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Posts tagged women in business
3 Things I Learned From Hurricane Florence

...and 3 things I’m doing with those lessons


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Hurricane season in NC can be brutal. Although I’ve lived here since a teen, I don’t ever think I will be “calm” during a hurricane. The unpredictability is just too much for me to deal with. Dealing with Hurricane Florence this week drove that home for me. We watched it twist and turn and go from a full fledged beast of a hurricane to a tropical storm that still wreaked havoc on the East Coast of the US. Looked a bit like my business….


I was fortunate during this storm. My area managed to escape the turmoil. But I still had to get prepared, and I still never knew what to expect. I started to get OVER prepared. I figured better safe than sorry. It’s so much easier to be prepared for the worst than to wait til the storm comes to get things together. Unfortunately we don’t do this in other areas of our lives - especially our businesses. Those of us who are small business owners make the mistake of operating just like a small business. Instead, we need to be operating like a Corporation, no matter what size business we own. Truth is, most of us don’t have an emergency kit for our businesses. After thinking about the need for a better contingency plan, I wrote this mini guide for developing an Emergency Business Kit’.

Let me give you a couple of disastrous scenarios that might have a negative impact on your business:

  • A natural disaster that destroys your physical business or inventory supply

  • Sudden illness (You, a family member, or a team member)

  • Geographic economic downturn

Those are just three examples of things that may blindside you and have huge negative impacts on the livelihood of your business. None of those scenarios are things that we necessarily put into our working business plans. But unfortunately they are realistic scenarios that require a bit of planning,  a clear head, and the ability to be flexible.


So what are the lessons I learned from Hurricane Florence?

  1. Include contingencies in your business plan.

It’s much better to develop a strategic plan during the quiet moments in your business than it is to do so during chaos. Most people think disaster preparedness only applies to businesses like beachfront restaurants or hotels, but these aren’t the only businesses that can be affected by natural disasters.

   2.   Have Backup staff

Even if you don’t traditionally have a large staff, it’s important to have people that can be “on call: for you during the tough times. If you can’t afford to hire a large staff, outsourcing a freelance professional is a good short term solution. You can also partner with other businesses similar to yours that can step in and help with the overload. Although they may be a competitor, those people are quite possibly the most qualified to help you run your business effectively. If these aren’t viable options for you, then enlist the help of friends or family. Keep them up to speed with the flow of your business throughout the year. This helps reduce the learning curve when training people to work with you.

  3.  You are only as good as your last project

You’ve gotta stay in the game at all times. You never know when something will pop up that will result in pausing your operation temporarily. In the event that your business has to go on hiatus, it’s good to have irons already in the fire that can carry you through that time period. The positive feedback and the ability to re-purpose any content you previously put out will help you make an easier transition when you are ready. If you go too long without any activity, you run the risk of having to re-introduce yourself to your industry and start from scratch when establishing a trust factor with your clientele.

So what are some things that I've decided to add to my 'Business Emergency Kit’? 3 simple practices:

1- Better Health and Wellness Plan

Without a healthy body and mind, your business will suffer. While some health issues may not be preventable, there are other things that we can do to ensure that we are maximizing our time when we are healthy. Taking an active role in improving my health and wellness will definitely be an integral part of my business plan from now on.

2- Strict Time Management

“Fail to Plan and You Plan to Fail”. I’m the same person who crammed for my LSAT the night before I took it. Why? Because I knew that I could do that and still ace the exam as I always did with every other exam I had ever taken. But just because it works doesn’t mean it’s a great strategy to employ. In the event that things don’t go EXACTLY as planned, you are stuck behind the eight ball. My new strategy is to have TWO backup plans - One for my time management routine, and one for my actual workflow. Workflows don’t do us any good without implementing your time management sequence.

3- Support Staff

My business has always been run as a Solopreneur operation. Sure, I’ve outsourced things from time to time but I’ve never employed someone on a regular basis. That means that whenever I’m in need of outsourcing a project, I have that long learning curve that we talked about. I have to take the time to explain my business and how I want specific things to go. It sucks up my time, and also presents the opportunity to have things lost in translation.

But what do you do if you can’t afford to have someone on staff year round? There are definitely a couple of alternatives.

  • Proper documentation

In the event that someone needs to come in and work in my business right away, I have systems and documents in place to explain the business and how things flow. With each daily activity, I document the process and check off the items that I complete. I even save my to-do lists and organize them by date. It can be time consuming in the beginning, but once you get the ball rolling, it is actually a time saver.

  • Family and Friends

My Mom is my business “Battle Buddy”. She and I get together over dinner and discuss business goals and progress once a week. We talk about new developments, new goals, and new projects. I keep her in the loop with my business in case I need her help IN the business. In the event that something happens to me, she can step in and take charge. Because she has signed a confidentiality agreement and has been briefed on company projects, she is equipped to draft documents on my behalf, help with lead generation, and check for new industry updates. All of this helps to address (and minimize) that dreaded learning curve that pops up when someone new steps in.

