Thank you for your interest in pursuing business advising with PeopleFund. The following statements outline the policies and procedures you must agree to in accordance with the program. Failure to uphold these policies may result in the termination of your coaching relationship with PeopleFund.
PeopleFund business advisor agree to the same policies and procedures that you, as the client, does. Please note, there may be additional policies you must adhere to if you reside in the City of Austin’s business coaching program market service area or the North Texas corridor.*
Confidentiality of information
PeopleFund does not have to follow the Public Information Act, and therefore, will not share any information regarding a participant’s business or content of the coaching session with anyone unless previously agreed upon by the participant and business coach. This includes personal contact information and financial information.
PeopleFund representatives and business advisors will not knowingly recommend the purchase of goods or services from any individual or firm with which any PeopleFund representative or business coach has a financial, familial, or personal interest.
Non-disclosure of Trade Secrets
Sensitive trade secrets pertaining to unique facts of the participant’s business will not be used to benefit another client of PeopleFund or any PeopleFund representative. The participant understands that sensitive trade secret information is information which is not obvious, which is unknown, or which is unique and pertains to new innovations such as secret manufacturing and processing procedures or formulas, or any new innovative process. The participant understands that it is their responsibility to inform PeopleFund or the PeopleFund representative of any such sensitive trade secrets both verbally and in writing.
Cost of Services
PeopleFund reserves the right to change the cost of advising services at any time. Clients currently scheduled at the time of change will receive a 30-day notice prior to change.
Refusal, Pause, or Termination of Service
The participant has the right to refuse, pause, or terminate service at any time. To do so, the participant must inform PeopleFund or their business advisor in writing detailing a reason for the change. PeopleFund retains the right to refuse service to any participant for any reason. The reason for refusal must be written and given to the participant.
The participant has the right to provide both formal and informal feedback about the program to PeopleFund or their business advisor at any time. Informal feedback may include verbal communication, program reviews, or digital communication. Formal feedback can be provided by participating in program evaluative surveys.
Requesting a Different Provider
In some cases, the participant and business coach assigned may not be a good fit. This could be due to the advisor’s expertise within a given industry, subject, or topic, personality, or communicative differences between the participant and the coach, conflicts of interest, or other reasons. Participants have the right to request a different business advisor at any time. Should the participant feel the need to do so, they must inform PeopleFund or their current advisor in writing of the request for a change.
The participant has the right to request reasonable accommodations for their appointment. Reasonable accommodations include, but are not limited to, a sign language interpreter or verbal language interpreter and telecommunication. The participant understands that the procurement of accommodative services could result in a charge to the participant. All accommodations and charges must be agreed upon by the participant and PeopleFund before accommodations can be initiated. Accommodations must be requested in written form 5 business days in advance of the appointment.
Participating in Surveys
Because this program cares about the quality of services provided, and because it is primarily funded with private and public support, PeopleFund undertakes a number of initiatives to ascertain the quality and impact of services provided to participants. Candid participant feedback is critical to the long-term success of the program. As such, participants can expect to receive a survey shortly following each coaching session and upon culmination of the program duration. It is the participant’s responsibility to respond to these surveys. Failure to participate in a formal request will prevent a participant from being able to receive assistance only until the survey is received.
Accepting Responsibility and Waiving All Claims
In recognition that the participant is ultimately responsible for the success or failure of their business, and that all decisions pertaining to implementing plans and operating the business are the participant’s sole responsibility, the participant must agree to waive any claims of damages against PeopleFund, PeopleFund representatives, and outside industry mentors, professional service providers, and subject matter experts engaged by PeopleFund, based on any advice or information provided by the participant’s coach.
Sharing Property Rights
PeopleFund utilizes documentation created during the session or that is the outcome of a coaching session including, but not limited to, business plans, marketing plans, market analyses, lending readiness assessments, and financial projections. Additionally, PeopleFund may request information or documentation such as, but not limited to, entity formation documents, tax identification, job creation, and financial statements. These documents are to be shared property of PeopleFund and the participant with the understanding that these documents remain confidential only to be used for evaluative purposes to better influence program quality and the understanding of program outcomes. Any tools, templates, or resources created by PeopleFund or the business coach are property of PeopleFund solely. Though they may be used or shared for coaching or other purposes, they are not to be reproduced, copied, or redistributed without PeopleFund’s knowledge and without credit to the original author.
Purpose of Coaching
The participant has the responsibility to keep all advising sessions and content business-related and with regard to the scope of the topics of the program. The participant will not engage in personal relationships with the business coach or discuss topics of personal business during the advising session. The participant agrees to inform PeopleFund of any personal or financial relationship that evolves with a business advisor or PeopleFund representative in written form. If a conflict of interest arises, PeopleFund has the right to terminate the coaching relationship with the participant.
