Tag Archives: entrepreneurs

Make Your Positive Attitude Contagious

By Judy Mackenzie

Are you projecting the attitude you think you are?

If life has a tendency to overwhelm and fill you with negative feelings, practice projecting a positive attitude. A change in attitude can lead to many positive changes in your life. Practicing a positive attitude can have a quick and important impact on self-esteem, self-confidence and general well being. People will mirror the presence you project. It is not a coincidence that when you are having a good day, everyone else seems to also be having a good day. Continue Reading →

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Why Women in Business Must Think About Taxes Now & Take Action in the Next 30 Days

By Alexis Neely

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock these past few months, you’ve been bombarded with all the election noise that is everywhere. And one of the biggest topics being debated…

Taxes.

Ugh. I know. No one really wants to talk about taxes in November. But now is exactly when you must take very specific actions to protect your business from giving too much money to the government.

As a matter of fact, taxes are most likely your biggest expense.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Continue Reading →

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Social Media Etiquette – 5 things you may be doing to lose friends and fans

By Tracey Warren

Google, “How to get more Facebook Fans” and you will get thousands of articles. With all the information out there, you might expect all business owners to have thriving Social Media presences. Sometimes, however, that just isn’t the case. Without knowing it, you may have broken some unwritten rules of etiquette. Here are a few I have discovered in my experiences that might be affecting your efforts. Continue Reading →

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Systematizing in Your Business to Work Less & Get More Done

By Katrina Sawa

Do you ever wonder, “How am I supposed to ‘Get It All Done’?”

Using systems and consistent ways to market and follow up is a great place to start.

As an entrepreneur, you probably have the tendency to try and do it all.  However if you can change your thoughts about that to some extend, you will experience less stress and more fun in your business.  Learning how to delegate, put systems in place, implement effective functionality on your website will help you reach more prospects, leads and ultimately convert more to paying customers.

One thing I suggest is to use templates for your email marketing, follow up, direct mail, social media connecting and more. Prewriting messages and emails so you can get it all done easier will allow for automatic lead generation and high-volume sales conversions. Continue Reading →

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11 Steps to Building an Effective Virtual Team

By Dortha Hise

You know when you can barely keep your head above water?  You wish you had some to help you make it through the day let alone another week? I have just the answer for you… a Virtual Assistant.

A virtual assistant essentially takes on anything you don’t have time or the skill to do. Some tasks that a VA can support you on include updating your website and related web collateral; assist with your bookkeeping and invoicing;  manage your marketing and public relations; edit and write your materials; manage your contacts and calendar; social media and blog posting; event assistance. We also look to take on anything you do not have the time or skill to do! Continue Reading →

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Five Tips For (Fiscal Year End) FYE Success

Guest Post by Judy Bradt, Summit Insight, LLC

This may be the most important Federal FYE ever.

The late budget has skewed buying to…NOW.
These five tips can help you stay ahead of the game!

#1: Revisit Your Forecasting

  • Take one more look at your target agencies’ forecasts and bid boards. Anything new?
  • Look hard at your own forecast, and pick out the projects that best match your capabilities.
  • Identify relevant small business specialists — and call on them for updates on your hot projects.

#2: Ask for Referrals from Your Best Customers

  • Ask your best customers for introductions! It’s the least expensive — and most powerful — source of leads you have.
  • Ask for leads within their agency
  • Ask who they know in another agency who might value your expertise or products.

#3: Stay Top-of-Mind

  • When did you last check in with your best clients, partners, current and past contacts?
  • Call long-time, one-time and former government clients to remind them of your value. Offer something useful — an article, a link…
  • Ask if they’d like fresh info, or need to reorder from you.
  • Call on marginal accounts. Often the company to get the order is the last one the agency spoke with!
  • If the box of cookies or treats is worth less than $25, ask the contracting officer or the OSDBU if you can bring in some refreshments for the team
  • (True story: At fiscal year end, when I worked at the Canadian Embassy, I’d bring a batch of cookies into the Admin section.You have no IDEA how much faster my paperwork got processed.)

#4: Use Multiple Touches, Tactics, Channels

  • Use multiple tactics (PR, events, email, direct mail, web, telemarketing).
  • What channels are others not using? Have you looked into…
  • Federal News Radio? See what co-anchors Amy Morris & Tom Temin are covering, and ask them if they’d like to interview your federal client’s recent success (and your contribution…) Catch Amy on Twitter — @amorris_wfed
  • Twitter — check out http://www.blog.govtwit.com/ and discover how you can reach hundreds of influential government buyers that your competitors are overlooking!
  • Visit GSA Sales Query, even if you don’t have a schedule. How are the leaders in your GSA Schedule category, reaching THEIR clients, through ads and online?
  • Promote year-end offers to government customers through telemarketing or emails.

