…Simple. Educate people to find business funds regardless of their scenario. There is a funding party happening every day of the week and I want others to tap into their parties.
As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kedma Ough, MBA, a nationally renowned business coach and funding expert. Winner of the Small Business Administration (SBA) Small Business Champion of the Year Award, she has guided more than 10,000 entrepreneurs through their business dreams. As a fifth-generation entrepreneur, Ough is committed to helping millions target funds regardless of their financial situation. She also just released her new book; Target Funding: A Proven System to Get the Money and Resources You Need to Start or Grow Your Business available now on Amazon.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Kedma! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
My career path began more than 20 years ago when I was hired to run the Small Business Administration Women’s Business Center in Tucson Arizona. I fell in love with supporting women and minority entrepreneurs with business development. From there I had the opportunity to serve on the financial committee investing grants for entrepreneurs with disabilities and became a consultant for both Vocational Rehabilitation and the Veterans Administration. It was at that time that I finally solidified my life’s mission and have been on that path for the last two decades.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
People often ask what the turning point was for educating entrepreneurs on targeting grants, funds and resources for their business. The irony is that I faced my own financial crisis in 2001 when I had to file bankruptcy as a result of a relationship breakup. After receiving a credit card from Capital One for $200, I made a commitment to discover all the funding and resources that could be accessed for entrepreneurs that were not bankable and yet still deserved to receive funds towards their business dream. I went on a 15-year journey and ultimately created a proven strategy to target funds based on unique variables that were associated with a particular entrepreneur and their business concept
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I think the funniest mistake was thinking that just because I had a good idea and business plan that my banker would offer a loan. I will never forget when I walked into my bank so proud of my business plan for a bed and breakfast spa resort. He began asking if I had good credit, any collateral, and a job. After I expressed that I had none of these he politely suggested I go get a job. I was so mad at his approach that I went back to my apartment and figured out a different avenue to get my business up and running. Within a few weeks Stepping Stones Spa Resorts was in business. I have never forgotten that experience and looking back now I can find it humorous. The lesson I learned is that lenders have their place in the funding world but not necessarily for first time business entrepreneurs that don’t meet their strict banking criteria.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I think people resonate with the fact that I went from bankruptcy to business success. I know how it feels to be in the lowest point of life where no one wants to invest in you. I also was able to learn so much about targeting funds because of my journey. In addition, I am a national expert in target funding based on key variables. For example, if I was working with a Hispanic female veteran based in Orlando Florida focused on designer clothes for autistic kids then we would target funds for each of the variables just stated.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes! In addition to the new release book Target Funding: A Proven System to Get the Money and Resources You Need to Start or Grow Your Business being available now on Amazon one of the most exciting project is our target funding report database where entrepreneurs can key in their unique variables and receive a customized target funding report. This will help people find their unique funds and resources without having to complete a thorough research online
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
Find your tribe. Success leaves clues and it is so important to align with other superheroes that are going to lift you up and open doors that were once walls.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
Realize that each person communicates differently. I learned this gift from my Autistic son that sees communication through pictures in his mind. I always ask members how to communicate best with them. Second is to realize that you have permission to be smart, sexy and strong. You don’t have to compromise femininity to be a strong female in the business world
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
During one of the worst moments of my life I was attending a community college and petitioned the college to consider a scholarship to further my education. During their deliberation I was sent to the secretary’s office and asked for a piece of paper and pen. On that paper I wrote a letter to God stating that if the college would offer an educational opportunity then for the rest of my life, I would use my education to open doors to anyone that crossed my path. I’ve been serving on that contract for the last 30 years
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
By working with the most vulnerable entrepreneurs to teach them how to target funds I bring goodness each day. When I have moments to help someone on welfare make a living wage it fulfills my mission
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. Stay Disciplined on your end goal
Thoughts are powerful and staying focused on your end goal requires tremendous discipline. It took 18 years to see my book Target Funding manifest and I never wavered once from the dream.
2. Manage your time with a vengeance
Your time is your most important commodity so manage it with a vengeance. I believe in outsourcing as much as possible because it buys freedom to live the life, I have always imagined
3. One friend per state. People laugh at this rule but it allows the opportunity to manage people in my inner circle that can influence my thoughts. I think it is critical to ensure that the people that influence you are going to bring you value and lift you up
4. Learn from others that have the lifestyle
Everyone tries to chase millionaires and billionaires. I chase people that have the lifestyle I desire that focuses on happiness, freedom and peaceful living. I’ve met millionaires that are miserable and have no connection to their family or health. I’ve met entrepreneurs that has an income of less than twenty thousand and they are completely happy. I choose happiness first.
5. Believe in magic
“Keep believing in unicorns, leprechauns and magic” wrote my fifth-grade science teacher in my yearbook. After four decades I still believe in magic and live my life with the idea that possibilities are endless when we believe. I am living proof of it.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Simple. Educate people to find business funds regardless of their scenario. There is a funding party happening every day of the week and I want others to tap into their parties.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Be your own Superhero. It is relevant because I’ve realized we must become our own superhero. Most of us are fascinated with superhero films yet the reality in life is that often you must be the one to save yourself. I learned that in a very difficult way, and it defined who I am today.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Of course. Lynda Carter. She has been my idol for forty years and I have emulated her role in real life. I wear customized capes on all keynote speaking engagements and believe that we have a responsibility to cultivate more superheroes