Providing Truthful Information
The participant understands that coaching may not be effective without the coach receiving truthful information from the participant. The participant has a responsibility to provide truthful and accurate information as well as the full scope of information regarding their business or business-related concerns to their business coach.
Appointments must be scheduled at a minimum of 3 business days in advance of the session. Walk-in participants will be scheduled for a future appointment at the time of arrival. Appointments may be scheduled over the phone, via email, through a specified scheduling application, or at the culmination of a business advising session. Participants have a responsibility to adhere to these scheduling guidelines. Additionally, PeopleFund agrees to respond to requests for appointments within 2 business days of the request. Clients’ agree to understanding that scheduling appointments is dependent on the availability of each business coach and that there may be a significant delay or waitlist.
The participant has a responsibility to communicate with PeopleFund or their business advisor if they are going to be late, need to cancel, or need to reschedule an appointment. Failure to communicate may result in a moratorium on services or a termination of services after 2 offenses.
The participant has the responsibility to show up for or attend advising appointments on time. The participant understands that appointments may not be honored past 15 minutes of the scheduled start or arrival time. If a participant is consistently late (more than 2 times), PeopleFund has the right to terminate services.
Cancellation and Rescheduling
The participant has the responsibility to notify PeopleFund if they need to cancel or reschedule an appointment. Notification of the need to cancel or reschedule must be done within 24 hours of the appointment start-time, if at all possible. The participant understands that rescheduling an appointment restarts the 3 business day scheduling window. Failure to notify PeopleFund of a cancellation resulting in a no show will result in the termination of services if more than 2 offenses. Exceptions will be made in extenuating circumstances and on a case-by-case basis.
The participant has the responsibility to notify the business advisor if they are sick or feeling ill. Participants should not show up in person for a business coaching appointment if they have a fever, are feeling sick, or have been diagnosed with an illness from a medical professional. Participants should refrain from showing up in person for a business advising appointment for 14 days after the sickness subsides to reduce the risk of possible transmission. Participants have the responsibility to notify PeopleFund and their business coach if they believe to have been sick at the time of an in person session. Participants are still able to receive services through telecommunication during times of sickness.
Advising sessions or appointments will take place at the PeopleFund office’s unless otherwise specified or requested or the appointment is covered through telecommunication. If a participant would like to cover the coaching appointment at their place of business or another location, a formal request needs to be made in writing and it is the responsibility of the business coach to evaluate and respond. Coaching appointments may not take place in public spaces due to confidentiality purposes. Advising appointments may not take place in a participant’s home or personal property. If a advising appointment is to take place at a participant’s place of business, the participant must ensure a private space is available and assumes all responsibility in the case that it is not. A business advisor has the right to cancel or reschedule an appointment upon arrival, if taking place at the client’s place of business, if the advisor believes the space will encroach on confidentiality.
The participant has the right to receive services virtually or through telecommunication. This may happen through a phone call or via a teleconference application like Zoom or Skype. All other policies outlined within this Agreement apply to telecommunication services as well except for the health policy. The participant has a responsibility to communicate the preference for the method of services when scheduling the appointment.
Upon the culmination of a advising session, there may be follow-up needed from the advisor including, but not limited to, providing a recap of the session, goals, objectives, and homework, sending information about resources discussed, connecting the participant to referrals, mentors, or subject matter experts, and reviewing business plans and financials. The participant understands that follow-up may take up to 7 business days to receive. Follow-up items and actions will be agreed upon between the participant and the business coach.
Advising sessions are based on progress made by achieving agreed upon objectives set during the advising session to be completed by the next advising session or specified period of time agreed upon by the participant and the business advisor. The participant agrees to make their best effort in completing objectives set or notify their business coach if needing assistance in doing so. Progress will be evaluated after each advising session. Failure to make considerable progress towards advising goals due to neglect on the participant’s part to work towards set objectives may result in termination of services.
Program Limits and Duration
advising sessions are to last one hour. There may be circumstances where it is necessary to extend the session beyond the one-hour timeframe. This must be discussed and agreed upon between the participant and the business advisor at the time of scheduling. Participants are initially limited to 6 hours of advising or 6 one-hour sessions. At the culmination of 6 hours, the participant’s progress will be evaluated by the business advisor. Coaching duration may extend beyond the 6 hours allotted if it is deemed that the participant is making considerable progress. If the extension is denied, the participant will be notified in writing of the denial and referred to other organizations for service.