#5: Update & Share Your Capability Statement

  • Add in your latest contract wins & vehicles, update your contact info, product info, certifications, keywords, NAICS codes.
  • Most contracting officers and small business specialists appreciate getting your latest capability statement. Ask your best contacts if they prefer email or hardcopy or a link.
  • Ask if they’ve got a few minutes to critique your latest draft capability statement — What’s missing? What else would they like to see? Helpful to you, AND keeps you top of mind.

Sponsored by Dell. You won’t be able to beat our prices! Click here for eWomenNetwork VIP discounts through Dell.

Don’t miss Judy Bradt on Success Institute September 13, 2011, 1:30pm CST to learn why A Woman’s Place is…On the Contract!

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Smart Women Buy

Guest Post by Jeanie Douthitt

Did you know that women’s buying power tops $2.4 trillion annually and that they control or influence 85 percent of all household purchases?  For years, women have been recognized as the chief purchasing officers for their households and they still are the primary decision makers for household goods.  But women also drive the big-ticket expenditures for themselves, their families and their businesses.  For example, women drive the purchases of:

  • 91% of new homes
  • 80% of health care
  • 93% food
  • 65% new cars
  • 93% over-the-counter medications

Have you ever had a light bulb moment that you thought could change your life? It actually feels like lightening striking you.  That happened to me after I had been in real estate for a short time and again recently when I was trying to figure out how to take my business to the next level.   The first time it happened after a very good girlfriend called me and reminded me of the “less than positive” real estate experience she had gone through when buying a home as a single woman.  My friend actually had a homeowner say to her “Honey, do you think you can afford this house?” while seeing his home.  Unfortunately, that was just one of many hurdles during her journey to finding her dream home. She had recently suffered great loses with the deaths of both parents and her divorce.  Added to her worry, she had been diagnosed with cancer and that was the driving reason for her decision to purchase a home.  My friend implored me that I “MUST” help single women buy or sell homes.  That was the beginning of my journey to create Smart Women Buy Homes, a program for single women.

In my research, I found single women buy approximately one million homes a year.  Between 2002 and 2003, women spent $550 billion buying homes.  That dollar amount is expected to continue to rise according to a study done by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing.  This information combined with the current housing market and record low  interest rates means more home buyers can purchase homes and attain more affordable mortgages.  Jenay Bowen, a Senior Loan Officer with Service First Mortgage  says, “We often talk about the PRICE of buying a home versus the COSTS of buying a home.  Of course, price is a key component of the cost.  The other key component is the interest rate of the mortgage.  Just a small increase in interest rates can have a BIG impact on your monthly payment. For example, a $100,000 loan at a current interest rate of 4.75% for 30 years would equal a principle and interest payment of $521.65 a month.  This exact same home with a $100,000 loan at 8% for 30 years would equal a principle and interest payment of $733.36 a month.  This is a difference of over $200 a month just because of the higher interest rate.  If you are looking to buy a home and are waiting to see what will happen with prices, remember interest rates will also impact your housing cost”.

So why are so many women buying homes now?  Women are earning more money than ever before in our nation’s history.  They are waiting longer to get married. Becoming more educated and financially stable has given single women the confidence to procure a home.   Single women are now building their own financial nest egg, which includes home ownership.  No longer do women feel like they need to settle down with a husband before they buy a home.  Purchasing a home gives them a sense of security economically, and a place to live when they retire.  Since women understand a good home investment brings equity, many of them are investing in a second home.  Single females accounted for 13% of all second /vacation homebuyers in 2001/2003 according to the Realtors Profile.

With the number of women purchasing homes increasing, there is a real demand for experienced professionals to help navigate single women through the home buying process. InCharge Debt Solutions article “Single Women Are Buying Homes in Large Numbers”, points out that the biggest obstacles to single women are the lack of information about the home purchasing process, and understanding the dynamics of credit issues. This leaves many women feeling intimidated by the whole home buying process. Because the real estate market offers many challenges for a novice homebuyer, it is essential to find a real estate professional that understands the wants and needs of single women homebuyers. Single women can realize their dreams of home ownership through Smart Women Buy Homes, a program specifically designed to help women through the home buying process.

I wanted to take my business to the next level.  Unsure of which direction to go, I attended the Chairman’s Circle with eWomenNetwork and lighting struck again!   I began to understand that women are making buying decisions every day.  Though these choices are not all as large a financial decision as purchasing a home, women still are looking for very definite things when making their purchasing decisions and I have the ability to facilitate this process through my business.

