Today I decided to go back to my morning routine of mediating. This is a practice I enjoy but somewhere along the busy road, it fell off my morning's to-do-list. For as long as I could remember, I always wake up with thanksgiving. It's nothing fancy, just a "Thank You Lord for another wonderful day". I do the same thing at night...it's second nature to me. So, as with all the other mornings, this morning, I did the same then washed my face, brushed my teeth and put the kettle on. I made my big cup of Raspberry tea, went into the living-room to begin my meditation as my tea cooled.
As I was about to begin, I recalled an article I read from Venus Williams' blog on her new, EleVen By Venus Williams. She had interview Gabrielle Bernstein and Gabrielle had given some tips on how to begin meditating. Even though, I am not a beginner, I was open to trying out her technique, so I pulled up the article, gave the steps below an overview and followed along.
Learning to Meditate
My experience following Gabrielle's steps were interesting to me, it took me a while to really focus in on feeling my pulse. I am very much alive :-) and I am ready to connect with my inner self but it seemed elusive. I chucked it up to the fact that I had let this peaceful mind exercise that I love lapse for some time and was not as accustomed to sitting quite and clearing my mind. Eventually; however, I did feel the beautiful throbbing of life running through my veins. I gently closed my eyes, began repeating the mantra, eased into my 11-minute meditation and felt the bliss.
As I smiled at accomplishing my added morning routine, the experience reminded of how open, warm and happy I feel when I meditate. It's not so much that I get answers to my deepest questions while I meditate, maybe that will come eventually, but just the feeling of being so much more committed to doing what I set out to do for the day infuses me with the right kind of warm joy and passion that carries on throughout the day.
How about you? Do you have any experience with mediating that you'd like to share with us? I know I would love to hear your stories. Until my next post ladies, remember that we are always creating so, create success.
Even though the hashtag was created by twitter as a way of organizing content; using hashtags on other top social media sites like Facebook, Tumblr, Google+ and Instagram has become an effective tactic for cataloging and reaching more of your target audience than before. Do not use hashtags on Pinterest, they recently came up with a new algorithm that no longer supports the use of hashtags. Likewise, LinkedIn is also not a platform for adding hashtags. So, save your hashtags for, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+ and Instagram.
This is excellent news for business women because, when used correctly, hastags are super beneficial. Let's talk a bit about using them on Instagram and how anyone searching for a hashtag you used will be able to see your content! Below I am going to share with you a few key tips on maximizing this method, but before you read on, go ahead an try this out: simply go Google or Instagram and search for our company hashtags #macswomen or #createsuccess and you will find a ton of content to engage with. Easy and pretty cool, right?
So, here are 3 key tips to ensure you are using hashtags correctly to get your brand easily found:
1. Keep your Instagram profile public -- I have often wondered why, unless it is your private account, would business women make their profiles private. A private business account can deter others from following your account. Keeping your account public allows anyone searching for a hashtag you used to see your content. This is one simple method to gaining more engagement for your photos and potentially more followers for your account.
2. Some say don't overuse hashtags with your photos -- Instagram allows the use of up to 30 hashtags. Now, maybe not all 30; however, I say use as many to reach a wider, targeted audience.
3. To my previous tip, only use hastags that are relevant to your photo or brand. Don't just use them to gain likes or followers because at the end of the day, you want to reach people who will be excited about your seeing your next post and the next bit of information that you are going to share. Begin by thinking creatively to come up with hashtags that others in your industry might already be using and that are inline with your brand messaging or image.
For example some of our top hashtags are: #macswomen (our company name) #businesswomen (our clients) #bizwomen, #ladyboss, #entrepreneurs, #femaleEntrepreneurs, #WomeninBusiness, #mompreneurs, #passionpreneurs, #femalebiz #smallbizlady.... these are all variations for our clients and potential clients.
With these simple tips in mind, you can begin incorporating hashtags as a useful tactic for reaching more and engaging with more of your ideal clients.
