When you think about running a business, there are two things you’re going to need: talented staff and a good lawyer. As part of our “Small Talks” interview series, I talked to business leaders who fill those essential needs. My discussion with Sandee Kastrul of i.c. stars focuses on the talent question. How do you find just the right people to come through your door and fill your needs? And my chat with Wynne Reece addresses how important it is to have a lawyer you can trust in your corner. A lawyer you feel comfortable with is more than just a lawyer: the right lawyer is a trusted business adviser as well. I greatly enjoyed my discussions with both Kastrul and Reece and I’m excited to share their insights with you.
Since 1999, i.c.stars has been training and connecting adults from underserved communities with technology jobs. “We find talent, we train talent, we put talent to work,” says founder Sandee Kastrul. As someone who has seen the positive change that workforce inclusivity can make, she encourages businesses of all sizes to invest in diversity. “There are a lot of times when I talk to small businesses and they say, ‘Later on, as we get bigger, we’ll think about that diversity piece.’ I think that that’s a mistake,” Kastrul explains. She believes it’s important to hire people from diverse backgrounds right out of the gate. Here are three tips she gives to hiring managers looking to make good hires.
Adversity creates resiliency and problem-solving. The students at i.c.stars primarily come from low-income communities. To achieve success, they’ve had to overcome a level of adversity that would be discouraging to many people. “Overcoming adversity creates resiliency, and that resiliency makes for amazing technologists, amazing programmers and fantastic entrepreneurs,” Kastrul says.
Diversity provides multiple perspectives. You can’t just have one way of seeing the world and expect to meet all your customers’ needs. Having a unique perspective and point of view can help businesses gain market share and distinguish themselves from the competition.
Diversity is the key driver of innovation. “Diversity is the primary driver of invention,” Kastrul says. “We can’t begin to solve complex problems until we have diversity of thought. And that’s not just race and economics; it’s really about the way we see the world through the set of experiences that we’ve had.”
Watch the full video for more insights from Kastrul.
Wynne Reece understands better than most how important it is for small businesses to seek out legal counsel. Not only is she a partner at the Minneapolis-based Reece Law, but she also ran her own boutique event planning company before joining the firm. As the founder of The Creative’s Counsel, Reece’s goal is to make legal assistance accessible to creatives and small business owners. She helps entrepreneurs navigate the often-complex legal matters that are an inescapable part of achieving their dreams. Reece and The Creative’s Counsel host free legal educational seminars, covering topics ranging from trademarks to the unique benefits and challenges of operating a woman-owned business. If you’re thinking about starting a business or creative endeavor, or want to grow your current operation, Reece believes that it’s critical that you find an attorney you can trust. She gives these three reasons on why it’s so important to have a lawyer you can trust.
Legal counsel can consult on all facets of starting your business. Reece says, right off the bat, you should talk to an attorney about the name of your business to make sure you aren’t infringing on someone else’s trademark. Your attorney will also help you set up your business as a legal entity and explain a lot of the legalities concerning hiring employees, contractors and interns. “It’s really important to find a lawyer that’s the right fit for you and that you can have a trusting relationship with,” she says.
Legal counsel helps protect you. Reece suggests that business owners immediately set up a limited liability company (LLC) to protect personal assets. “There is a misconception that it’s going to be really expensive to do that, but it isn’t,” she says. “Spending a few hundred dollars at the outset of a business isn’t always the easiest, but because it protects all of your personal property, you can’t afford not to do it.”
Legal counsel helps you navigate evolving regulations. “The law is always changing,” Reece says. “Having an attorney who you’re comfortable with, who you can be vulnerable with, who you can trust with anything is really important, so you can have the open line of communication and as things change, you’ll know that you can just call your attorney.” From there, you’ll be able to figure out how to adapt or get help with anything that needs to be updated.
As with everything, the law evolves and changes. This video was shot in 2017 and certain laws may have changed since the filming of it. This video is not intended as legal advice.
Watch the full video for more insights.