At one time or another, we have all questioned whether we have what it takes to make it in business. There are countless checklists and personality assessments available online to supposedly help you determine your natual business aptitude. They can be fun, thought-provoking, and interesting, but it would be best to ignore the results. Most of these tests ask questions like “are you an optimist?” or, “are you a good leader?” They pose the cliché and superficial questions “are you creative?” and “do you work well with people?”
No one is an optimist all of the time and being overly optimistic at the wrong time can actually lead to making poor business decisions. A successful businesswoman often needs to be a team player—or serve as an inspiration—and not insist on always being in the lead. Having an open mind is far more important than being a “creative” person and rather than claiming to be a people person, it is much more useful to have a good understanding of the people you will be working with.
All people cannot be lumped into one category, so being a “people person” is not a requirement in business. More important is the ability to put your personal feelings aside to make logical, fact-based business decisions—not emotional decisions to please other people.
Three Qualities to Develop
There are three very simple qualities entrepreneurs should have—or be willing to develop—that are meaningful assets for starting and running a business successfully. Notice the key word here is “develop,” not “already have”—the desire, willingness, and ability to learn new skills and habits can contribute to any businesswoman’s success.
One of these qualities is an attitude you can adopt, one is a skill that can be easily learned, and the third is a personality trait few of us come by naturally but which can be mastered with a little practice.
- Best Business Attitude: A refusal to quit when things get tough.
- Most Valuable Skill: Networking. Networking. Networking.
- Strongest Personality Trait: Having thick skin (being objective).
An optimist might look at the bright side of things and serve as an inspiration to keep pressing forward, but a pessimist may assess things more realistically and make less risky decisions. Either way, it is not necessarily how you see a situation, but how you respond to a situation that will either hinder or facilitate your success in business. A true entrepreneurial attitude requires refusing to quit when things get tough.
Even the most successful entrepreneurs have to do things that they are not happy about in the short-term but are glad they did in the long-run. In fact, some people who see an accomplishment as less than ideal may work harder to achieve even better results. Refusing to give up on something should not be confused with just being stubborn—the key difference between being stubborn and being tenacious is that stubbornness stands in denial of a problem refusing to accept a need for change, while a “can do” attitude works through problems by considering a variety of solutions.
Few things will help you establish and grow your business faster than a creating a strong network. No one person knows it all or can do it all, so if you isolate yourself and your thoughts, you isolate your business as well. Having access to a variety of resources can increase your efficiency and knowledge, your business’ publicity, and your chances of succeeding.
If you do not have much face-to-face contact with others in your field, you can still work on building a business network in other ways. Start by joining professional groups online, developing press releases, brochures, and other written communications.
Another great way to build networks is to simply participate in forums, e-mail discussion lists, and chat rooms that somehow relate to your business or the type of customer you want to attract. Use personal and other social opportunities
to network yourself and your business and always have a business card
handy when an opportunity to make business connections presents itself.
If you take everything personally you will have a much harder time accepting ideas and change, and you will never get the most out of your business or your employees. Having a thick skin is crucial to success, as you will need to be willing to listen to new ideas and actively solicit the opinions of others. Always treasure new ideas and opposing opinions, don’t rebuke them.
The ability to accept constructive criticism will help your business stay on the cutting edge and avoid potential problems you might not be able to see on your own. By showing that you value the opinions and advice of others, you will appear more approachable to your peers, employees, and customers.
Even if you do not actually follow others’ suggestions, the more you ask what they think, the more valued they will feel and the more loyalty they will have to you and your business. In other words, simply by soliciting input from other people you create a positive mini-public relations
network. People will talk about you and how your business is run so you should help them find positive things to talk about.
- Networking Beginnings: Ask others about their challenges, successes, and if they have any advice about your own business ideas. This is the first step to begin building your network.
- Do Not Give Up: When they say you are crazy, listen to their concerns, but don’t just give up on your idea. Instead, reassess its value from other points of view.
To evaluate if you have what it takes to make it in business you do not need to answer questions in self-assessment quizzes; instead, you should be asking your own questions. Talk to other business women, peers, colleagues, family, and friends—anyone you might be able to learn from. Just be sure to listen to the answers with more than just your ears and remember, it helps to have a thick skin.
By Amanda Peterson, Enlightened Digital
The marketing landscape is nothing near what it was 10 years ago, or even 5. As technology continues to evolve and expand its capabilities, marketing has transformed into an industry that requires constant learning and adaptability. It demands an increased aptitude for technical skills, so it’s vital that marketing professionals hone their technical skill set. TEKsystems Digital reports however, that 95 percent of surveyed marketing leaders have been negatively impacted by the lack of qualified talent.