Tell us which hashtags you are currently using on social media to drive more engament and organize your content?
Business women are creating websites at a larger rate as a way to help promote and sell their products and services online. With millions and millions of people logging on to the world wide web daily, internet marketing is a great way to brand and share your offers with a massive amounts of potential clients. Achieving success through reaching people who want your products and services takes more than just having a website. The saying, if you build it they will come, doesn't quite work in this regard. Your website copy must contain the right set of keywords as well as be optimized for the major search engines to find. We highly recommend manually submitting your website pages to the search engines. Even though doing so does not fully guarantee that your business will be ranked on the first page, it is a way to let the search engines know that you have new information to share.
There are ways to automatically submit your site to the search engines, but we suggest that you manual submit your site's pages because they have made it apparent that it is what they prefer. The search engines have implemented manual submission as a best practice to protect themselves from extreme levels of spam.
There are 3 major search engines that we recommend that you submit your website to. These are Google, Yahoo! and Bing. There are other search engines that you can submit to also, even though the other engines have less traffic than Google, they millions of users.
Once you submit your URL, it could take several days, weeks, or months for the search engines to index your page(s). Results may vary so don’t write this in stone. Factors such as other websites pointing to your site can affect this time as well.
Steps to Submit your URL to Google:
1. Go to the following link: http://www.google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurl
2. Sign in to your Google account (i.e. Gmail)
3. Type in your URL, example: http://www.yoursite.com
4. Enter the captcha text shown in the box
5. Select “Add URL”
Steps to Submit your URL to Bing:
1. Go to the following link: http://www.bing.com/docs/submit.aspx
2. Type in your URL, example: http://www.yoursite.com
3. Enter the captcha text shown in the box
4. Select “Submit URL”
Steps to Submit your URL to Yahoo:
1. Go to the following link: http://search.yahoo.com/info/submit.html
2. Click on “Submit Your Site for Free”
3. You will be redirected to Bing. Follow the on-screen instructions for submitting your URL.
That’s how you submit your website to the top three search engines! Once you complete the above steps, just sit back and be patient. It takes time for the search engines to index your pages. Don't rush to resubmit your site too quickly, if you submit more than once, some search engines may consider this spamming which could result in not indexing your site at all.
Our Crowdfunding Discussion Shed Light On Options for Women Entrepreneurs on Bridging the Investor Gap
As you know, we host a monthly women in business lunch and this month, our topic was on the possibilities of crowdfunding. There was a great deal of value shared with regards to the options that are available to business women through crowdfunding. Our expert speaker, Tamara Donikyan, an attorney at Ellenoff Grossman & Schole LLP in New York City and Elite MACsWomen member, served up some really great content which had fellow members and guests excited about this new way for business women to bridge the gap with gaining not only money for their businesses but also potentially attracting the interest of venture capitalists and angel inventors.
The engaging luncheon discussion touched on various areas of crowdfunding like peer to peer lending, essentially debt crowdfunding; rewards-based crowdfunding, charity donation-based projects and equity crowdfunding. It was interesting to learn about the different areas and best-practices surrounding each option.
As with any new idea, product launch or venture you are rolling out for your business, below are a few things we recommend that you do:
1. Do your research. Visit crowdfunding sites and observe what is being offered in the space and take a closer look at your specific industry tends. Some of the top crowdfunding site include:
2. Put together a marketing strategy. Formulate a marketing strategy that includes a pre-crowdfunding campaign to increase and maximize your possibility of reaching and or exceeding your set goals.
3. Leverage available resources. Maximizing social media channels, family, friends, colleagues and all other brain-stormed resources before launching your campaign will give you a slight edge.
During the women in business lunch, Tamar Donikyan spoke in dept about the great amount of time and dedication that is required for making your crowdfunding campaign a success. This emphasis was due to questions that were brought to the table, like: "Is it wise to run multiple campaigns at once?" "What does it take to run a successful campaign?" and "What are some of the benefits of targeting your niche?"
