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Wednesday Wisdom: Get Your Sales Shine Back On

May 27, 2020

Wednesday Wisdom, Business Strategies and Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Small Businesses

As I began a new daily challenge of running 3.5 miles a day to hit a target goal of running 500K by August 31st as part of New York One Challenge, a phone conversation an hour earlier kept racing through my head. Ever since this economic pause occurred conducting sales for my business felt different. Worrying my customers and potential clients didn’t have money to spend on an annual membership packed with marketing benefits, limited traditional sales practices. Only worried about supporting my members best I could with my $1,200 stimulus money, I refrained from consistent sales calls.

With my Apple iPods in my ears, a favorite Florida Georgia Line song of my son’s came on with the melody, “Baby get your shine on, shine on, shine on” repetitively uplifting my feet and mood as I ran. As the miles went by my brain twisted the meaning of the song to have more significance to my entrepreneurial journey encouraging me to get my “shine back on” when it came to corporate sales activities. Why not shine like the pandemic wasn’t here? Why not be excited about selling the great services my company offers? Why not imagine customers have money to spend? Shine on became “sell on” by the time my short run was done.

Just like these last few days of tropical heat flowing through the air, it only takes a 24 hours to turn a cold day into a warm one making us feel totally different. Why not believe as New York State reopens its business doors our attitude can warm back up to familiar sales activities to help financial streams flowing? I believe if we really want to get our “shine back on,” we have the power to do so; and if we believe, so it will be.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to encourage you to think more positively about the financial prospects that lie ahead. As you know already as experienced women in business, corporate sales can decline depending on many factors only to rise again. Like before remember your corporate sales will increase again. An important part of that winning equation is getting your “shine back on” and believing you have the power to change your financial situation.

I truly hope you’ll join our Zoom call on virtual prospecting tomorrow if you need practical strategies and motivation to get your sales attitude readjusted. I promise any investment of your time in learning and motivation pays positive dividends. My hope is you’ll leave the call with your “sales shine back on.”

Get Creative With Your Business

May 26, 2020

Tuesday Thoughts, Inspiration, Creative Tips for Women Entrepreneursand small businesses

I never thought of my washing machine as an inspirational business object until hearing a presentation from a woman running a national million dollar company years ago. Her success started when she was challenged to think creatively to resurrect her business after a failure. She decided to put every aspect of her business into a “creative spin cycle.” Three years later she became a rock star in her industry with a nationally recognized business.

Women entrepreneurs are faced with the ups and downs of business 365 days a year. They are also faced with time to think during this global and national economic pandemic. Just when we think things are going great, something happens to challenge the progress. Other times, we are flying high because everything is working well. Every small business owner I know has been faced with a scenario when they ask themselves, “Should I quit or keep going on?”

What the business owner said a few years ago is to realize when something needs to change you must look at the pieces of your business putting them into a “creative spin cycle” to see what comes out. What can you change about what you offer? How can you look at your services or products in a different way? How can you change a “cookie cutter” business philosophy into something new and dynamic?cookiecutter

Today’s post is to motivate you if you are feeling like your company needs fresh ideas to revitalize it by bringing every piece of what you offer into the light and shaking them up to spin our fresh new ideas. Like that speaker, you might need to have meaningful conversations with some trusted partners, discover creative collaborations, focus on what your customers love and test the market. Take what is good about your business and put it through the spin cycle to churn out more success.

If you need some inspiration today, turn on your washing machine mentally throwing your business into it and see what comes out. It might just make you and your company a new industry rock star.

Wednesday Wisdom: Mining for Sales Gold After The Economic Pause

May 20, 2020

Inspiration, Business Success Strategies, Wednesday Wisdom for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Small Businesses

In 2011 a reality television show called “Gold Rush” documented the gold mining activities of family-owned mining companies searching for gold near Yukon, Canada. Every week drama surrounded the teams as they “almost” found the mother-load of gold just below the surface. Most of the show looked to me to be a “man cave activity” where my guys watched other men’s machines break down just as the families almost struck it big. Maybe I didn’t watch it because there wasn’t a woman in the mix or because from my entrepreneurial years, I know most people don’t strike gold just because they want to.

Online, the word “prospecting” has two references. The first is searching for mineral deposits in a place, by means of experimental drilling and excavation or the responsibilities of salespeople to prospect for customers. Women entrepreneurs know prospecting has always been an essential part of the sales process leading them to in-person networking events, collecting business cards, and joining LinkedIn. If they were prospecting right, they also reached out to family and friends, old college roommates, personal vendors, and an outer circle of connections close to their immediate “ties” because they needed a list of potential customers to secure one day.

When the Coronavirus Pandemic hit and the economic pause began, prospecting for new customers and even selling to old clients, took a back seat as everyone adjusted to a new normal with less money in the economy. How could an entrepreneur know if clients could pay bills if they were furloughed, lost their jobs, or even their own businesses? Without conversations and research, most business owners were put in a holding pattern when it came time for traditional prospecting and sales activities. Now that New York State is reopening, how will small businesses start selling again especially if there is less money to go around?