With technology advancing at rapid speeds, it might seem like there’s a lot to master— but there are also some great ways to get your technical expertise up to speed quickly. Here are four of the top technical skills that marketers need to learn.
1. DATABASE QUERYING
Learning how to run database queries is one of the most important technical skills a marketer today can have, as it enables them to understand how customers and prospects are behaving. Most companies use SQL-based databases, which are used to query, insert, update and modify data. For example, if a marketer wants to know the average transaction value within a certain time frame for a user within a certain demographic, having the ability to perform database queries means they can answer these questions on their own.
Learning to query a database independently means that marketers can consistently understand how their customers are changing and reacting to a product. It allows marketers to make data-driven decisions, make decisions faster and unpack key insights that lead to more efficient and effective marketing.
As digital marketing tactics become more prominent, marketers can benefit from learning some coding basics. HTML provides the structure of a web page and outlines the elements each page will contain. For example, HTML might specify that a web page contains a site title, navigation bar, sidebar and content in the form of page copy or a blogroll.
Whether it be writing blog posts or designing a new product page, many marketing roles involve a great deal of online content creation. Learning HTML will expedite the process of getting that content set up correctly, and looking good. You no longer need to wait for a developer to tweak an email template, format your landing page or make an important update on your website. Even if your role never requires you to write code, being familiar with HTML, at the very least, can make cross-team communication much easier.
3. MOBILE VIDEO PRODUCTION
Online video marketing has grown significantly in 2018, as it’s been popular for both consumers and brands alike. As social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube expand their features for livestream and short-form video, many brands have recognized and capitalized on its potential to boost consumer engagement. As Amber van Moessner, Director of Content at Livestream, states, “Audiences spend more time with live video, and are willing to show up, participate, and join the conversation on social media more so than with VOD (video on demand) or blog content.”
Marketers that master video production for mobile platforms can ensure that these videos are as polished and compelling as possible. Learning how to produce this style of content can put brands ahead of their competitors and capture the attention of today’s mobile-focused consumer.
While you don’t have to be an SEO (search engine optimization) profesional, it’s important to have a general knowledge about how SEO operates and how it relates to marketing. Organic search results have the potential to be much more powerful than paid ads, especially if they make it to the first page. This is vital for marketers to improve their brand recognition or generate leads. In fact, 57 percent of B2B marketers stated that SEO generates more leads than any other marketing initiative.
Best practices for SEO are constantly evolving, so this is one skill that might require consistent refining. Marketers who do understand SEO best practices however, can create content that increase engagement, site traffic and sales conversions.
By Leigh Elmore. Leigh is editor-at-large for ABWA’s Women in Business Magazine. He lives and works in Kansas City, MO.
Flashy dribbler for the Harlem Globetrotters takes it to her male competitors. If you play for the Harlem Globetrotters, then you have to have a nickname. Many people “of a certain age” can remember some nicks of the Globetrotters’ past: “Meadowlark” Lemon and Fred “Curly” Neal, for example.
Well, move over guys, because these days the three traveling squads of Harlem Globetrotters boast players with the names such as “Champ” Thompson, “Ice” Hrynko, “Torch” George, “TNT” Lister, “Mighty” Mortimer, “Swish” Young and Briana “Hoops” Green, the seven women currently listed on the Globetrotters’ roster.
Green is the 15th woman to don the red, white and blue Globetrotters uniform, beginning with Lynette Woodard who joined the team in 1985.
“I first saw the Globetrotters when I was seven years old,” Green told ABWA recently. “I didn’t know who they were, but I certainly was entertained and impressed. But, at that young age I already knew that I wanted to play basketball professionally.”
During that time period Green was regularly playing pick-up ball with her older brother and other kids in the neighborhood of her hometown, Lexington, KY. She later went on to star on her high school team, Lexington Catholic, and helped the team garner two state championships on her way to playing college ball at the University of Texas-El Paso. Green would then play professionally in the Czech Republic, Spain and Mexico.
However, in 2017 she felt like she needed a change. “I was trying to figure out if I wanted to continue to play professionally overseas,” said Green. “It just so happened that I posted a video on Facebook of me dribbling, and the video went viral. Everybody was tagging the Globetrotters and how I should be on the team so a recruiter saw it and he invited me to try out.”
And the rest as we say is history. She was invited to join the team where she fills one of the roles as ball-handler and flashy dribbler. Now in her third year with the Globetrotters, she noted that she had played against boys from an early age and, “I played on a lot of co-ed teams,” along the way as well.
