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Entrepreneurs = Rock Stars

August 24, 2016

Business advice and wisdom for entrepreneurs, small businesses and female business owners

davematthewsWe all have our favorite rock stars. If you follow me you know I have been a Dave Matthews Band fan since 1999 when I saw him at Woodstock in my hometown of Rome, New York. I couldn’t pass up attending this iconic rock and roll concert in my backyard. I must admit it was one of the coolest experiences mainly because of how many great rock stars you could listen and dance to over a weekend. Since that moment I have lived out my rock and roll self by annually attending one or more #DMB concerts a year (sometimes more) and listening to his live music when I work at my desk “everyday.”

Rock-and-RollRock stars are known for displaying strong solid beats that grab the attention of others and entice their audience. Women entrepreneurs might not consider themselves to be rock stars in their profession but many of them are; they just don’t look at themselves that way. Female business owners create their own solid beats, imaginative scripts and colorful actions that can be used to attract customers, the marketplace and media. Female business owners don’t always feel comfortable being in the limelight but having a spotlight shown on your company, allowing your fans to learn more about you and making your business name memorable are essential functions of your public relations strategy.

You must see yourself as not just another businesswomen sitting behind her desk doing work but rocking out strong vibes about your personal story and passion for being in business to send electric vibes through the marketplace to stand out. Rock stars don’t sit in their dressing room and never come out into the light, they love the light because they can shine, share their talents and elevate an audience of fans.

itsonlyrockToday reflect on how much you see yourself as a entrepreneurial rock star. Do you give yourself enough opportunities to shine in front of an audience or do you keep yourself planted in your office? Do you create attract, colorful, lively marketing materials to illuminate your personal brand or do you use standard colors because it is easier? Do you share your unique business story with the media or do you hide from attention?

If you need help in this area, we have a female expert coming to our Annual Retreat for Women Entrepreneurs to help you get out on stage and shine your light! In the words of Elvis Presley, “Rock and Roll music, if you like it, if you feel it, you can’t help but move to it;” so why not start thinking of ways to shake up your message and your audience to the beat of exciting new business sounds and message.

Monday Motivation: Expanding and Evolving Towards Success

August 22, 2016

Monday Motivation for women entrepreneurs and small business owners

nevergoback

The following quote moved me this morning to write to you, “Wisdom is a lifesaver in the manic society, where so many people complain that they have no time to stop and think.” As I started my busy work week with a morning meditation, I heard Oprah say, “Success is about expanding and evolving.” It seemed serendipitous that she would say that since “Evolve” is the theme of this year’s annual Retreat for women entrepreneurs and “Expand” is a component of what I hope our events do for the women who attend – expand their connections to new people and their minds to ways of conducting business.

As the rustling leaves and cool wind gathered with me this morning during the meditation it also reminded me of this time of year when as women entrepreneurs we might feel the “rustling” of our energy to get back into full action as summer winds down and our personal lives transform back into a normal pace. It’s time to slowly evolve from the hot breezes of this summer to the cool dreams of the new season.

Lodge-morningIt is no coincidence that I placed our annual conference right after Labor Day to help them shift into a different mindset and higher business energy level during this transition period. I know focusing on this big event gets me excited for the fall and what I can accomplish during the last quarter of the business year.

Today as the cool breezes, rustling leaves and end-of-summer tasks greet you, I hope you take time to meditate on what you need to do to expand and evolve this fall before a new business year arrives in January. As the leaves change from green to gold, your mindset and attentions for success can change too. Have a blessed business day.

Reality of Our Business Numbers

August 17, 2016

Business advice and inspiration for women entrepreneurs and small business owners

BlackandWhitePlanning

Yesterday as I sat in a beautiful soft purple room at a light oak table with three other business professionals I was reminded of the seriousness of being in business. Our conversation shifted from introductions on why we became entrepreneurs to the truth of what being an entrepreneur means including the green we make and the black and white documents needed to start and grow our companies.

The ethereal background was a perfect setting for a conversation with a financial advisor, attorney and accountant on the necessary components, documents and decisions women entrepreneurs need to make regularly to start, grow, protect and eventually sell or retire from their entities. I know taking time to update legal and financial documents isn’t always top of mind for me. I prefer to work at the business of helping my customers and marketing them and my company.

Every time we produce a financial or legal program during a regular regional event, attendance is low compared to subjects on marketing, sales and social media. Yet the backbone of a stable business is its financial status and its legal protection. Yesterday’s conversation reminded me why I always place a financial roundtable as a highlight of our annual retreat. It’s because the education is essential for small businesses to sustain themselves and expand.

