Billingslea Media
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4 Tips for Women's Business Success
women discussing business

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!

 

3 Ways I've Rocked Out The Beginning of The Year
Perfecting Your Brand Everyone wants to start their year out with a bang. But much like fitness goals for the new year, many people fall short in keeping up with their personal and business related goals. I started back in October prepping myself for what I would change in 2015 to take my business to the next level. I started out with generalized goals, and then wrote down specifics of where I would set my sights for the expansion of Billingslea Media. I decided to break down my goals into small tasks, as to not get too overwhelmed. But what's kept me on track are these 3 ideals that guide the overall flow of my work days.

Mindset Without a positive mindset, your path to success will be a lot more bumpy that expected. The #1 thing I've changed is my confidence level. Taking a look back at my business and how its evolved over time, I realized that it was simply am act of Faith. My confidence and resiliency allowed me to remain faithful that things would constantly improve. I set my sights high, and even daydreamed a little, and the energy has motivated me more than ever before.

Sponge-like Reflexes Okay, so I may have made up that term, but by Golly it has made me a better businesswoman. I make it a point to absorb everything I encounter...The good, bad, and the ugly. I absorb it like a sponge, and hold on to it for dear life. I'm amazed at how much I've learned what NOT to do. Instead of filtering out bad business practices or negative energy, I go back to it and remain mindful of those practices. It allows me to remember how to better serve my existing and potential clients.

The Reading Rainbow I cannot express how important it is to read! I have always loved reading, but I never realized just how far it would take me in life. The nerdy girl inside of me gets excited at the thought of new and exciting material, and now the PR Maven inside of me gets excited upon the sight of new layouts and calls to action. Very often I find myself getting inspired by the things I read in the strangest places. Ideas are everywhere, and your inspiration can be revived upon reading your next magazine article or blog post. Sometimes I find that my inspiration is totally unrelated to the topic in which I've read. Other times I see something that I could've done better. But most importantly, I am motivated by the stories shared by successful business owners, coaches, and start up companies. The amount of FREE material on the web today is enough to give you a world class education in business management.

The month of January has brought about great new things for Billingslea Media. I've managed to forge relationships that are mutually beneficial to my overall growth. My clients have set their sights on higher goals, and the partnerships we've forged have been absolutely amazing. There are 11 months left in this year. With this amount of crazy momentum, there is no telling what is going to happen next.
2014 in Review. Setting the standard for greatness!

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I've never been one to embrace change. But over the past couple of years I have learned to love the changes that have emerged in my life. Looking back on the past year has given me a chance to reflect on all of the positive changes that have happened as I continued to  build my company. Billingslea Media has enjoyed tremendous growth; and the changes in the marketing and technology field are opening up new doors for endless possibilities.

A huge part of this business involves going out and building relationships. I strive to maintain my visibility in the community in order to promote my clients, learn new processes, and create opportunities to link my clients with individuals that will help their businesses grow. I've met some amazing people along the way; and even created opportunities for others outside of my industry. I enjoy seeing the look on people's faces when they realize that their dream is closer than they expected. It's the motivating force behind my company, and it drives me to dream bigger.

Here are a couple of highlights from 2014:

Substantial Magazine

In October of 2014 I was featured in Substantial Magazine. The article highlighted my journey as a businesswoman, and shed light on some of the motivating factors that led me to start Billingslea Media. Aside from being able to express my goals and achievements in the magazine article, we also held an engaging and fun filled photo shoot that captured all of the facets of my personality.

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A month later I found myself engrossed in the mission and potential in the magazine, and published my first article as a Substantial Magazine staff writer. Joining the team has been a perfect marriage of passion, humility, innovation, creativity, and fun. In September we produced our very first awards show in which we honored the contributions of significant leaders in our community. The event garnered the support of hundreds of people across Eastern NC; including university staff members, government officials, and our very own Mayor Allen Thomas. In the coming year, Substantial Magazine will be unveiling a host of new projects and amazing content for our readers. I look forward to applying my experience as a Public Relations professional to the growth of the entire Substantial brand.

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•LinkedIn•

Just as Snapchat is the quintessential marketing tool for the teenage beauty queen, LinkedIn is a necessary tool for the modern day professional who is looking to establish themselves and further their career. Beginning in mid 2014, I decided to increase my activity on the social networking site. I utilized the Premium features of the platform that would allow me to expand my reach.

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Once establishing new connections, I made sure to extend the relationships beyond the home page. I engaged in conversations with my contacts to exchange ideas, establish my expertise, and even make other introductions. My complete LinkedIn profile and publishing page has resulted in connecting like-minded individuals, fine tuning my personal and professional brand, and landing a seat on the board of a local charter school.

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•Tweet Chats•

For years I frowned upon engaging in the "senseless" activity of Tweet Chats. To me, it was a waste of time to sit and look at what other people had to say in response to a professional who was leading the conversation. I didn't have time to filter through their comments, nor did I see the benefit in talking to strangers online.