Assistance, Guidance, Recommendations, and Education
PeopleFund business advising services are an initiative of the PeopleFund Technical Assistance Program. It is the responsibility of PeopleFund and representatives of PeopleFund to work with participants on specific business-related issues in order to strengthen knowledge and skills. It is the responsibility of the participant to accept and implement any recommendations. Any recommendations made by a PeopleFund representative or business advisor do not provide any guarantees for the success of the participant’s project. Recommendations are based on representative experience and industry knowledge and are for informational purposes only. Directives are not calls to action and participants have a responsibility to determine if the advice is appropriate for their project or business moving forward. The coaching program aims to provide guidance and information only, and as such, PeopleFund and business coaches will not negotiate on a participant’s behalf, write a business plan or create financials, act as an employee for a participant’s business or guarantee lending for a participant’s business. Additionally, all guidance provided by a referral to a licensed professional service provider, subject matter expert, or industry mentor are understood to be disassociated from the direct views of PeopleFund and PeopleFund employees including business advisors. It is also understood that guidance provided from a referral source may be for-fee.
Special Addendum: City of Austin Small Business Program
*This section applies to any business within the City of Austin’s Small Business Program’s service area. This includes Travis County, Williamson County, Hays County, Caldwell County, and Bastrop County. Policies and procedures in this section, if applicable, have precedence over PeopleFund policies. If a policy within this section conflicts with a policy in another section, the policy in this section takes precedence.
As a City of Austin Small Business Program (SBP) client, you have the right to expect:
Business technical assistance, consulting, and business plan reviews provided at no charge. Fees may apply for other training program, special services, materials, and publications.
Confidentiality of Information: The City of Austin is required to follow the Public Information Act. However, the city can withhold private information of third parties such as personal email addresses and financial information.
Unbiased Recommendations: SBP representatives will not knowingly recommend the purchase of goods or services from any individual or firm with which any SBP representative has a financial, familial, or personal interest.
Non-Disclosure of Trade Secrets: Sensitive trade secrets pertaining to unique facts of your business will not be used to benefit another client of SBP or any SBP representative. You understand that sensitive trade secret information is information which is not obvious, which is unknown, or which is unique and pertains to new innovations, secret manufacturing and processing procedures or formulas, or any new innovative process. You understand that it is your responsibility to inform the SBP of any such sensitive trade secrets both verbally and in writing.
Assistance, Guidance, Recommendations, and Education: The BizAid Program is a technical assistance and educational program. The SBP will work with you on your specific issues to help build your management skills and knowledge. It is your responsibility to accept and implement any recommendations. Any recommendations by an SBP representative do not provide any guarantees for your project. The SBP limits any client whose business is located outside of the Austin city limits or is a nonprofit organization to six hours of technical assistance.
SBP will not: Negotiate on your behalf, Write your business plan, Act as an employee for your business, Guarantee Lending for your business
All information, like tools or templates, developed on you and your business’ behalf by SBP is property of the SBP.
As a SBP client, you are responsible for:
Participating in Surveys: Because this program cares about the quality of services provided, and because it is primarily funded with public support, the SBP undertakes a number of initiatives to ascertain the quality and impact of services provided to you. Your candid feedback is critical to the long term success of this program. You can expect to receive a survey every six months for two years. Please respond to these surveys.
Accepting Responsibility and Waiving All Claims: In recognition that you are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of your business and that all decisions pertaining to implementing plans and operating your business are solely your responsibility, you hereby waive any claims of damages against the SBP, the City of Austin, the BizAid program, SBP representatives, outside professionals engaged by the SBP, and funder, based on any advice or information provided by the SBP.
Right of Refusal: The SBP retains the right to refuse service to any client for any reason.
Special Addendum: North Texas Entrepreneur Education and Training Center
*This section applies to any business within the North Texas Entrepreneur Education and Training Center service area. This includes Dallas, Fort Worth, the North Texas Corridor, and any client within Texas that PeopleFund refers to the Center. Policies and procedures in this section, if applicable, have precedence over PeopleFund policies. If a policy within this section conflicts with a policy in another section, the policy in this section takes precedence.\
Materials, services or products offered by North Texas Entrepreneur Education and Training Center or its affiliates are available as a resource to assist in the growth of the business. The information provided does not guarantee a successful business or any specific outcomes, however, Clients must perform their “due diligence” and are required to invest adequate participation in this effort. North Texas Entrepreneur Education and Training Center, nor its affiliates will be held liable for lack, loss, or perceived adverse achievement associated with the business venture.