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    Women Business Leaders: 6 Traits That Make a Successful Entrepreneur

    March 7th, 2013

    If you have ever wondered if you had what it takes to successfully grow a business, you should know that certain personal characteristics are needed.

    Entrepreneurs come from all walks of life – including women business leaders, self-made men, young idealists and retirees reentering the workforce. While there’s no one-size-fits-all description of entrepreneurs, successful business leaders do have certain characteristics in common.

    So what does it take to start and grow a thriving business? In a recent Washington Post article, University of Maryland entrepreneurship guru Rudolph P. Lamone outlined 6 character traits that may be the secret of entrepreneurial success:

    1. Passion: A successful entrepreneur has a strong belief in her ideas – Lamone calls it “fire in the belly.” This intensity makes the passionate entrepreneur willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.
    2. Persistence: Entrepreneurs don’t take “no” for an answer. This means they aren’t discouraged by naysayers and maintain a strong belief that their ideas will work.
    3. Ability to deal with pain: Entrepreneurs accept that building a business takes great sacrifice. They are undeterred by the incredible amount of hard work and assets launching an enterprise requires.
    4. Calculated risk-taking: In the typical Hollywood portrayal, entrepreneurs take wild gambles. The real-life portrait is more balanced: Entrepreneurs are not risk-averse, but they thoroughly assess the odds and take measured risks.
    5. Strong relationships: Because launching a business requires a great deal of time and personal sacrifice, a strong support system is key. An entrepreneur needs the commitment and backing of her spouse or partner so she can devote the time and resources it takes to succeed.
    6. Team Leadership: While entrepreneurs are often thought of as lone dreamers taking on the business world in solitary fashion, success usually takes teamwork. Most successful entrepreneurs don’t go it alone – they build and lead strong teams, harnessing group synergies to achieve goals.

    Lamone, who founded the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurs, describes successful entrepreneurs as passionate, persistent and tough-minded individuals who know how to assess risk, sustain relationships and lead teams. Women business leaders who display these traits may be well on their way to success.


    Social Media Teaches Women Business Leaders to Promote Their Business the Right Way

    March 3rd, 2013

    I recommend using social media as a central component for your company’s marketing efforts. The primary reason is that it “teaches”  women business leaders to do the things they should have been doing all along to acquire new customers.

    For social media to be effective you must:

    • Identify your niche and your best target audience.
    • Listen. Better understand your clients/customer’s marketing challenges, obstacles and frustrations.
    • Be transparent. The success of your audience must be more important than your own. But it goes without saying if you can help your audience with their success you will be successful.
    • Build relationships. People always want to work with people they know, like and trust. Social media provides these opportunities. It is “networking on steroids.”
    • Always lead with benefits rather than your capabilities. It’s all about your audience. The moment you try to “sell” your services will be the moment you lose your audience.
    • Become positioned as a marketing leader rather than a vendor or partner. Clients want leadership not partnership.
    • Better communicate and articulate what you know. Agencies are often poor communicators. Don’t believe me? Ask any of them what they do. They can’t succinctly define what they do apart from a prolonged discussion.

    Social media becomes the tool to put these things into practice. It helps to create a more clearly defined focus and differentiating business strategy that will give you a competitive advantage, a higher-profile reputation, and an improved ability to attract and win the clients you really want.


    20 Reasons Why Social Media Won’t Replace Email for Women Business Leaders

    February 22nd, 2013

    Email marketing is still an important tool for women business leaders.

    As a Woman Business leader, I understand how a robust social media program can be an important component of my company’s marketing mix.  But it’s only part on the mix.

    Email is the glue that bonds social media channels together.

    The rise in popularity of social media only enhances email. The two work powerfully together. Two excellent articles, Chris Crums, writer for WebPro News, “10 Reasons Social Media isn’t Replacing Email“ and VerticalResponse CEO Janine Popick, “10 More Reasons Why Social Media Wont Replace Email. Chris always has great marketing insights. Janine also provides some insightful resources and practices what she preaches for both email marketing and social media. I recommend them both.

