Monthly Archives: July 2016

Information About Personal Branding Tips for Women in Business

If you have an online presence, you have a personal brand. Just like a corporate brand, every status update, tweet, blog post and photo you share becomes a part of your cumulative image. Anyone who views your social profiles — be it a colleague, an employer or a potential business partner — can form an opinion about you based on what’s there. That’s why so many of today’s professionals invest time in building and curating an authentic presence that highlights their best qualities.

“Social and mobile technologies continue to reshape how we interact, communicate and glean insights,” said Seeta Hariharan, general manager and group head of TCS Digital Software & Solutions Group. “These same technologies provide an opportunity for you to shape your message and take ownership of how people, customers and businesses perceive you.”

For women in particular, a strong personal brand can open the door to new business and career opportunities. Smart female professionals know that closing the gender gap in the workplace begins with supporting your female colleagues, and putting yourself out there is the best way to make important networking connections with other women in business, said Gabrielle Wood, Ph.D. and adjunct faculty member at Kaplan University.

“As female leaders climb the ladder, they often find themselves among a few women in upper-management positions,” Kaplan said. “Personal branding provides an opportunity for them to gain support by connecting with other female leaders.”

“Women in business, and particularly women in tech, have become incredibly influential allies,” added Lori Wright, chief marketing officer of BlueJeans video communication platform. “Women professionals have more opportunities than ever before, and a strong network can open up opportunities in areas you may never imagine alone.”

Mou Mukherjee, director of marketing at Aruba S.p.A.’s .Cloud top-level domain registrar, noted that women in business can learn a lot from each other. Sharing your own experience through personal branding can help you find mentors and other female professionals who can play a vital role in your life, she said.

“Women can be your biggest advocates because they have overcome challenges themselves,” Mukherjee told Business News Daily. “There are some common issues that women may face in their careers; however, each will take a slightly different path, and I think there’s a lot to be learned in those nuances of female character.”

Whether they’re just starting their careers or looking to advance, here are a few important things for women in business to keep in mind when they’re building their personal brands.

Let others know where you stand
Who you are and what you value are important parts of your personal brand, Kaplan said. She said that you should share your ideas, advice and opinions on professional subjects via social media. This allows readers to get to know your strengths, where you stand and what to expect from you, she said.

“This can pique the interest of others in your talents, leading to invitations to engage in professional activities that match your interests and competencies,” Kaplan said.

Get involved in your community
Whether it’s a digital forum or an in-person networking event, devote some time to causes and conversations that matter to you on a personal and professional level, said Hariharan.

“By strengthening your greater network, you can exchange ideas, find a sounding board and sometimes a support system among those who understand the benefits and challenges and can empathize on multiple levels,” she said.

Involvement can also mean talking to other women in your industry and asking them for professional advice, said Amy Callahan, co-founder and chief client officer of Collective Bias, a platform that connects brands and consumers through influencer-generated social content.

“Business today operates at light speed, so having connections is a huge asset,” Callahan said. “I find people, and women in particular, are happy to share knowledge as long as it’s not proprietary information. So not only does your personal brand benefit your organization, but the relationships your brand allows you to build can become critical when looking for that next opportunity.”

Project confidence and a sense of belonging
Connie DeWitt, senior vice president of product management at financial software company Adaptive Insights, said women in male-dominated work environments often feel like it’s not really “their” culture. This sense of feeling like an outsider can really put a chip in your confidence, but DeWitt emphasized the importance of working past that, and assuring yourself that you do deserve a seat at the table.

“Stop feeling like a fish out of water and just believe it’s your water, too,” DeWitt said. “It’s not just about establishing yourself as a leader and building a strong personal brand, it’s about believing that you belong and have truly earned your stripes. That what gives you the confidence to propel your career forward.”

Believe in what you’re doing
Savvy social media users can spot a disingenuous online presence from a mile away, and if you’re pretending to be interested in something when you’re not, they’ll figure it out. Wright noted that authentic, genuine passion is essential to a credible personal brand.