We encourage you to seek as much support as possible before your launch and get all the details about the possibilities on crowdfunding and learn how it can truly impact your business in a positive way.
To gain access to this meeting's audio recording "The Possibilities of Crowdfunding" and digital download of the handout, log in to the members only area or join the MACsWomen organization here: www.macswomen.com/join
If you are in the Metro New York area, Westchester, Connecticut and Rockland areas and would like to join us at our next women in business networking meeting, please preregister your attendance here: www.macswomen.com/events.
Leadership like Martin Luther King Jr.’s is a quality that cannot be taught, but one that must be innate and harnessed. Through his actions, we learn what it takes to be a true leader and catalyst for change. If we were to apply some of the key behaviors every entrepreneur can practice in our daily lives, we should start with these:
1. Have a dream and follow your vision.
Great leaders are also great visionaries. The ability to develop a vision and dream for your life and to let that vision guide you is a powerful asset. Entrepreneurs must never grow weary of articulating their dreams and vision to others, as well as to themselves. We are in the business of big ideas; we must try to be visionaries, and if we can’t then at the least encourage that thinking. As an entrepreneur, you need clearly defined convictions and the courage to see them manifested into reality.
2. Become Impatient.
Within the fight for civic equality, Dr. King accomplished more in less than two decades than a previous 350 years had produced. Great entrepreneurs as great leaders should possess a sense of urgency and refuse to let things take its natural course. In order to truly succeed, one must take a proactive approach and learn to communicate persuasively to bring those goals to life. As leaders within our organizations, it is essential to be the communicators that spark a sense of excitement around projects and inspire others to act now.
3.Be willing to do what you ask of others.
MLK inspired and motivated others to make change through his own actions. In order to advance in any situation, an entrepreneur needs to be a consistent source of stimulation and an example for employees or clients. The willingness to execute and get your hands dirty is a validation of a leader’s credibility. As your company and careers continue to grow, also retain the ability perform tactical duties and not only managerial and strategic responsibilities. TAKE ACTION! A team respects you that much more when you can lead by example and demonstrate your commitment and contribution to the entire unit.
We can learn plenty from the words and examples of Dr. Martin Luther King, whose memory we celebrate today on January 17th. We should live by two of Dr. King’s principles – equality and service. Remember, the more you serve those that work for you or with you and provide them what they need to do their jobs well or better, the greater your reward will be.
Ever heard of the term “elevator pitch”?
Say you get in on an elevator and a potential client asks: “What do you do?” You have at least 30-40 seconds to give that potential client the sales pitch of your life before he/she gets off on the next floor. That, right there, is your elevator pitch - a short speech summarizing who you are, what you do and why your listeners should care.
Sounds fairly simple, right? Nope. If you look at it, you’re basically condensing years of business experience and products into a few IMPACTFUL sentences. Your speech should not only be short, it should be able to answer all the major questions – the what, who and why - and be punchy without being too aggressive.
Following are tips on how you can develop a killer elevator pitch:
Start off strong.
Eighty percent of your pitch’s success will depend on how you craft your opening line. This could be a question or a statement that’ll entice them to listen to you for the full 45 seconds. Remember, you don’t have to tell your entire story in an elevator pitch. You’re halfway to success if you’re able to capture their attention and get them want to know more.
One of the common mistakes of entrepreneurs when answering the BIG question “What do you do?” is giving a vague answer. Don’t start at the macro level and give answers like “I work in the social media industry” or “I’m a social media consultant”.
Instead of giving vague answers, try focusing on the problems you solve: “I basically help people who are struggling to [talk about the problems you solve] and I help them by [talk about how you help them]”. By talking about how your business helps people, you become instantly relatable. Once they’re able to relate, you got them hooked.
Be simple and clear.