    Here are their 20 reasons why social media wont replace email:

    1. People still send hand-written letters.
    2. Nearly all sites on the web that require registration require an email address.
    3. Email notifies you of updates from all social networks.
    4. We haven’t seen any evidence yet that Google Wave really will catch on on a large scale.
    5. Email is universal, and social networks are not.
    6. There are plenty who have no interest in joining social networks.
    7. Email is still improving.
    8. Even social networks themselves recognize the importance of email.
    9. More social media use means more email use.
    10. As far as marketing is concerned, email is doing pretty well.
    11. Twitter and Facebook are fantastic products and companies; but that’s what they are, companies.
    12. Your email recipients are still going to use business email for business purposes.
    13. You can’t easily segment your friends and followers to do targeted marketing (through social media)
    14. You can’t tell who clicked on a link with some social media outlets.
    15. That said, you can’t tell who didn’t click on the link so you can follow up with them with a different message.
    16. You cannot personalize your Facebook updates.
    17. You cannot size your graphics or use more than one in Facebook.
    18. You can’t track how many clicks you got on your links in Facebook.
    19. You are limited to 140 characters in Twitter.
    20. You almost have to have separate social media accounts for your business and your personal life.

    15 Trend Tracking Tips for Women Business Leaders

    February 19th, 2013

    Women business leaders need resources to hone their trend watching skills that will help them keep up with where the market is headed and know where to take your company into the future.

    trendwatching.com, is one of the world’s leading consumer trends firm relying on a global network of hundreds of spotters. They are a great resource for trends and have honed a list of 15 Trend Watching Tips to further develop  your trend watching skills:

    1. Know why you’re tracking trends. Consumer needs remain the same, yet can be unlocked in new ways; these ‘unlockers’ can be anything from changes in societal norms and values, to a breakthrough in technology, to a rise in prosperity.
    2. Don’t get your trends mixed up. Switched-on women business leaders should track at least three trend levels: Macro Trends, Consumer Trends, and Industry Trends.
    3. Know a fad when you see (or smell) one. Fads won’t dramatically change the consumer arena. At most, they’re yet another manifestation of the fact that consumers want to be unique or crave convenience and surprise. The latter are actually trends. The products are fads.
    4. Don’t apply all trends to all people. Remember, in life and in trends: beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
    5. Be (very) curious. Ask yourself why’ whenever you notice something new, instead of immediately looking for shortcomings.
    6. Have a point of view. The more trends you spot and track, and the more skilled you’ll be at putting these trends into context, the more guidance you’ll have. When you have a broad point of view, even tiny observations start to make sense.
    7. Benefit from an unprecedented abundance of resources. Celebrate the incredible wealth of (real-time) trend resources at your fingertips via the Web, music, magazines and other media.
    8. Name your trends. It’s crucial to describe trends as imaginatively as possible so that you can arouse curiosity about the trend, create a common language for the trend and track activity around the trend.
    9. Build your trend framework. Create a “trend framework” by developing a long list of all the trends you’ve spotted over the years. Divide the list by main and sub trends, and track how these trends interact with each other.
    10. Start a trend group (even if it’s just you). Enlist your colleagues, friends, family, customers and suppliers to spot consumer trends.
    11. Secure senior backing or be doomed. Think of ways you can get final decision makers behind you. You can spot and apply trends like there’s no tomorrow, but in the end it won’t matter without their support.
    12. Don’t worry about timing or life cycles or regional suitability or . . . Avoid worrying about all the possible “what ifs” and instead look for opportunities—not threats.
    13. Apply, apply, apply. Ask yourself if the trend you’ve spotted has the potential to: Influence the company’s vision, become a new business concept, add “something” new for a certain customer segment or speak the language of those who are already “living” the trend.
    14. Have some fun! Please, don’t be too earnest about the quest at hand: trend watching is about coming up with exciting new products and services for your customers, nothing more and nothing less.
    15. Let others do some of the work for you. You don’t have time to do it all yourself so let trend professionals do part of the work for you.

    As you utilize these tips to better understand an evaluate consumer trends, there is one more thing you shouldn’t underestimate: your woman’s intuition.

    Women business leaders continually have to make smart choices for both their professional and personal lives. With a level head and sharp focus, we often naturally discern the best option out of group of many. So don’t forget to trust your instincts as you track trends and choose the next direction for your business.

    Click here to read TrendWatch.com’s complete article, 15 TREND TIPS


    3 Basic Rules That Will Help Women Business Leaders Plan And Manage Their Day

    February 15th, 2013

    Women business leaders can maximize their time by following some basic rules to help frame and manage their day.

    If your day is anything like mine, you are constantly trying to catch up. You know what I mean, that frenzied feeling at the end of the day that has a “to be continued scenario” Day after day….

    Here are some tips that may help you reclaim your time – or at least add a semblance of order to your day. It is a matter of taking control before you are swooped up in a vortex of multi- tasking.

    Rule #1

    Set a plan for the day. Spend five minutes before turning on your computer in the morning to write down what you want to accomplish that day. Be realistic. Schedule time in your calendar to get each thing done, putting the harder tasks at the beginning of the day.