  • Management Software - There are tons of mobile apps and desktop software programs that can keep you organized and help prioritize tasks. Find apps that help you sync your calendar and business tasks. Programs like Slack, Hootsuite, and Evernote help you communicate effectively and manage your content across a variety of platforms. Millennial marketing guru Chelsea Krost swears by Fin, an on-demand productivity tool that allows you to take your scheduling and organization to the next level. Their features are so in depth that they are akin to having your own virtual assistant. Check out more on Fin on Chelsea's website, and the special offer they are giving to her readers.

 



Do you have an ‘Emergency Kit’ for your business? What are some of the things that might affect your business in an emergency situation?

Click the button below to get our FREE Business Emergency Kit when you subscribe to our mailing list!

 

 

4 Tips for Women's Business Success
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There are over 11M Women Owned businesses in the US. They make up 40% of new business owners and generate over $1.7 Trillion in revenue. So how can we make sure that these businesses are profitable and sustainable?

  • Collaborate

Collaboration (even with those you may feel are competitors) can open the door to more clients, more sales, and an increased presence in the business sector. Seek out entrepreneurs who match your focus and want to grow the same way.

  • Educate Yourself

Although women are building businesses at astronomical rates, we are often overlooked or denied when it comes to funding. Depending on your industry, startup funds and money for payroll may be an essential necessity for your business success. Find out what investors and banks look for when allocating funding, and find out what skills you may need to brush up on to increase your chances of success. Organizations like your local SBA will often offer FREE education on a variety of business topics.

  • Re-evaluate your business structure

Do you REALLY need that many staff members? Does that new software system serve your best interests? Comb through all of the elements of your business to see what elements are truly necessary and what elements are optional. You may find areas where you can cut back on expenses, or even raise your prices on certain products and services.

  • Don't give up!

No one ever said business would be easy. Be resilient in your quest to become a success. The pros will outweigh the cons once you've achieved your goals.

On October 24th The Women's Business Center of Charlotte is hosting its 2nd Annual Heart of a Women Conference. This conference will cover all of the areas of your business AND your personal life that will help you propel towards success. The breakout sessions are full of amazing educational gems and success stories from women just like you.

Session topics include:

  • Doing Business With The Government

  • Conquering Marketing & Branding

  • Nonprofit Management

  • Healthy Living Tips

  • Staffing Tips

  • Strategic Planning

This year's keynote speaker is Ms. Jacqie McWilliams, Commissioner of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), Ms. McWilliams will share her success secrets that landed her a position as the first female African-American Commissioner of the CIAA.

 

Early Bird Registration ends soon, so purchase your tickets today!

 

Will You Accept This Rose?....And Will It Make You Happy?
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Everyone won’t always love you, and that’s okay.  

Sometimes you won’t get the final rose, and that’s okay. Not everyone is meant to be your customer. When I first started my business, I was so afraid to be completely open with my branding. Ironic, considering the fact that I was preaching that very thing to my clients. Trying to be everybody's "friend" was not helping me build a sustainable business. I had to throw away that please the whole internet mentality and just be myself - flaws and all. Did I lose a few people along the way? Absolutely. But the ones who were a good fit stayed, and we grew together. I also found other awesome people to work with who challenged me, helped me grow, and understood my vision. In order to get the right clients who fit well into my business, I had to get the right mindset for my brand.

 

The problem that many of us face is that things in the business world can change so fast, that we get lost in the shuffle. The information overload saga is absolutely ridiculous. In this day and age EVERYONE is an expert (*insert MASSIVE eye roll here*), so the amount of information, both positive and negative is insane. As an entrepreneur, you have to know what information to digest and what information to leave right where you found it. You have to be able to find your own brand voice that fits in with YOUR Vision. Just because a fellow business owner offers the same products or services as your business offers doesn’t mean that you have to build your brand the same way. The “Final Rose” won’t always look like you expect. And that’s okay too.

 

If I knew what I know now, I would have had way less headaches along this journey. But I didn’t know. There was no way I could know everything so early on in my business. I want to share with you all what I’ve learned along the way, and the resources you can use to make SMART business decisions.

 

Join me for the Your Vision, Your Way Webinar. It’s a FREE webinar built for busy entrepreneurs who are serious about building amazing brands. Register today and save your spot for this awesome clarity training.

 

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How Kylie Jenner Just Angered The Masses
Kylie Cosmetics. Photo Courtesy of Amazon.com

Kylie Cosmetics. Photo Courtesy of Amazon.com

Another Kardashian-Jenner member has angered the masses yet again. And not with booty shots and sex tapes. This time it's the emergence of lip kits and eyeshadows. And it's taking over the way we all look at the massive amount of student loan debt that we've incurred.

 

The ‘American Dream’ is not just a pithy saying to generalize the hopes and dreams of entrepreneurs. Many of us are taught that the path to financial greatness and a spot on the Forbes list is rigid and cookie cutter. We're also taught that it almost always requires a college degree. But in the digital age, the power of creativity coupled with social media allows us to create our own lane from anywhere we please. Just ask Kylie Jenner. The 20 year old saw a crack in the door opened by her well off family and busted the entire thing down. All by appealing to the vanity and inquisitive nature of women who want to look like today's social media and television rock stars.