The last thing you want when delivering your elevator pitch is to confuse your listeners. Once they get confused, you’ve lost them. Even the most technical and most complex business topics should be broken down to grade-5-level English. Ever read Ernest Hemingway’s books? Notice how simple and clear his sentences are? Your pitch should be like that.
End with a call to action.
Remember, your elevator pitch is simply part of a marketing process offering an impactful summary of your business to get prospects interested, not a sale that you need to close.
Just like any form of marketing, you should end you elevator pitch with a subtle yet compelling call to action. One way to do this is to encourage them to contact you by giving them your business card. You can also book an appointment right there and then if they’re up to it.
Practice, practice, practice.
If you want to convince your listeners, you have to sound confident. Don’t mumble through your speech and never sound as if you are apologizing. The best way for you to be confident is to practice your pitch over and over again. Record it and then listen to it. You can also test deliver it in front of friends or family members.
So practice your elevator pitch now and try it out at the MACs Perfect Pitch during our women in business summit.
Having an email list allows any business to keep in touch with their existing customers and build new relationship with potential ones. The list includes the names and emails of people who agreed to receive weekly newsletters or those who want to keep up to date on the latest company sales, promos and events.
Now, if you’ve been to a lot of expos, conferences, and business events as a vendor you know that attendees are potential customers waiting to be tapped in. And unless you get them to your email list, they’re worth nothing to you.
Make sure that you’re getting the most out of every live event you’re attending. Following are some tips on how to do just that:
1. Prepare the signup form. Make sure that you have signup sheets on the table where you’re displaying your products. A sheet that says that this is for your weekly newsletter or any email campaign you have.
2. Make use of dead time. Make the signup process convenient and make good use of dead time.
While you’re explaining something to potential customers, don’t let them just stand there. Let them jot down their info on your signup sheet. Or if you’re ringing a sale and wrapping the purchase, don’t let your customers stay idly waiting, hand them the signup form. This makes the whole process efficient and effective.
3. Only include necessary fields. If you only need names and emails to build your list, then don’t ask for anything else. Here are some items/fields you shouldn’t miss on your sheet:
4. Follow up. This is very important. After the event, make sure that you add the details of your new subscribers in your database. They should receive an email asking them to confirm their subscription.
This has to happen within a day or two when the event is still fresh on their minds, this way they can easily remember what it’s for and who it’s from.
Over to you..
Any more tips you want to add? Please share them with the MACsWomen community members and readers by commenting below.
“Networking is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organization.” – Adam Small
You have to realize, however, that it does take time and effort to turn contacts from your Rolodex to relationships and connections that last. Following are some tips on how you can effectively connect with people, turn emerging relationships into strategic ones and leverage your network.
Establish regular contact. The key to turning casual contacts into lasting relationships is regular contact. Everyone knows this, but not all know how to do it. Here are some ideas to help you make that connect.
Measure. Always keep records of the people you have meet at events. It can be in a form of an email list, a database or a rolodex. Make an effort to jot down important points such as the date you’ve meet, who made the connection, what’s been discussed, etc.
Building a strong network of connections is not rocket science, but it does take a bit of time and effort. If you apply the tips we have provided above, you’ll soon be growing your own tribe of strong network.
Not so very long ago, I read an informative article from one of our most memorable MACsWomen Connect Summit Keynote speakers, Daymond John, where he spoke about the power of being broke. A golden nugget for women entrepreneurs and startups.
The Shark we love to love, Shark Tank’s Daymond John said this: “Being broke makes people think. It forces creativity and a little unconventional problem solving.” Does any of this sound familiar to you? Well, as an entrepreneur myself who worked in the trenches for years learning, developing and growing the MACsWomen brand, I appreciate this concept. We understand that business ownership can sometimes be challenging and it is a very likely chance that you will run out of money at various stages of your entrepreneurial journey (and I am referring to those of us without a trust-fund or unending supply of cash ready to start our business here) which will usually call for some creative thinking.