    Rule #2

    Refocus.

    Every hour take a minute to stop what you’re doing, look at your list, and reflect on your last hour. Was it productive? What can you do to make the next hour productive?

    Rule #3

    Review.

    At the end of the day after you shut off your computer, review your day and ask yourself what you were able to accomplish. What will you do differently tomorrow?

    By following these rules you are giving yourself what you give your clients or employees; focus, evaluation and review. You are treating yourself to your personal talents which helped you become a woman business leader in the first place.

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    9 Tips to Get Speaking Opportunities for Women Business Leaders

    February 12th, 2013

    Women Business Leaders Should Look For Speaking Opportunities

    Having the opportunity to speak in front of a highly targeted, interested group of prospects is a very effective way to grow your personal brand and business. Even if you are speaking for free, the opportunity oftentimes outweighs a fee when it comes to the potential for new business and establishing yourself as a thought leader.

    Here are 9 personal tips to generate speaking opportunities:

    1. Start with blog

    Your  blog can become a great tool to open doors to speak. It provides a the platform to hone your subject matter, draw interest and appeal from your best agency prospects.

    People want to work with people that they know, trust and like. Your blog can become the face of your business, the gateway for  new business opportunities. It can also be a springboard for speaking opportunities.

    2. Create a Speaking Page

    Roxanne Joffe speaks on topics related to leadership, business development, and social media. She has been speaking publicly for more than 10 years and has keynoted more than 50 events.

    A few suggestions on what to include on your blog’s Speakers Page

    • Clearly define your expertise and your niche
    • Provide a description of topics and presentations you can speak on
    • Create your “speakers bio”
    • Speaking Engagement.  List events where you will be speaking, no matter how small (I would also suggest adding your speaking engagements to your blog’s side bar) Speaking Engagements
    • Provide testimonials.  I’ve discovered that LinkedIn is an excellent way to generate testimonials
    • Be sure and provide your contact information
    • Educate and you won’t have to sell

    3. Shoot Video

    Video is easily shot, embedded and/or linked through your blog.  It’s not that difficult create, and make a big difference in generating new speaking engagements.

    4. Record Audio

    You can also record video through a number of different programs to upload or link to your blog. Someone recently introduced me to a program that easily records interviews called wetoku. You can also use a service as simple as FreeConferenceCall.com.

    5. About Page

    I would suggest creating an About Page for your blog that would provide a fuller profile of your experience beyond your speakers bio.

    In addition to these tips …

    6. Make the Most of Your Presentation Time

    Success breeds success

    It goes without saying, you need to make a good presentation. Here are a few presentation tips to think about:

    • Focus on your audience. Don’t sell. Help them, entertain them, inform them and inspire them.
    • Prepare and rehearse your presentation.
    • Make eye contact and be engaging.
    • Use listening notes. Facilitate questions.
    • Make your session interactive with your audience.
    • Get a look at the presentation room as soon after you arrive as possible. It always helps to be aware of your surroundings and adjust your presentation accordingly.
    • Set-up your equipment as early as possible before your presentation time.
    • Have a back-up plan if you have technical issues. I always upload a copy of my presentation to an online source, have downloaded it also to a thumb-drive, make sure I have all my adapters, pluggins, etc.
    • If at all possible spend time in other conference sessions. Be part of the conference community.
    • Provide enlightening personal stories and illustrations.
    • If you use PowerPoint or Keynote, don’t read the slides! Instead use them illustrate your points. Nice photos/graphics.
    • Bring plenty of business cards.
    • Provide your contact info at the end of any slide or video presentations.

    7. Use Social Tools

    In addition to your blog, use social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to help promote the event at which you are speaking. This will be a huge help to the event organizers, will make them even more appreciative for your participation and will be a benefit to you by the positive referrals.

    Often event organizers will also provide you with a discount for your readers.

    Also use social media, prior to the event, to meet and engage with those who will be attending.

    8. Don’t Forget to Follow-up

    Taking the time to follow-up with attendees is an important part of process of gaining additional speaking and new business opportunities. Providing a personal email to those you collected business cards from and providing a link to your presentation in SlideShare would be helpful tactic to use as a follow-up.

    A personal handwritten note would also be a nice follow-up.

    9. Enroll in a Speakers Bureau

    Many Women Business Leaders have found that  enrolling in a speakers bureau has generated a good number of additional speaking opportunities in addition to their blog, writings, interviews and referrals.

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    Grow Your Blog Traffic: 6 Tips for Women Business Leaders

    January 31st, 2013

    Women Business Leaders who blog can learn how to drive traffic to their blogs from the best and brightest minds. Social Media Expert Chris Brogan shares some of his keen insights.