“As far as my dribbling ability, I think I can compete with the best of them. The dribbling part always came naturally,” she said. It’s the Globetrotters’ entertaining repertoire of tricks that she needed to practice. “I do have to work on it.”
Since her debut with the Globetrotters, Green has learned a lot from the teammates she calls brothers. Being a Globetrotter is all about providing entertainment—about mixing real, competitive basketball with the signature tricks and routines that fans have come to know and love. At the same time, it’s also about service and using the iconic Globetrotters brand for good.
“We are known for being ambassadors of good will,” she said. “It’s about being good role models for kids.” She says some of her favorite moments are talking to kids after the games. “I’m used to little girls looking up to another girl, but when a younger guy comes up to me and tells me that I’m their favorite basketball player, I’m like, ‘Yeah, we can do this!’” she said.
She and her teammates visit a lot of schools and hospitals as part of the Globetrotters’ goodwill efforts.
The Harlem Globetrotters have always been enthralling and accessible. But, by including female athletes in their engaging routines, they’ve anchored a new demographic: Girls. The women on their active roster have become role models for young women everywhere. While leagues like the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) also showcase women’s basketball, playing on the Globetrotters gives Hoops and her female teammates a unique chance to match up against talented male athletes.
“It’s important that everyone knows that women are more than capable of competing at that level,” she said, “not just with basketball, with anything.”
By Ted Janusz, MBA, CSP. Ted is a Certified Speaking Professional who has delighted audiences for more than 5,000 hours, in 49 of the 50 United States, in Canada from Halifax to Vancouver, in Australia, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Learn more at www.januspresentations.com.
Do you need to write copy for a brochure or sales letter? I teach a copywriting workshop, so just for fun, I signed on to edit and write brochures and sales letters as a freelancer on Fiverr.com.
And it has been a blast! I have had the enjoyable opportunity to work with fun individuals all over the world, from a health and wellness practitioner in Ireland to a tour operator in Russia.
These professionals know their business, as I am sure that you do, too. But, as we shall soon see, that might actually be a detriment when trying to explain to others what you do. When composing a brochure or sales letter to describe your organization, avoid these four mistakes:
- Being “you” focused rather than “they” focused. Of course, you understand your business, and are anxious to tell others everything about what you do. Guess what? They don’t care! (At least, not yet.) The first thing you need to do is to write text that relates to them. (Notice how I did that from the first sentence in this article.)
- Providing too much detail. With a brochure, provide just enough information so that the future customer will want to contact you to get more details. One of the best ways to do this is to start with a story. And make the story be about them, such as structuring the brochure or sales letter with: Is this happening to you? If so, here is the solution.
- The curse of knowledge. You can be too close to your operation, so you cannot unlearn what you already know. Or the only way you can explain what you do is through the use of intimidating jargon. Use simple English instead. Adults do not like to admit when they do not understand. And a confused mind will never buy.
- Not “chunking” the information. 79% of your prospects and customers, when they go to the Internet, do not read; they scan instead. So for a brochure or sales letter, do not write lengthy prose; use short paragraphs, bullet points, and lots of white space. One of the exercises I have the class participate in is to write a random nine-digit number. Then I ask the class members if they could remember that number a week from now. Most say they could not. But then I ask them to insert a hyphen after the third and the fifth digit. Now, rather than a nine-digit number, they have a Social Security number which only has three “chunks” of information, making it far easier to remember.
If you avoid these four mistakes when composing your brochure or sales letter, you can and will get the results you desire.
CONTRIBUTING WRITER, LEIGH ELMORE. LEIGH SERVES AS THE EDITOR -AT-LARGE FOR ABWA’S WOMEN IN BUSINESS MAGAZINE AND ACHIEVE NEWSLETTERS.
Pioneering Astronomer Nancy G. Roman was “Mother of the Hubble Space Telescope. Nancy Roman knew from a very early age that she wanted to be an astronomer. Her greatest challenge was convincing the world that she could be a very good one. Overcoming traditional gender roles in the scientific community was almost as daunting a challenge as paving the way for the Hubble Space Telescope, an achievement for which she is most remembered. Roman, known as the “Mother of Hubble,” passed away on Christmas Day 2018 at the age of 93. She was NASA’s first chief of astronomy and one of the first women executives for the agency. Her achievements will live on
Her family moved around the country frequently when she was growing up. Roman cited both of her parents’ interest in the natural world—and her time beneath the clear night skies of Reno, Nevada—as an inspiration for her early interest in astronomy. Fueled by a fascination for the stars, she began her own astronomy club with a group of neighborhood girls when she was 11 years old. Though she knew she wanted to be an astronomer by the time she entered high school, her guidance counselor, who belittled her desire to take mathematics instead of Latin, discouraged her.