If you aren’t planning on taking time out of your schedule for some “Financial or Legal 101” this year, decide to come to our annual Retreat to gain knowledge needed to start, grow or leave your business. Although we want to live in a purplish dream like state with our hopes and visions of a beautiful happy entity, we must dedicate time to also live in the black and white bottom line.

Today’s blog post is to ask you on a scale of one to ten how important your financial and legal duties are to your business and how regularly you pay attention to them? Has this summer been a slower one for you? If so, have you thought about working on your business plan or setting time to talk to your attorney, financial planner, insurance agent or CPA? Should today be the day you commit to focus on these strategic areas more?

I was very inspired after yesterday’s meeting to get some paperwork updated especially my business plan and legal documents. I hope you are motivated after leaving our annual event and listening to these sound advisors. Business is more than the soft hues of success; it is also the stark reality of numbers.

LodgeFrontViewInsideI hope if you are a woman entrepreneur interested in our Annual Retreat, you take a look at this special video clip showing you inside the event. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mD2-PRBsj1Y

Using Live Video to Share Your Message

August 15, 2016

Business Wisdom, Advice and Inspiration

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This week I took a plunge into the use of video messaging after studying the effects of video on a couple other sites. I have heard about the use of video for a couple years but somehow never ventured into using it to promote my business or events on a regular basis. Maybe the adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is true when it comes to a 22 year woman entrepreneur abandoning the traditional way she marketed her business for two decades. I’m happy to report that if you study something long enough, you can pounce on the opportunity to apply it to your own company and life.

There are many new ways to post video messaging – Facebook Live, Iphone Video uploaded to social media sites like Facebook or placing a welcoming message on your website. As my son was composing his own I-phone video for a group internship report, I followed his lead and posted my own I-phone video welcoming women to my annual New York State Conference for businesswomen. To see it visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/tracy.higginbotham.7/videos/10209476696929306/. If you happen to be a woman entrepreneur I hope the video moves you to join me at our annual convention on September 14th. If you aren’t, I hope it inspires you to use your I-phone video capability to share a message on your own Facebook page.

You can also have someone tape you in a video like this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mD2-PRBsj1Y done at our Retreat a couple years ago. The interviewer is a professional entrepreneur named Deborah J. Cabral with her own TV show called Organization Motivation. She interviewed me for her show as a way to promote one of her partner businesses. What kind of connections do you have in the marketing world? Should you be working on a collaborative partnership to get yourself more PR?

The only way we will ever advance in marketing in an online world is to investigate, learn and experiment with new forms to get our messages out there. I challenge you today to consider using more forms of technology to attract your audience and share your event or business news. Believe me, “You can teach an old dog new tricks!”

What’s Your Moment of Business Commitment?

August 11, 2016

Business advice and wisdom for entrepreneurs

commitment

“What was your moment of commitment to your business,” was a question asked to three women entrepreneurs yesterday. The women answered the question with unique answers. One said, “It was when I started my business in debt and I knew I had no choice but to make it financially successful because I owed money.” Another one replied, “The moment I realized I didn’t have a true mission and vision for my company and it was imperative to create one to take the business to the next level.” The third one said, “When I added staff and was committed to their financial future as well as my own.”

I thought about my answer silently as the conversation continued. Would you know how to answer that question if I asked you right this minute to tell when you knew without a doubt you were committed to the financial success of your business? I’m sure your answer is as unique as the women at yesterday’s meeting.

As women business owners, we possess passions that propel us to start our companies. But as you know entrepreneurship is not easy. The road is not even, the vistas ahead unknown, the turns and curves unexpected; but at some point when we are driving down the business highway about to make a decision to get off, we stay the course. It might be because we have an “Aha” moment – a moment of commitment – when we discover we need to step up our game to keep our businesses alive.

LodgeandpondshotfromsideAs much as we need passion to keep running our companies, we need something more important – profitability. We must commit to making our enterprises that much stronger financially. It is one reason we have a Financial Roundtable at our annual Women TIES Retreat. We discuss pivotal financial moments to help women business owners recognize them and prosper from them.

Today’s business post is meant to inspire you to think about the recent or past moment when you committed to making your business better. It might have been when you decided there was nothing else you wanted to do or nowhere else you wanted to be in your career. Perhaps it was when you were tired of not making enough money, taking on the wrong clients, or keeping things too status quo to excel; those were your moments of commitment. Write them down. Keep them visible. Let them inspire you. If you don’t have one, maybe today is the day to have your moment.

Commitment is a promise, a pledge, or an obligation to something. Embrace your moments of commitment to your profession, your business, and your entrepreneurial life and make it financially better.