    Blogs are a great way for women business leaders to establish expertise in an industry and position themselves as thought leaders.  Writing a blog is only the beginning. How do you connect with people so they actually read what you are writing?

    Here are six great ideas from social media expert Chris Brogan from his article, How to Grow Traffic to Your Blog:

    1. Great Titles Help. The first few seconds of someone’s attention are the hardest to pass. If you have a lame blog post title, no one’s going to want to read the post. For whatever reason, we react to “how to,” we react to “7 great,” we react to all kinds of things.
    2. Graphics Don’t Hurt. Graphics to catch your eye. It’s an easy way to get one’s attention. Screen captures help. Video helps. There are tons of ways to get people into a receptive space  with your material, and graphics are just the easiest one.
    3. Brevity Is the Game. Keep your posts brief . People don’t have all day to read. Keeping  your posts between  250-500 words will align with most people’s attention spans.
    4. Share Your BlogIf you don’t have easy-to-share buttons on your blog, you’re missing the easiest way for people to see your stuff on Facebook, on LinkedIn, on Twitter, and all the other sites where it would matter. Sharing out is a great way to make some more traffic happen.
    5. Guest Posts. Find someone who has a very similar kind of blog topic to yours (not sure where to start? Check out Alltop), and offer a guest blog post.
    6. Consistency Blog daily. Why? Because the more you blog, the more people subscribe. Lots of people justify once a week, or once every two weeks. That’s fine. But if you want to grow traffic to your blog, that’s a very long slow crawl towards that growth. That said, no matter which frequency you’ve chosen, stick to it. The moment you drop off the map, people who haven’t yet subscribed to you lose sight and move on.

    Summary: Women Business Leaders have a great opportunity to build traffic to their blogs by following Chris’s basic formula: write about what they need, make sure they see that you wrote about it, make it easy to carry on the relationship, make it easy for them to promote you to others.

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    3 Steps Women Business Leaders can Take to Make Your Vision Work for You

    January 28th, 2013

    Learn how women business leaders find success when they define their vision and connect with it every day.

    If you are like me you have probably written your vision and mission statements with conviction and passion. Now I ask you, what happens to those statements? When was the last time you read yours and really took it to heart?

    Losing track of your vision is like taking a detour that will get you lost in the woods. To achieve your dream, you must hold it in your head and heart at all times.

    Most entrepreneurs are visionaries, so a written statement may not always resonate with them. When I ask my new clients about their mission and vision statements, many of them either don’t know what their vision is, or can’t articulate it because they haven’t looked at it in “ages.”  This is because the written statement is almost meaningless to them.

    Visionaries see things that are invisible to most people; ideas far beyond the “norm” that sing with creativity. How could you effectively ever put something like that into words? It’s great to have written statements in your formal business plan for others to see, but you need a vision statement that resonates with YOU!

    Marla Tabaka is a life and business coach, in a recent article for Inc. she makes some very compelling points about how to take your vision to the next level and make it work for you:

    1. Define the REAL vision – We’re all in business to make money. But often entrepreneurs have a higher purpose in mind when they launch their business: they want to help others, have a community or global impact or help the environment for example. Certainly this isn’t true for everyone, but don’t negate the importance of your higher purpose if you have one.
    2. Connect with the picture – A picture speaks a thousand words. Images bring our imaginations to life, therefore our ideas to fruition. Think of a creative way to put your vision and mission into images and keep it in front of you as often as possible. Select visuals that have the power to raise your energy and optimism to the highest levels. Include meaningful symbols of the rewards you seek; money, travel, fame, respect, or whatever is important to you.
    3. Live your vision as reality. Take two or three minutes a day to study and reconnect with your vision. Allow your body and mind to feel and live your success! You will eventually act and think differently and people will connect with you at a higher level. Opportunities will reveal themselves more often and doubts (if you have them) will dissipate.

    Note that successful people are people magnets. That is because no one and nothing can squelch their vision and dreams. They believe with all their heart and soul. Doing so is the first step to achieving success in your life and business!

    Summary

    If you don’t have a vision or mission statement for your company, you absolutely need one. Make passion and conviction the driving force of your vision. Make it something visual that you can look at and connect with every day. Live in your vision as though it were reality. Successful people are magnets. Live your dream and opportunities will open up to you.

    I would encourage you to read Marla’s entire article, 3 Steps to Make Your Vision Work for You

    Share your stories with us. What keeps you connected to your vision?