This Wednesday Wisdom is meant to get you thinking about ramping up your sales activities again as “regular” business starts. How easy or hard will it be to pick up where you left off when the Coronavirus pause began? Have you been selling all along? Did you put a hold on marketing and sales activities? How eager or resistant are you to begin again? Do you think you are as motivated as the Gold Rush families looking for gold in the Yukon? You should be.

If you aren’t, that’s okay but tune in to Women TIES Zoom Meeting on May 28th to learn from an experienced sales professional to get motivated on prospecting and selling again with the right tools and mental attitude. There’s a lot of gold out there to mine. You just have to be willing to go after it.

Risk Tolerance For Reopening Your Business

May 13, 2020

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration, Business Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Small Businesses

“If I’m not free to fail, I’m not free to take risks, and everything in life that’s worth doing involves a willingness to take a risk and involves the risk of failure…I have to try, but I do not have to succeed.”

This quote by Madeleine L’Engle, an American writer, grabbed my attention as I looked out my kitchen window after running for the first time in nine months after an injury. Jogging at least 3 miles a day was a regular activity for twenty-two years. Initially running to lose weight after my second son was born; the daily habit became an everyday fix whisking away entrepreneurial problems, enlightening my mind, uplifting my spirit, making me a happier and healthier person.

Three years ago when the idea to become a marathoner was presented to me on a silver platter, I literally stopped in my tracks contemplating the feat. I was only 52 years old in fairly good shape with an adventurous soul so it became an easy decision to try it. I began a six-month training program, over cold winter days, and raising money for the ability to run the marathon in Boston. A month prior, I got pretty sick and couldn’t finish my training. Having only run a 13.1 miler prior to the marathon start line, I approached the race like I’ve tackled women entrepreneurship, with an invincible mindset. This is where Madeleine’s quote comes in…

“If I’m not free to fail, I’m not free to take risks, and everything in life that’s worth doing involves a willingness to take a risk and involves the risk of failure…I have to try, but I do not have to succeed.”

Sure enough by the grace of God, pure will, and the roar of the supporting crowds, I finished the risk crossing the finish line standing up under six hours.

L’Engle’s quote is appropriate this week as parts of New York State reopens its doors shut tight by the Coronavirus Pandemic. Every news pundit, politician, and medical expert has varying opinions on the risk vs. reward of reopening too soon. I’m sure every woman entrepreneur I know feels the same way. Many are eager to open again, bringing in necessary revenue essential to exist, while others may be wary about the health of their clients, staff, and selves. There isn’t a right or wrong way to approach the reopening concept except to listen to your risk tolerance level, have a plan, and make the decision.

Last Friday, a member with a massage business told me, although she loves having her company’s reception area and private rooms decorated with nice linens and upholstery, she is outfitting her tables and chairs with washable, plastic coverings to be able to wash them down between visitors ensuring safety for all. Interior design is taking a back seat to sanitation and hygiene. “It’s what I have to do to limit the risks of any germs in my shop while we reopen slowly,” she told me. I applauded her decision to be as safe as she needed to be to open her doors again.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to remind you that no matter when you reopen the doors to your business, there will be a level of risk; what you need to decide is how much risk are you willing to take? How can you minimize risk to yourself and your customers? What type of benchmarks do you need to ensure safety? How will you communicate with clients again if you need to close back down?

These are new questions for most of us so there aren’t any right or wrong answers, just your answers so you are most comfortable taking the risk to reopen successfully.

The Bright Side of Event Disappointments

May 11, 2020

Inspiration, Wisdom for Women Entrepreneurs, Women in Business, Small Businesses

At first glance at the dark silhouettes of my backyard trees, I saw black figures rising high above the ground. The longer I glanced; the sun’s setting goldenrod-colored hues appeared nestled on their limbs if placed there by angels. In order to glimpse the illusion, one had to look beyond the darkness in search of the light.

How often in life do we immediately see the darkness of a situation, hopelessness, anger, confusion, despair, and sadness, as if that is all that exists; when in fact there is an amber light tucked inside hoping to be seen. Broken relationships, the Coronavirus Pandemic, motherless Mother’s Day, crushing economic losses, favorite annual concerts rescheduled, and rainy days resemble some of the universal etches of darkness in my backyard canvas; but if we open our heart to a glimpse of hope, peace, love, and light within these situations, we see positive possibilities in our near future.

As a thirty-year event planner, canceling any event once planned is a tough decision. The vision of an enjoyable event like a wedding for a young couple, community festival, 5k fundraising road race, or entrepreneurial wisdom in a room full of sister business owners, are created with happy endings in mind. But sometimes, just sometimes, circumstances cause an event to be rescheduled or canceled for the betterment of its outcome for all parties involved. With a heavy heart, event hosts announce changes hoping guests will return one day to the replanted occasion.

Within the last few months, dealing with the Coronavirus, new businesses had to pull back on their grand openings, non-profit spring fundraising races have been pulled off-road until the fall, large joyful wedding gatherings and sad funeral services have slimmed down to essential family members, only to break the hopes and hearts of the planners and participants.