3 Ways to Survive in Business for 21 Years

August 8, 2016

Business advice and wisdom for women entrepreneurs and small business owners

inspirationalquote

As I woke up this morning ready to face another work week, I flipped over my desk calendar to see today’s date – August 8, 2016. A beautiful summer has a way of making every day feel like a holiday but this morning was one. Seeing the date, my memory floated back to August 8, 1995 when I drove to Syracuse City Hall to sign up for a DBA (Doing Business As) for my first company Five Star Events. Today 21 years ago, I became a woman entrepreneur. Tomorrow I start my 22nd year in business with not one but two companies and one with a unique sports division of its own.

In a Small Business Administration article, the statistics state, “About two-thirds of businesses with employees survive at least 2 years and about half survive at least 5 years. As one would expect, after the first few relatively volatile years, survival rates flatten out.” It is true, I believe after starting two companies and talking to thousands of women entrepreneurs over my 21 year career of supporting and promoting women that if you can make it to year 3, you can make it beyond.

What I really wanted to share with you today in this post are the top three things I believe contributed to my success in business for 21 years to help anyone reading this blog.

phonecalls* When you think you have marketed your business enough, market some more! Entrepreneurs start businesses to lend their “trade or expertise” to the marketplace. They don’t understand if they want to survive they must make marketing and sales a top priority. Most start-ups don’t have the money to add marketing or sales teams to their company so it means as the entrepreneur, we must fit marketing and sales calls into our schedules. I have learned to love marketing and it has been the catalyst for my companies’ sustainability over time.

books* Learn, learn and then when you think you know everything, learn some more. I had a career in higher education before becoming a female business owner so I appreciated the value of education in my life. The only way I have grown my companies has been educating myself as often as I can at annual conferences like the one we are producing for women entrepreneurs on September 14th, listening to online tutorials, reading blogs, taking courses and continuing my education in a master’s program. Never stop learning.

startline* Take more risks than your heart can bear. A new door never just swings open by itself with a pile of gold on the other side. The door opens when you take the risk to open it, step through, make tough decisions to expand your horizon or opportunities and see what is on the other side. I have found walking through the doors of entrepreneurship three times that each time my life has been elevated by the experience and the people I’ve met.

I am excited to start the first day of my 22nd year in entrepreneurship tomorrow with some lofty, new goals of my own. You never know what’s waiting for you unless you take that step forward and are willing to try! Have a blessed business day today entrepreneurs.

Life Lessons from an Olympic Dream

August 4, 2016

Inspiration and wisdom

2016SummerOlympics

My blog posts don’t often begin with these words, “Don’t laugh at what I’m about to share with you,” but today I feel it is necessary since I’m sharing a personal story of my own short lived Olympic dreams since Saturday marks the beginning of the Olympic games in Rio. For sixteen days, American will focus their attention on the international world as elite athletes from all over the globe compete for Olympic Gold.

In 1972 after watching Mark Spitz win seven gold medals at the Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, I turned to my stepfather and said, “I want to start training for the Olympics too.” I had been swimming since I was 5 years old (I was 8 in 1972) so I thought I was a pro. We lived on Lake Delta in Rome, New York so I had the means to swim every day if I wanted. Enthusiastically he said, “Okay, I’ll coach you.” I’m positive now he knew his coaching career would be short lived but he didn’t express it.

So for the next two weeks, I swam across the cove on the lake twice a day building up my Olympic muscles. One night at dinner, I said to my coach, “I don’t want to be an Olympic swimmer anymore. Is that okay?” He smiled (or smirked I’m not sure which) and said “Sure Tracy it’s your dream.”

I know what you are thinking, what does this story have to do with besides getting excited for another Summer Olympics? I’ll tell you what I learned and what I hope you walk away with after hearing this story:

* You must be a dreamer to start anything. Whether you are beginning a new career, a new business or taking up a new endeavor. You must dream and believe you can do it before you ever even try!

* Becoming an Olympic athlete, like becoming an entrepreneur, means it is easy to set the dream in action but when time goes on and you lose passion, get tired or aren’t really prepared to dedicate your heart and soul to it, you can fail or at least change your mind about proceeding forward. To do anything really big takes sheer will, training, focus and determination.

* When you realize something you started isn’t working, it is okay to walk away if you have thought about it thoroughly. It only took me two weeks to realize I was caught up in the Olympic spirit and the glory of gold to realize that was why I wanted to become an Olympian.

* As a 22 year woman entrepreneur with two successful businesses, I have proof that I can start something and stick with it uplifting me when I think back to my Olympic fail. Not all dreams work out; but many do.

TamikaCatchingsOlympicsI hope you turn on the Olympics and cheer on the male and female athletes competing for gold. As a new member of an Adult-Learn-To-Crew team, I’ll be cheering on crew this year in the Olympics and of course every female athlete in every sport. If you happen to catch a shimmer of something sparkling in the air above Rio, it could be my Olympic dream from 1972. I say, “Keep Dreaming!”

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