ANGELS AND DEMONS: How to Fund Your Venture


What do you stand for?  What does your personal and business brand represent?  Now is the time to reflect on last year (Was it all you wanted it to be?  Did you live true to your highest convictions and values?) and then put together a plan to execute this year.


“We spread integrity.”™  This is the motto of Once Again Nut Butter, an employee-owned company located in a small rural community in upstate Western New York  (  “You can be assured that extra care and consideration is taken into bringing you the freshest and highest quality products possible.  Our employees insure that you will enjoy a wonderfully rich tasting product that is produced with integrity.” In eating Once Again organic sunflower butter this afternoon, I tasted the goodness.  Their values come through.


Know Thyself.  The sages since antiquity have said, “Know Thyself.”  The foundation of personal and business planning starts with values – what you stand for.  Value and gifts define your passion.  Passion, along with other personal traits, determines how effectively you pursue your purpose.


  • Your values define who you are and what is meaningful to you.  Values include your core beliefs, ideology, ethics, morals, attitude, and ideals. 


  • Your gifts mold how you can uniquely contribute.  Gifts include your talents, experience, abilities, aptitude, education, and traits.


  • Your traits are personal characteristics that allow you to effectively use your values and gifts.  Passionate pursuers, people who successfully find and pursue their passions, have the nine SUNFLOWER traits, as described in March – November 2005 newsletters ( . 



Radish Systems Case Study.  When we restarted Radish 2.0, we reaffirmed the core values upon which we stand.  They include:

  • Integrity, Honesty, and Ethical Conduct
  • Stakeholder Delight – provide financial and real rewards for all involved including customers, partners, investors, and employees
  • Innovative Solutions – contribute to the world in a way that would outlive us
  • Empowering Environment – allow an empowered team to contribute and be rewarded to the fullest
  • Community Service – support the greater good
  • Sustainability – be sustainable and non-harmful to the environment


Five Practical Pointers to Determine What You Stand For.


  1. Inquire.  Probe deeply into your values, gifts, and traits.  Ask for feedback.
  2. Assess.  Take the “Self” Inventory.  Use it to understand where you are now and what aspects you need to nurture.
  3. Explore.  Consider how your value and gifts help define what you are passionate about.
  4. Test.  Strengthen your sense of self by putting your values, gifts, and traits to work in hard times.  Interpret adversity as a positive force.
  5. Surround.  Encircle yourself with trustworthy people who are good examples, give you honest feedback, and live true to your standards. 


Now is the time.  Do not delay.  Determine what you stand for. Use this to guide your life and work.

Theresa Szczurek (,,


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