best-online-software-small-businesses/financial-software

[8]: https://www.business.com/articles/accounting-tools-recommended-by-entrepreneurs/

[9]: https://www.techadvisor.co.uk/feature/small-business/best-accounting-software-for-startups-3788939/

[10]: https://javadeveloperzone.com/tech/ways-small-business-accounting-software-can-help-your-startup/

[11]: https://skillcrush.com/blog/be-your-own-accountant

[12]: https://www.shopify.ca/blog/15334373-small-business-accounting-101-ten-steps-to-get-your-startup-on-track

[13]: https://www.shopify.com/blog/small-business-accounting-tools

[14]: https://www.lightercapital.com/blog/best-small-business-accounting-software/

[15]: https://grasshopper.com/blog/small-business-software/

[16]: https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/small-business/best-accounting-software-small-business/

[17]: https://www.startuploans.co.uk/business-advice/how-to-choose-small-business-accounting-software/

[18]: https://www.nimble.com/blog/small-business-accounting-software/

[19]: https://brookscity.com/blog/accounting-software-small-business-uk/

[20]: https://www.dvphilippines.com/blog/top-10-small-business-cloud-accounting-software-of-2020

Beginning Tough Conversations

Ever felt that moment when it seems no one realizes there is a large elephant in the room? There is a known challenge that is unspoken and no one has been brave enough to address it. This is the norm in many teams, businesses, and organizations. This is also a very worthy subject of discussion.

Three major items get addressed when you are ready to have these discussions: conflict resolution, team development, and aligning agendas. Of course, perspectives, processes, and personalities also need to be filtered in each discussion. Let’s take a helicopter view of a few suggestions to plant some seeds and open the discussion up.

Choosing personal and professional responsibility to address the elephant in the room requires the decision to be seeking resolutions. It also requires the time to hear all the perspectives. The depth of any elephant also includes discussing the underlying issues surrounding any opportunities for fresh perspectives. Conflict resolution is a choice for someone to start a difficult conversation to develop all those around them.

Examples of this intense conversation could be in response to something as simple as a team member always showing up late to the team meeting, to a team member that is stealing products or ideas from another team member, or to a deeper more sensitive subject matter such as a team member bullying another team member.

All of these and so many more are real items that happen every day in a community. Who takes responsibility to start the conversation?

Team Development has so many perspectives, processes, and personalities to consider in a resolution process. In order to align everyone’s agendas, an overarching agenda ideally creates a foundation for domino discussions. An example is someone that constantly shows up late for a meeting. Ideally, the supervisor of this individual would bring the elephant to the person and the team as an overarching subject and policy. Next, the team has an opportunity to decide if any allowable adjustments may be made to a policy all had supposedly agreed to. This is also an opportunity to make helpful updates and conversations for the team policy. One team member may ask, “What makes one team member more important than others?”, where another team member may ask, “Why does it matter if one team member is constantly late?”. The supervisor then gets the opportunity to take all perspectives back to the overarching team agendas, policies, and processes to determine the next steps for addressing the elephant and a possible resolution. This is a very simple example; many larger elephants and tougher conversations may be necessary.

As we discover one seed or elephant at a time, there are opportunities for all leaders, teams, businesses, and organizations to be willing to look in the mirror, to ask tough questions, truly hear all perspectives, develop processes to address these conversations, and lead the change. The elephants are ripe for discussion and we get to choose to be brave enough to align our agendas on what really matters for all.
[One Light Ahead on BBB.org for California] [BBB for East Tennessee]

(originally published to BBB.org for Sacramento Better Business Bureau® on September 28th, 2020)