“You can’t fake passion for long, so make sure you believe in what you are doing, whether that is the company you build, or the company you work for,” Wright said. “You can pick up a lot of skills in a variety of roles, but the only way to ever achieve your personal greatness is to find the role that piques your passion.”

Make your actions count as much as your words
Although your digital profiles are the easiest way for new contacts to learn about you, your personal brand goes beyond what you post online, Mukherjee said. It’s also about what you do in your everyday life.

“When it comes to personal brand, people immediately think about writing articles or having a personal website,” she told Business News Daily. “While all of this can reinforce and amplify who you are, ultimately, your personal brand is a combination of all your real-life interactions. It’s about how you build relationships, how you respond to situations, and the impressions you leave behind.”

Top 10 Popular Businesses Founded by Women

Women are natural-born leaders, so it’s no surprise that women have founded so many of today’s most interesting and powerful companies. According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, more than 9.4 million companies are owned by women, employing nearly 7.9 million people, and generating $1.5 trillion in sales as of 2015.

Here are 10 successful businesses that were started by inspiring female entrepreneurs:

1. Bark & Co.
Carly Strife co-founded Bark & Co. with Matt Meeker, Henrik Werdelin, who were brought together by their love of all things pups. The trio launched Bark & Co’s first product, BarkBox, with little thought as to how popular it was going to be, according to the website.

Strife, who serves as the COO, was also the NYC operations manager at Uber, in addition to working for management and consultation firm Deloitte before Bark & Co. According to Forbes, the company has an approximate valuation between $150 million and $200 million.

2. SlideShare
Rashmi Sinha is the female mastermind behind the popular presentation-sharing platform, SlideShare. Sinha co-founded the company with CTO Jonathan Boutelle in 2006, a year after launching another project called MindCanvas. Before launching SlideShare, Sinha was doing lab work after earning a Ph.D. in cognitive neurospychology, when she realized her passion for web technology and co-founded another company called Uzanto.

SlideShare was acquired by professional social networking giant LinkedIn in May 2013 for a reported $118.75 million and now has more than 16 million registered users.

3. Birchbox
Birchbox, one of the top monthly box-subscription services, was co-founded by two entrepreneurial women: Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna. The duo met at Harvard Business School and created their company in 2010 with the goal of improving the beauty industry and making it more customer-friendly. In 2012, Barna made Forbes’ “30 under 30” list of marketing and advertising influencers.

Initially, Birchbox was a subscription service for women looking to try new beauty product samples, but the company expanded in 2012 with the addition of Birchbox Man. As of 2014, Birchbox had more than 800,000 subscribers and was bringing in approximately $96 million a year in sales.

4. Cisco
Sandra Lerner founded what would become technology giant Cisco alongside then-husband Len Bosack, after the pair was unable to email each other from offices in different buildings while working together at Stanford University. Lerner’s desire to connect with her husband led to them designing the multi-protocol router — the platform that launched Cisco in 1984.

While she was eventually ousted from the company in 1990, Lerner reportedly walked away with $170 million from the sale of stock options. She went on to start Urban Decay, a cosmetics company, and today she’s running a certified organic and humane farm in Virginia.

5. Flickr
At age 35, Caterina Fake, who had worked as the art director for Salon.com, founded the popular photo-sharing website Flickr in 2002. The site was actually an offshoot of a game Fake was developing with Stewart Butterfield, her husband at the time. While the game quickly went bust, the photo-sharing technology they designed was a hit.

In 2005, Fake and Butterfield sold Flickr to Yahoo for a reported $35 million in cash and stock options. Fake has since co-founded the website Hunch, a site that makes recommendations based on detailed user preferences, and been named to the board of directors of the handmade online marketplace Etsy.

6. Liquid Paper
Liquid Paper was the brainchild of executive secretary Bette Nesmith Graham, who in the 1950s began using white, water-based tempera paint and a thin paintbrush to cover her typing errors. She sold her first bottle, originally called Mistake Out, in 1956. Graham later patented the must-have office product and renamed it Liquid Paper.

After starting with just 100 bottles a month in sales, Liquid Paper was selling 25 million bottles a year when Graham sold it for a reported $47.5 million in 1979. She passed away six months later at age 56.