While working with women, I learned a lot about them and what they really want.  Women want information. They want to know the basics of the product/service and then some.  Every aspect of a product/service is important to women. The size, color, material, weight, look and feel, warranties, etc.  They want to know it all so they can make an informed decision.   Women want to be respected as savvy consumers; supported and educated during the sales process rather than have an advisor take the role of the know-it-all expert using acronyms and terminology they do not understand.  Using pictures or showing women in a more visual way goes a long way towards helping them understand and feel more comfortable with buying decision.  Going at a woman’s pace during negotiations, without rushing her to close the deal today, will serve all parties. Women generally take longer to make a buying decision, however, once satisfied with their purchase and experience with your business, women statistically are more loyal then their male counterparts, and more apt to go online and write a positive or negative review.  Women want to work with someone they trust and respect.

With the knowledge I gained while working with these women, I saw a real need to replicate what Smart Women Buy Homes offered them.   I launched Smart Women Buy, a service for women focusing on the consumer experience as well as the provider experience.  We help women by providing them insights, clarity, direction, and resources for the products and services that they plan to purchase.  In addition, we train and certify those who provide services to our Smart Women buyers.  As a consumer, you can count on Smart Women Buy to give you information that is direct, no-nonsense and uninfluenced by advertising. And because there are no sales here,  just good information to educate you in your purchasing process, you can make the right buying decision for you. We only align with providers who care about women consumers and treat them the same way “they” want to be treated because we understand that that is how Smart Women Buy.

 

Jeanie Douthitt is a Platinum Member of the Chairman’s Circle

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Want to Get YourBuzz for Business?

Photo-http://ht.ly/69QRW

Do you want to know what customers are saying about your business online?  Managing social media conversations can be time consuming and distracting.  There are a variety of products in the marketplace to help you manage discussions, post comments or retweet.  Our favorite is YourBuzz , a free application from American Express® OPEN, which offers a unique means of monitoring, managing and growing your online presence across social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook  with the added benefit of giving you access to your ratings and reviews on Yelp, Foursquare, Citysearch, Yahoo!Local, Bing Local and Superpages.

This app allows you to:

  • View customer reviews, ratings and online mentions in one place;
  • Respond, retweet, or create a new conversation;
  • See how you stack up against the competition; and
  • Get recommendations on action to take.

The YourBuzz application has some valuable features, including a scheduling feature so that you can pre-plan your marketing communications.  It also provides reporting with trends information, ratings by source and even ratings versus your competition.  By drilling down into the contacts area you can determine influencers based on their connections and review the geographic distribution of your network.  You also have the ability to view, edit and create profiles on these sites through YourBuzz.

If you are utilizing any combination of these social media and ratings/review platforms as part of your online marketing mix, then be sure to check out YourBuzz.  Let me know what you think!

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Philanthropy…The Missing Link in Your Business?

Gail Sullivan, Founder & CEO of  BECAUSE WOMAN, LLC

Philanthropy… The Missing Link in Your Business?

I recently attended a businesswomen’s luncheon on “Giving Matters” and heard one of our community’s most distinguished philanthropists state, “The joy of living is in the joy of giving”.

Surely you have heard the old adage that is sometimes described as the Principle of Giving:

Give and it will come back to you – good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.”

Many of the happiest and wealthiest individuals that I have met over the last several decades have commented that the “key” to their success has been in their generous giving.

Personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way, and that’s why philanthropy is one of my company’s key components.   Consider the following ways to add value to your company through giving, and watch for the positive returns

5 Ways to Add Philanthropy to Your Business Plan

1. Put together a Philanthropic Budget.

Consider setting aside a portion of your monthly business income to be specifically used for philanthropy.  There is a vast range of non-profit organizations in every community that could use your help.  Every gift, great and small will be considered a blessing.

It’s so easy to say, “ I don’t have any money.” But then, when I think of how easy it is to waste dollars at a time on things that don’t really matter (like those daily fancy coffee drinks that are filled with calories that I’m trying to avoid or the newest office supplies that are bought in excess and never used). Contrary to all that, my philanthropic giving can help organizations achieve something that really does matter.  You know what?  I’m embarrassed that I haven’t given more and more often.  Now is the time to change that!

Not enough cash flow?  Consider budgeting your philanthropic services.  501c3 organizations always appreciate service gifts.  For example, the local catering company caters 2 big non-profit fundraising events a year; a florist supports her favorite charity by providing the centerpieces for their annual fundraising event; and an entrepreneur of a local hair salon provides free haircuts, on the Saturday before school starts, to kids in a lower income neighborhood. What an awesome way to contribute!