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    Women Business Leaders: IBM study predicts the end of advertising as we know it

    January 24th, 2013

    The next 5 years will hold more change for the advertising industry than the previous 50 did. How will women business owners take advantage of these changes?

    The information for this post is from an IBM global surveys of more than 2,400 consumers and 80 advertising experts … the report is titled, “The end of advertising as we know it.”

    Imagine an advertising world where ... spending on interactive, one-to-one advertising formats surpasses traditional, one-to-many advertising vehicles, and a significant share of ad space is sold through auctions and exchanges.

    Advertisers know who viewed and acted on an ad, and pay based on real impact rather than estimated “impressions.” Consumers self-select which ads they watch and share preferred ads with peers. User-generated advertising is as prevalent (and appealing) as agency-created spots.

    Based on IBM global surveys there are four change drivers shifting control within the ad industry:

    1. Attention – Consumers are increasingly in control of how they view, interact with and filter advertising in a multichannel world.
    2. Creativity – Thanks to technology, the rising popularity of user-generated and peer-delivered content, and new ad revenue-sharing models (e.g., YouTube, Crackle, Current TV), amateurs and semi- professionals are now creating lower-cost advertising content.
    3. Measurement – Advertisers are demanding more individual-specific and involvement- based measurements, putting pressure on the traditional mass-market model.
    4. Advertising inventories – Will be bought and sold through efficient exchanges, bypassing traditional intermediaries.

    There is no question that the future of advertising will look radically different from its past. The push for control of attention, creativity, measurements and inventory will reshape the advertising value chain and shift the balance of power.

    Change has been a part of every industry but the changes we are seeing now are coming more rapidly than ever before. These changes in communications technology also greatly impacts how women business leaders should consider promoting their businesses.

    Stay informed and prosper in this changing environment.

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    Steve Jobs: 10 Presentation Tactics for Women Business Leaders

    January 21st, 2013

    Women business Leaders:  Steve Jobs has something to teach you about presentations. Every presentation should do three things: inform, educate and entertain.

    BusinessWeek.com columnist Carmine Gallo reveals the techniques that have turned Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, into one of the world’s corporate presenters. Here are his 10 Ways to Sell Your Ideas the Steve Jobs Way:

    1. Begin by storyboarding your presentation. Plan your presentation with pen and paper. Steve Jobs will initially spend his preparation time brainstorming, sketching and whiteboarding before he every opens PowerPoint. All of the elements of the story that he wants to tell are thought through, elements are planned and collected before the slides are created.
    2. Create a single sentence description for every service/idea.Concise enough to fit in a 140-character Twitter post. An example, for the introduction of the MacBook Air in January, 2008, Jobs said that is it simply, “The world’s thinnest notebook.”
    3. Create a villain that allows the audience to rally around the hero—you and your product/service. A “villain” doesn’t necessarily have to be a direct competitor. It can be a problem in need of a solution.
    4. Focus on benefits. Your audience only care about how your service will improve their lives. Make the connection for your prospective clients. Don’t make them make that mental leap leaving them to figure it out for themselves.
    5. Stick to the rule of three for presentations. Almost every Jobs presentation is divided into three parts. You might have twenty points to make about your service, but your audience is only capable of retaining three or four points in short term memory. Give them too many points and they’ll forget everything you’ve said.
    6. Sell dreams, not your services. Steve Jobs doesn’tsell computers. He sells the promise of a better world. When Jobs introduced the iPod in 2001, he said, “In our own small way we’re going to make the world a better place.” Where most people see the iPod as a music player, Jobs sees it as tool to enrich people’s lives.
    7. Create visual slides. There are no bullet points in Steve Jobs presentations. Instead he relies on photographs and images. When Steve Jobs unveiled the Macbook Air, Apple’s ultra-thin notebook computer, he showed a slide of the computer fitting inside a manila inter-office envelope. Keep the presentation that simple.
    8. Make numbers meaningful. Jobs always puts large numbers into a context that’s relevant to his audience. The bigger the number, the more important it is to find analogies or comparisons that make the data relevant to your audience.
    9. Use plain English. Jobs’s language is remarkably simple. He rarely, if ever, will use the jargon that clouds most presentations—terms like “best of breed” or “synergy.” His language is simple, clear and direct.
    10. Practice, practice, practice. Steve Jobs spends hours rehearsing every facet of his presentation. Every slide is written like a piece of poetry, every presentation staged like a theatrical experience. Yes, Steve Jobs makes a presentation look effortless but that polish comes after hours and hours of grueling practice.

    Click on the link for a downloadable copy of Carmine Gallo’s, “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs”

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