If I can share one piece of advice today after three decades of event planning, management, and marketing experience it is, the “show will go on” at some point in the future, always for the better, when the same intention for the occasion occurs with a greater appreciation for the event.

If today you are saddened by a postponement or cancellation of an important or less than important, event in your personal or business life, remember the light that shines in the shadows of dark trees, because before you know it your event will take place with a greater joy for you and your guests and in the words of my favorite band, you’ll experience “The Best of What’s Around” in time. Be patient. Remain hopeful. Look forward.

Thursday Thoughts: Forging and Letting Go of Long Relationships

May 7, 2020

Thursday Thoughts, Inspiration, Wisdom for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Small Businesses

Staring into the blazing amber coals of a fire in our “quarantine corner of the world,” where a forged piece of metal sizzled and wept in the heat, my husband of three decades etched a heart with our initials in the middle of a stone in the fire pit wall. A mango colored sky stretched out above us and songbirds, trying to mate in the cool spring air, fluttered around peering down on us with envy.

Forging life-lasting relationships of any kind takes both hard work and yet no work because it’s natural. What every human on earth is finding out during the Coronavirus Pandemic, with distances placed on loving relationships, is the strength, depth, and width of every connection they have as they calculate the risks and rewards of both quarantining and reopening themselves back up to warm embraces, face-to-face smiles, and delicate acts of kindness.

An optimistic-minded girl from the start of life, I’ve always chosen to love the depth of friendships. My heart has always been big enough to include more people in it, than not. This same essence and expression have made me the receiver of many long-lasting business relationships as well. Always one to include every type of woman business owner at my business table, no matter her age, race, financial status, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs, has opened both my heart and doors to an abundance of wonderful women. When one leaves my business orbit for some reason, my heart shrinks just a bit as I bid them adieu.

Yesterday I learned a valuable lesson about letting people go as they leave my life and business for different pursuits. As much as I wish to hold onto everyone who is dear to me, it’s not about what I want because it takes two people for relationships to work and continue on. Both parties must want the bond to strengthen and evolve. Sometimes without understanding why the same priorities and attitudes that connected individuals vanish like billowing smoke from a once roaring fire rising into the air for departure. It’s okay to let it go.

I hope today if you are faced with a changing, challenging relationship in your work or personal life, you stop to take a moment to thank the relationship, etch a moment in your heart to remember and let it go. We are stronger as humans and entrepreneurs when we can just move on from relationships that don’t serve us anymore and into existing ones that still do.

“Phases” is the Word of the Week For Entrepreneurs

May 6, 2020

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration and Business Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Small Businesses

Phases are an essential part of life. How else could the moon change from fullness to crescent shape in a month or a baby grow from being held in one’s arms to tittering down a hallway a year later? How could an entrepreneurial seed start as an idea only to expand into a million-dollar enterprise ten years later? Or in today’s pandemic, how could one’s hair, without dye and cuts, go from fashionable to out-of-control? It’s all about phases.

A phase is defined as a clearly distinguishable period in a process, in the development of something, or in a sequence of events. We see the word used more every day as our local and state governments plan an economic reopening of businesses and community activities. Every article in this week’s Syracuse Post Standard outlines different phases of reopening local regions in all areas of life and business cautiously planning on avoiding new cases of the Coronavirus.

One of the articles highlighted the fact small businesses are facing difficulties bringing back hourly employees since unemployment wages are higher than their past hourly rates. An extra $600 a week has been flowing into the bank accounts of employees furloughed by the Coronavirus making it essential for them to survive but near impossible for small business owners to match due to a lack of corporate revenue. There is nothing in life that is all positive or negative, not even the fairness of small businesses trying to get back on their feet.

Becoming a woman entrepreneur meant each of us had to create plans, economic, marketing, and financial ones to phase in our brilliant entrepreneurial idea into a living, breathing business which grew phase, by phase, to where it was in mid-March 2020. I believe the only way for female entrepreneurs to grow again is to do the same type of phase planning we did when we started our companies. As much as we wish we didn’t have to, we must review our business plans and adapt where we see necessary in order to successfully phase ourselves back into viable businesses. We can’t wish this crisis didn’t happen, we must look honestly at where we are, make projections based on our gut feelings and perhaps customer surveys and research, and create our own plans in alignment with government regulations to remain solvent with growth in sight.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is meant to motivate you to create new phases of reopening your business entity as the economy starts again. Part of that exercise must be worst-case scenario planning in case we are hit again with closures this summer or fall. What can you do right now, next month and next quarter to stabilize your finances, communicate with customers, and innovate new services or products to fit the demands of a new way of doing business? You owe it to yourself, employees, and customers to have a plan and communicate it. It is necessary to settle your client’s nerves and yours.

Hopefully, in a year from now, you’ll look back at photos of your overgrown hairdo, relaxed work schedule, and creative plans to stay afloat knowing it was all a phase and loving the fact things are regular again.

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