When Daymond John spoke at the MACsWomen Connect Summit he shared stories with hundreds of our business women in attendance about his early days as FUBU founder. Back to a time when he lived in Hollis, Queens. One of those stories being the marketing campaign he ran using a photograph he took of LL Cool J wearing his design. Daymond shared how he only had one chance to take the shot, using a back-in-the-day camera, the kind you had to take to the pharmacy to develop. Well, he took the shot and a great shot it was. That picture of a celebrity wearing his product not only boosted the credibility of his brand, but eventually pulled in $350 million in annual sales.
Well, maybe you don’t know a celebrity to take a picture of wearing your product, most of us don't have easy access to celebrities in that way. The wonderful opportunity that awaits business women who invest and take a step up for their businesses is that we create live events where you can present you ideas to our panelists at the next upcoming women in business summit during the "MACs Perfect Pitch" segment or maybe you have a corporation in mind that you’d like to fund your startup idea. Daymond talked about how “They (big corporations) have all the money to throw at things, and they don’t get creative because they aren’t broke.”
As a small business owner, cash flow is crucial to your survival. Be sure that you are staying creative even when you are well past your “broke” spells. To read the article by “Shark Tank's Daymond John on The Business Of Being Broke -- And More” by Forbes staff writer Emily Inverso click here.
Success as an entrepreneur does not come easy, at least not the first time. It involves a lot of missteps, mistakes and failures. And it takes a lot of determination and perseverance to be able to get past those mistakes, learn from them, and then build something better out of them.
The difference between giving up and persisting can be as simple as practicing the five golden tips below:
1. Treat every customer like they are special. You don’t get to treat one customer better because his/her purchase is 100 dollars more than the other customer.
You give more services or more products to someone who pays more, but the quality of those products or services should be the same regardless of the amount paid. This is how you get customer loyalty.
2. Be an expert of your business. Customers expect that you know everything about the business you’re running, so when they ask you questions you should be always ready to answer. They assume that you know how to do what they’re paying you to do.
Even though you don’t know the answers to some questions (no one can know everything) avoid answering “I’m sorry, I don’t know that”. You should give answers along the lines of “Give me a moment to verify something, and then I’ll get back to you with the info” or “Let me check that information for you for just a moment”.
3. Always keep your customers’ interests in mind no matter what you do. Success begins with having the right mindset.
Being an entrepreneur is basically about improving certain aspects of life of your customers. When their life becomes easy, yours become easy too. When they’re happy, you’re happy too.
4. Make the best of technology. Equip yourself with the latest software that can not only improve your productivity but also make your service or products more accessible and convenient to use to your customers.
Have a website with a responsive template so that customers can easily view on their mobile device. Our presenter, Ellen Williams spoke about this at the MACs Perfect Pitch event during her mobile marketing presentation. Always have your phone with you in case customers/clients need to contact you. Offer customers different modes of payment – cash, credit card, debit card, online transfers, and electronic checks. There are several payment websites and software that let you do this.
5. Go the extra mile. You don’t want your business to become like the vast majority of the businesses out there. Standardised, ubiquitous but never the purple cow. You need to stand out. And one of the most effective ways to achieve that is to always offer your customers something extra.
Ever heard the pizza story of Tony Hsieh?
"One night, he and some vendors returned to a hotel room late. Someone in the group was craving pizza and was told room service had ended. As a joke, Hsieh suggested calling Zappos. You can probably guess the end of the story—even though Zappos doesn't sell pizza, the customer service rep found a list of local pizza places that would deliver to the hotel."
Well, this doesn’t mean that you need to cater to all the demands of your customers, but if it’s the first time, it’s okay to do so. Tell your customer that as a sign of goodwill, you’ll do it but also remind them that they need to contact the pizza company next time they want pizza, not you.
Over to you..
So what do you think of the tips above? Are you already implementing them? If you have more tips or ideas to add, please share them below.