Little did I know that talking to strangers would be beneficial to furthering my career. Of course it felt a little odd at first, but once I warmed up to the idea of exchanging ideas with others who were seeking more information within my industry, the process became an enjoyable and profitable activity.

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One of my favorite Tweet Chat series this year was the Black Enterprise Corner Office series. The series featured a wide variety of special guests who engaged with the participants and shared information about their areas of expertise. Guests ranged from Actor & Community Activist Lamann Rucker to Entrepreneur and former Apprentice superstar Randall Pinkett. Over the life of the series, Black Enterprise introduced a wide variety of experts who provided an amazing array of pertinent business and community leadership information, and even aided in the introduction of various professionals all over the country. My personal experience with the Black Enterprise Corner Office series has introduced me to several thought leaders who have challenged and encouraged me to grow my business, as well as offer resources to maximize my potential.

•Small Business Saturday

The annual American Express Small Business Saturday provided an opportunity for me to end my year with a bang! Each year, the movement grows larger and larger, and provides free resources for small business owners across the country. Their site offers articles and quick tips to allow merchants to maximize their reach and increase sales. The company also offers FREE marketing materials that are shipped to you free of charge within days. This year's goods were shipped via American Express partner FedEx, and included branded canvas shopping bags, pens, balloons, welcome mats, banners, and extra signage. Business Owners were encouraged to share their ideas and show how they used the promotional materials in their marketing efforts.

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Because Billingslea Media is not a brick and mortar business, being creative in my marketing activities is essential. As I watched other companies and other clients engage in Small Business Saturday activities, I did not want to let the day go by without participating myself. My virtual Small Business Saturday Shopping Spree not only managed to pair several small businesses with one another and allow businesses to increase their weekend sales, but it also caught the attention of CAN Capital. I entered the CAN Capital Small Business Saturday competition, and was one of two businesses who were awarded as the winners amongst hundreds of contestants. As a winner in the competition, I was awarded a $100 Amazon gift card and a one hour consulting session with Entrepreneur, Author, and Consultant Gene Marks.

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The achievements of 2014 set the standard for my company's vision for the coming year. As my network increases in size, I find inspiration not only to continue to service my clients, but also to expand my services and scope of influence. I look forward to the smiles on my client's faces when I show them just how wonderful their dreams can be when they trust their vision to Billingslea Media.

5 Ways to Benefit From MED Week

consulting and networkingAs cities across the country celebrate Minority Enterprise Development Week, some smaller cities still struggle to get local business owners involved in the weekly activities. Here are some of the benefits of attending local MED Week activities in your area.

  • Gather information on new opportunities in your area

Most local governments have tons of programs in place geared towards increasing the economic influence of minority business owners. However, these programs and services aren’t always widely publicized. Attending a MED Week Event in your area may uncover new opportunities for your company such as product placement, funding, or relocation services.

  • Network with like-minded business owners

There is a growing number of solopreneurs in today’s marketplace. While being a solopreneur may be a good fit for the business down the street, not every business is meant to run in this fashion. Finding others who share the same vision, and perhaps similar services can help expand your business and increase your bottom line. Attending networking events opens up the door for interaction with others that may spark new ideas or partnerships. 61fa9-women-smallbusinessowners

  • Discover new services

Oftentimes we launch our businesses with an intention to share a certain product or service that we deem important. But as our business interests grow, and as the marketplace evolves, these goods and services may not be enough to keep your business sustainable. Implementing Add-ons such as new retail products or consultation opportunities may help keep your business afloat while you work on improving your original arsenal of services. You may also find that the questions you had about improving certain products may be answered with a completely new product.

  • Inspiration and Motivation

Being an entrepreneur is definitely not for the faint of heart. There are ups and downs, and twists and turns that you probably didn’t expect to pop up during the journey. It is especially daunting when these twists and turns end up having a negative effect on your profit margin. When things get tough, it’s easy to think about throwing in the towel. Talking with other entrepreneurs with similar stories may help convince you to stay the course. Creating a support network that allows you to encourage one another may be just the thing you need to keep your business afloat and keep the doors open.

  • Marketing

The growing number of entrepreneurs creates a vacuum in which businesses are often lost in the crowd. No matter what your product or service may be, you have to find a way to stand out amongst your competition. For every “new” business that pops up, there are ten or twelve other businesses offering the same exact services. Networking events allow you to engage in face to face interaction with others who may not even know your business existed. It also allows you to give your Elevator Pitch and show others why your business is superior to other similar businesses. Small Business and Chamber of Commerce events often offer free or discounted marketing opportunities for businesses to showcase their individual products or partner with other companies to offer new services. Taking advantage of these services can give you an opportunity for free marketing services that you didn’t know existed. 7f94b-stand2bout

Minority Enterprise Development doesn’t have to end during MED Week. Engagement starts in your own community, and can thrive during even the smallest of settings. Seek out opportunities in your area, or create your own networking functions. Your local Chamber of Commerce or Economic Development Commission may even offer free space to hold your events if you are willing to partner with other local businesses. Visit your local agencies today to get started on taking advantage of these new opportunities.