Jean Ann Van Krevelen on the Oregon Entrepreneur’s Network, Business Consulting and Twitter

Jean Ann is the President of Escalation Business Consulting, a consulting firm with a focus on business coaching, strategic direction and fund development. Escalation helps individuals and businesses spend less time doing good work and more time doing great work.

Case: How long has the Oregon Entrepreneur’s Network been in existence? What
kinds of services does it provide?

Van Krevelen: OEN was originally formed in 1991 as the Oregon Enterprise Forum, one of more than 20 worldwide chapters of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Enterprise Forum. In 1997, the organization merged with the Oregon Young Entrepreneurs Association (OYEA) and formed the Oregon Entrepreneurs Forum, the largest entrepreneur assistance organization in the state of Oregon.

Jean Ann Van Krevelen

OEN’s programs are geared toward companies that have the potential to create
significant numbers of jobs and high earnings. The organization helps
entrepreneurs launch and grow successful ventures by providing networking
and access to investors and professional service providers. It helps
investors find worthwhile companies to invest, and helps connect start-ups
with the service providers who can make them successful. Nearly 100
programs/events are presented annually.

Its educational offerings focus on business plan creation and helping
companies prepare to gain funding, but also cover some of the operational
elements of any good business plan, including recruiting a management team
and identifying markets.

Programs range from seminars on business concept development, business plan
development, and investor presentation skills, to formal mentoring, private
business plan reviews, regular monthly networking/education events
(PubTalk), and a series of special events: the Entrepreneurship Awards
Dinner
, Angel Oregon, and Venture Oregon. In addition, we manage the
Portland Angel Network and the Women’s Investment Network, which are open to
qualified investors only. We also partner with EDCO to present a PubTalkT
program in Bend.

Case: What services do you provide the OEN?

Van Krevelen: I serve as OEN’s Development Director. This is the first time OEN has had a
Development Director, so I am incredibly honored and excited to be joining
them as the break ground on this venture. OEN has always done an excellent
job of helping brilliant startups find funding to support their efforts, and
now, it will be doing the same for itself. We want to make sure that OEN is
around for the innovators of the future.

Case: Does the Oregon Entrepreneur’s Association have resources for new
business owners to practice their pitch before a conference?

Van Krevelen: There are so many capacity-building and support services for
entrepreneurs.for a summary, go to http://www.oen.org/programs.aspx.
I would suggest that if people are really interested in learning more about
OEN, they should join us at one of the OEN Pub Talks. This informal program
centers on presentations by startups eager for feedback on their products,

services, business model, marketing strategy, or other integral component of their business. Confirming the wisdom of strategy, sharing ideas, alerting them to land mines can help the entrepreneur to improve opportunities for growth and survival.

First, three young OEN member companies have five minutes each to present
who they are and what they do to the assembled crowd, who are encouraged to
ask questions. Later, a single featured company will present an expanded
version of their pitch and take comments and questions from the audience.
Think of it as trial by friendly fire.
PubTalks occur the second Wednesday of every month (except July — we take a
month off in the summer). The cost is $15 for OEN members, $25 for
nonmembers. If you’re interested in either making a five-minute pitch or
being a featured company at PubTalk, contact Mitch Daugherty, the chair of
OEN’s Entrepreneurial Services committee.
Case: About how many tech companies have been helped out through the OEN?
Van Krevelen: Nearly 3,000 members, made up of entrepreneurs, service providers, and the investment community.

Case: OEN is a client of your consulting business. What services do you offer?

Van Krevelen: I am in love with potential, always have been. And I know that it is easy in
business to reach a certain comfort level and stop.

However, some businesses push through to a higher level of functioning and become excellent. I help individuals and clients rise above the day to day and reach ever greater
levels of performance and satisfaction. Below are some of the ways I help
that happen.