2. Volunteer.

Philanthropy can also be in the form of service. Consider volunteering to help out at an annual event for a cause that you are passionate about.  This is something that you can do personally as well as getting your employees involved.  You will be amazed at how many people will join with you in your efforts to give back to the community.

For the last several years I have joined our local Boys and Girls Club to help hand out gifts to the children at their annual Christmas party.  The first year my two daughters joined me.  The following year several co-workers decided to come with me and continue to give to this day. Eventually the company I worked for became a sponsor of one of their annual events. It appears that philanthropy can be contagious.

3. Master the layups.

There are many community organizations that provide some of the most basic essentials for people in need.  All of us can make a huge difference just by consistently giving our gently worn clothing to the Goodwill, or extra food to the local food bank.  Consider having a seasonal giving drive for these events right in your office.  Allow clients to participate and accept donations as well. These are easy layup shots that any business can incorporate.

4. Take it to the next level.

Do you sometimes feel that your gift is so small and wonder what good could it possibly do?  A giving “team” boosts donation dollars to the next level. That’s right, get others involved… family, friends, co-workers, clients and even prospects. Does your company hold any type of annual event?  Consider adding a raffle in which all the proceeds go to a chosen non-profit group or cause.  Allow all attendees the opportunity to participate.

I recently held a company event and had determined to give a percentage of the income to a local cause.  I was disappointed when I realized how small that donation would be. I decided to brainstorm about how I could give more. I took a third of the money I was going to give and bought an amazing raffle prize for the event and announced where the proceeds were going.  The donation ended up being almost 3X what I was originally going to donate. Bravo!

5. Never underestimate the value of a small gift, and don’t hold back on giving a larger gift when you know the time is right.

“Despise not the day of small things!” Everyone starts somewhere. Become a consistent giver in the small opportunities that exist, and over time, you may develop into an experienced, generous philanthropist.

As you begin making philanthropy a key component in your company, begin to notice what happens.  Time and time again, I end up with so much more in return.  The effects are amazing!  The people I work with seem happier.  Somehow, this “giving” component allows for something great to occur in the workplace.  Goodwill manifests itself and my clients and prospects like that.  My business begins to change, for the better.  I feel like I begin to change for the better. And all this just makes me want to give more.

Recent research also shows that there is a correlation between philanthropic giving and sales.  (Network for Business Sustainability, Use corporate philanthropy to grow your top and bottom line, Source:  Strategic Management Journal, How corporate charitable contributions enhance revenue growth. (2009) Baruch Lev, Christine Petrovits and Suresh Radhakrishnan)

If you are attending the eWomenNetwork Conference in Dallas this month, you will witness firsthand the impact of generous giving.  Throughout the year there are many opportunities to give to the eWomenNetwork Foundation.  You will be inspired at how your philanthropic contributions can accomplish great things!

 

 

Gail Sullivan is a Platinum Member of the Chairman’s Circle

 

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Maximum Benefit from Your Accountability Partnership

Guest Post by Robert MacPhee, Heart Set, Inc.

Wow! I was talking to my dear friend Stephanie Perez this morning about accountability partners. Both of us have been in accountability partner relationships over the past several years with mixed results. You know this arrangement, right? It’s simple. You and your partner call or e-mail each other every day and make specific action commitments. You start the call by reporting on how you did yesterday and then make commitments for what you will get done today. The premise (a very accurate one in my opinion!) is that we will often do something when we commit to someone else that we would not do if we “only” committed to ourselves.

Stephanie and I both agreed that the hard core “do it or suffer the consequences” approach did not work for us with accountability partners, and that, in fact, it sometimes created ADDITIONAL resistance to taking action.  The five year old boy in me comes out, saying, “You can’t make me!”

So here’s the idea we came up with this morning, one that any accountability partnership can use: structure your accountability call using the Manifesting for Non-Gurus approach. Each day check in with your partner and tell him or her who you are, what your intention is, how you expect to FEEL when that intention is manifested, what attachments are showing up and what actions you are committed to accomplishing today. Wow. The conversation ends up at the same place – action commitments – but feels totally different than it does when we just focus on actions and consequences…  And it only takes a couple of minutes to structure the conversation this way.  Time well spent if you ask me…

Stephanie and I started this new approach to our accountability partnership today. I invite you to try it too.

Join Robert MacPhee on the eWomenNetwork Success Institute, 6.28.11, at 1:30pm CST to learn “How to Generate Results with Ease”.

Original post at Manifesting for Non-Gurus.com/blog

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