 

As a member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan, Kylie is the youngest of the bunch. Much like her older sisters, Kylie always had an affinity for beauty and glamour. But instead of doing like most young, rich, and some might even say “entitled” kids and simply relaxing and enjoying the fruits of her family's labor, Jenner decided that she wanted to take charge and create something of her own. So she went with what she knew best - makeup. Having used makeup to increase her confidence level, Jenner knew that she could leverage the popularity of her well known family to drive traffic to her business. The problem is that she is being branded as “self-made”, according to her recent Forbes magazine cover.

 

Kylie Cosmetics launched two years ago with a $29 “lip kit” that consisted of a matching set of lipstick and lip liner. Since it's launch, Kylie Cosmetics has sold more than $630 million worth of makeup, including an estimated $330 million in 2017. The company now has additional products like eye-shadow and concealer. Forbes recently valued her company at nearly $800 million.An even more shocking fact about Kylie Cosmetics - 20 year old Jenner owns 100% of it. This is not necessarily the norm among reality stars with their own product lines. But when you come from reality star royalty, you do things a little differently. Jenner didn’t need a team of investors to own 65% of her company while she sat by praying for a large percentage of the fortune. Mom Kris made sure that her baby girl was the sole owner, and could cash in her own dividends at the end of the day.

 

But this is where the Forbes article feature gets a little sticky for some. The title of “self made” being appropriated to Jenner has angered quite a few people. Now, by Forbes’ definition their annual list of women who are “self made” billionaires usually pertains to women who have earned their fortune, as opposed to women who married into money or inherited money. Although Kylie Jenner didn’t marry into money, nor inherit her fortune, she was born into money. And for this, the internet is a little ticked off at Forbes for giving her that title.

Although most millennials today born into a family where EVERYONE is cashing in on their 15 minutes of fame aren’t necessarily interested in doing actual “work”, Jenner decided to jump to the front of the line on the money train. Sure, they consider getting paid for their Instagram posts or showing up at Tao in Vegas to be “work”. But Jenner decided to actually go hands on with creating and running a company with tons of moving parts. Obviously her road to entrepreneurship was a little easier than most, but it’s what she did when she got to the table. But the problem with branding Kylie Jenner as “self-made” is that it is a slap in the face for everyone who has bootstrapped their way to success, researched their product offerings for years, and struggled just to get a meeting with the top executives in their industry. It also leads people to think that there aren’t any other brands who are out there killing it just as much as Kylie. Black-owned Cosmetics line Pat McGrath is set to surpass Jenner’s company after inking $60M deal with Eurazeo Brands, a NY-based investment company. And unlike Jenner, Pat McGrath has spent years in the industry working with celebrity clientele and major brands. The difference? Business owners like McGrath don’t have the power of a millennial driven social media disruption, cross-promotion on her siblings’ multi-million follower accounts, and connections with all of the top business gurus in Hollywood. People like Pat McGrath take years just to get a meeting to seek out a permanent seat at the table.

 

Big sister Kim Kardashian quickly came to Jenner’s defense, insisting that she and the rest of her siblings are all self-made. She insists that the only thing that her parents have ever given them is “advice”. While that may be true (or not), that “advice” (and string of unbelievably stellar business connections) is akin to the 4 years of college and 10+ years of work that many of us put into building a business. For this, Jenner’s success is relative, and should be measured on a different scale than others. I applaud the women in this family for taking charge of their own finances, but Kim’s snippy comeback defending her little sister is evidence that their address on 'What Most People Actually Deal With Rd'. is nonexistent. Sort of ironic considering that the entire Kardashian-Jenner clan has built their empire with “Regular People” consistently purchasing from them. Wonder if those customers still feel connected and valued by the brand they are patronizing.

 

At 20 years old, Kylie Jenner is doing what has taken many college grads decades to achieve. This is a gift and a curse to the American public. The gift is that it shows that not all rich kids are just sitting around waiting for their trust funds to triple. The curse is that more millennials look at people like Kylie and think that the formula can be easily duplicated. Those of us who are entrepreneurs that started out without a safety net or a trust fund know how long it takes to get your products out there to the masses. We know how long it takes to prove that we even deserve a seat at the table to prove our worth. We know how difficult it is to have to balance student loans with investing in new software and managing payroll. But it’s hard to convey that message to a millennial who is only looking at the finished product. They don’t see all of the moving parts that are required to create a business.

 

Sometimes growth comes overnight. But for most, it takes years of trial and error before we can consider it smooth sailing. The beauty in taking the long way around the block is that we get to learn so much more along the way. And what’s in our heads and hearts can never be taken away from us. Not even by a Jenner.

 

What do you think of Kylie Jenner’s rise to entrepreneurial fame? Do you think she deserves the accolades she’s received across the web?