Organizational Management and Planning

  • Strategic direction through clear and effective strategic planning
  • Leadership development through executive counsel and organizational training

Resource Development

  • Strategic planning for fundraising/development
  • Analysis and recommendation for diversification of funding streams
  • Donor cultivation, management and stewardship, and major donor campaigns

Personal Brand Development

  • Public speaking and media interview coaching
  • Image and profile development strategic planning
  • Implementation of effective social marketing strategies

Business Writing, Professional Blogging and Other Written Materials

  • Development and renewal of business plan, creation of resumes, CV’s, bios, and profiles
  • Development and maintenance of blogs and other forms of social media
  • Authoring of white papers, articles, and press releases
  • Ghostwriting and byline services

Business Development

  • Development of beginning stage entrepreneurial ventures
  • Assessment and analysis of infrastructure/system needs
  • Business plan development

Case: Who are some of your recent clients?

Van Krevelen: Aside from OEN, my most recent clients are the Northwest Health Foundation,
Yoga Cowgirls and The Main Street Foundation.

On Twitter and Consulting

Case: I met you through Twitter.com. When we last talked, you told me that
Twitter has also helped you gain clients. What percentage of your
total leads come from Twitter per month?

Van Krevelen: Well, I would say that probably 40% of my new referrals and contacts have
come through Twitter. But there are many more benefits to using Twitter. I
also use it to build community around my blogs and my personal brand.

Case: How do you integrate your blog with your Twitter account and Twitter
with your blog?

Van Krevelen: I have three blogs that essentially signify my main interests, Edgy
Entrepreneur, Portland Foodie and Gardener to Farmer. I have developed a
social media strategy that starts with a mission statement, which is my bio
on Twitter, and ends with the goals of my business plan.

My bio is “I am a serious foodie, an avid gardener and a crazed entrepreneur.” All of which is
VERY true! And I guess that is the other thing about Twitter that I think is
essential. If you aren’t posting in a genuine way, over time serious
followers will realize that and stop following you.

Case: When did you first sign up for an account with Twitter? How has your
microblogging changed/evolved since you first joined?

Van Krevelen: Wow, I signed up back in May, I think. But I just couldn’t get my mind
around why anyone would want to chat back and forth all day about what they
were doing. I went back to it after I had started my blogs and dipped my toe
in the stream. WOW! What a different experience! Over time, its users have
become more aware of its potential and more tweets are directed rather than
random. It is my favorite social application by far.and a great place to
work on establishing a personal brand.

Case:What do you find yourself most likely to talk about on Twitter?

Van Krevelen: I try to post to my mission 60-70% of the time. Otherwise, I am all over the
place, getting nothing done, wasting time. Of course, I genuinely like
learning about other people and get a kick out of making people laugh, so
you could see some quirky stuff.

Case: Thanks for letting the Portland Tech Community know more about the
Oregon Entrepreneurs Network, your use of Twitter, and your Consulting
Business!

More about Jean Ann Van Krevelen

Jean Ann Van Krevelen is the author of www.edgyentrepreneur.com, a blog on consulting and careers. She also delves into her passion about food and gardening with www.portlandfoodie.com, a blog about local food, and www.gardenertofarmer.net. This winter, she will publish her first book, a collection of gardening experiences and recipes that will allow her readers to see, from seed to table, the life of the food they are eating.

Previously, Van Krevelen was the Executive Director of the Cascade AIDS Project, Oregon’s largest AIDS service provider. She has been involved in HIV/AIDS work since 1999, and prior to accepting the position at CAP was the Executive Director of RAIN, a statewide AIDS Service organization in Oklahoma. Jean Ann received her Bachelor’s degree in Language Arts education from Phillips University and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Denver.

She was voted one of “50 Making a Difference” by the Oklahoma business newspaper the Journal Record, and was honored with the University of Oklahoma’s School of Social Work Social Welfare Leader award. In 2007, Jean Ann was named one of “40 Under 40” by the Portland Business Journal and one of “100 Women We Love” by Go NYC Magazine.

One of Van Krevelen’s clients is the Oregon Entreprenuer’s Network, a proactive source of funds for Portland Startup companies, especially those in the Tech sector.

You can contact her at jeanannvk@edgybiz.com or you can follow her on Twitter @JeanAnnVK