A promising student at Swarthmore College, Roman still had to ignore warnings from the Dean of Women and other teachers about studying science, ultimately earning her B.A. in Astronomy in 1946. She later recalled that the only encouragement she was given during her undergraduate years was by a teacher who told her, “I usually try to dissuade girls from majoring in physics but I think maybe you might make it,” National Geographic has reported
Roman went on to receive her Ph.D. in Astronomy at the University of Chicago in 1949, where she worked for six more years at the Yerkes Observatory as an instructor and assistant professor.
Seeing little chance for tenure as a woman, Roman took a position at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. where she eventually won the trust of her peers and began to work in radio astronomy, geodetics, and microwave spectroscopy.
She attended a lecture on the origin of the moon given at the newly formed National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the late 1950s where she was presented with the opportunity to work for NASA and set up a program in space astronomy.
As she told National Geographic, “The idea of coming in with an absolutely clean slate to set up a program I thought was likely to influence astronomy for 50 years was just a challenge that I couldn’t turn down. That’s all there is to it.”
She dedicated her time at NASA to promoting, initiating and supporting in-space observation, from satellites to the Scout probe. In 1964, her name was even given to a newly discovered asteroid, 2516 Roman.
But Roman’s crowning achievement at NASA was perhaps the greatest gift ever given to astrophysics: the Hubble Space Telescope, the groundbreaking satellite observatory that has generated more than 1.2 million observations and 14,000 scientific papers. Roman tirelessly laid the foundation that eventually made NASA’s space-based observatory a reality.
She retired from NASA in 1979 having prepared the way for Hubble’s eventual launch in 1990. “My work helped others explore the evolution of the galaxy,” she told National Geographic. “I did not let the fact that I was a woman deter me.”
Source: National Geographic, Dec. 31, 2018
Friends can challenge us, confuse us, and sometimes, we might wonder why we bother. But friendship is as important to our wellbeing as eating right and exercising. What’s more, friendships help us grow through each year of our lives.
The friends we meet in school teach us how to be patient, wait our turn, reach out, and try new hobbies. When we move into young adulthood we learn more about taking responsibility, finding a career path, and seeking out people as mentors.
As we continue into our 40s and beyond, we learn to weather the ups and downs in life, and once again friends provide a sounding board and place for us to grow. Friendship is key to our success with all our relationships and it can create a sense of purpose in our lives.
Friends Help Us Interact With Just About Everyone
The people we bring into our lives as friends will show us how to forgive, laugh, and make conversation. The basic components of any relationship, from our marriage to our coworkers, are all founded in friendship. We learn how to interact with people because of our friends, even the ones that are opposite from us or share a different worldview.
We don’t just talk with others but learn from them. We understand the process of meeting new acquaintances and finding out what makes them tick. These people help push us out of our comfort zones while still providing a safe emotional space for us to be totally ourselves.
Friends Keep Us Mentally and Physically Strong
One of the most overlooked benefits of friendship is that it helps keep our minds and bodies strong. In fact, it’s as important to our physical health as eating well and keeping fit. A recent Harvard study concluded that having solid friendships in our life even helps promote brain health.
Friends helps us deal with stress, make better lifestyle choices that keep us strong, and allow us to rebound from health issues and disease more quickly.
Friendship is equally important to our mental health. One study even suggested spending time with positive friends actually changes our outlook for the better. That means we’re happier when we choose to spend time with happy people. (All the more reason to leave that toxic friendship behind.)
Friends Help Us Weather Lonely Times
Friends don’t completely cure loneliness (that’s a common myth) but they do help us during lonely times. We learn how to accept kindness and also to reach out when we need help. Those painful times when we might be without friends also help us to appreciate the friendships that come in and out of our lives.
Having a steady stream of friends lets us know that some friendships won’t last forever but each one brings something special. We learn more about ourselves and how important it is to have someone, just one person, who knows and understands you. This is the key to coming out of loneliness.
Friends Improve the Quality of Our Lives
Friends can change our value system so we learn to inject more meaning into our lives.
In spending time with friends, we fill up our lives with great conversation, heartfelt caring and support, and laugh out loud fun. When we fall on hard times, friends are there to put things in perspective and help us. When we have success, they’re smiling at our good fortune. With down-to-earth, positive people in our life we will be more mindful of gratitude and doing nice things for others. We don’t just live when we have healthy friendships, we thrive.
BY STAFF AUTHOR
UPDATED SEPTEMBER 23, 2017