7. The Body Shop
After trying her hand at running a hotel and a restaurant, Anita Roddick started The Body Shop in 1976 in England to create a livelihood for herself and her two daughters while her husband was traveling the globe. The bath-and-body-product concept caught on, and she opened a second shop within six months. She soon launched The Body Shop’s franchise program, which has opened stores all across the world.

The company went public in 1984 and in 2006, 30 years after its founding, Roddick sold The Body Shop to L’Oréal for a reported $1.4 billion. Today, there are more than 2,500 stores in 61 countries.

8. Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Following a career that included teaching and horse training, Ruth Fertel mortgaged her house in 1965 to buy a little restaurant, Chris Steak House, on the corner of Broad and Ursuline in New Orleans. A fire ravaged the restaurant in 1976, forcing her to open in a new location under a new name, Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

That same year, Fertel agreed to let Tom Moran, a regular customer, open the first Ruth’s Chris franchise location. Today, there are more than 130 company and franchise-owned locations around the globe.

Fertel, who passed away in 2002 at age 75, sold her majority interest in the chain to private equity firm Madison Dearborn in 1999 for an undisclosed amount.

9. Build-A-Bear Workshop
Maxine Clark came up with the idea for Build-A-Bear Workshop after shopping with a 10-year-old who questioned why she couldn’t just make her own stuffed toy when she couldn’t find one she liked. Clark turned the idea into a business when she opened the first Build-A-Bear Workshop in St. Louis in 1997.

There are more than 400 stores worldwide have helped people create more than 100 million furry friends. Clark, who remains the company’s “Chief Executive Bear,” was inducted into the Junior Achievement National Business Hall of Fame in 2006 and named one of the 25 Most Influential People in Retailing by Chain Store Age in 2008.

10. Proactiv
Classmates studying dermatology together at Stanford University, Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields felt strongly about finding a better treatment for acne because both of them had lived with it at some time in their lives. After starting separate practices, the pair noticed the problems acne posed for people of all ages. The realization led them to start working on a new way to treat facial blemishes.

Over a five-year period, Rodan and Fields developed a comprehensive acne skin care system, Proactiv Solution, which combines acne medicine with soothing botanicals to create an acne-fighting system designed to leave skin smooth, clean and clear. The product, which has found success via 30-minute television infomercials, has become one of the top-selling acne medications in the U.S.

All About SWOT Analysis

When you have a big business decision to make, one of the smartest things you can do during the planning process is conduct a SWOT analysis.

SWOT, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, is an analytical framework that can help your company face its greatest challenges and find its most promising new markets. The method was created in the 1960s by business gurus Edmund P. Learned, C. Roland Christensen, Kenneth Andrews and William D. Book in their book “Business Policy, Text and Cases” (R.D. Irwin, 1969).

In a business context, the SWOT analysis enables organizations to identify both internal and external influences. SWOT’s primary objective is to help organizations develop a full awareness of all the factors involved in a decision, said Bonnie Taylor, chief marketing strategist at CCS Innovations.

“It is impossible to accurately map out a small business’s future without first evaluating it from all angles, which includes an exhaustive look at all internal and external resources and threats,” Taylor said. “A SWOT accomplishes this in four straightforward steps that even rookie business owners can understand and embrace.”

When to use SWOT
SWOT analyses are often used during strategic planning. They can serve as a precursor to any sort of company action, such as exploring new initiatives, making decisions about new policies, identifying possible areas for change, or refining and redirecting efforts midplan.

Performing a SWOT analysis is also great way to improve business operations, said Andrew Schrage, founder and CEO of Money Crashers.

“It allowed me to identify the key areas where my organization was performing at a high level, as well as areas that needed work,” Schrage said. “Some small business owners make the mistake of thinking about these sorts of things informally, but by taking the time to put together a formalized SWOT analysis, you can come up with ways to better capitalize on your company’s strengths and improve or eliminate weaknesses.”

While the business owner should certainly be involved in creating a SWOT analysis, it could be much more helpful to include other team members in the process. Shawn Walsh, president and CEO of Paradigm Computer Consulting, said his management team conducts a quarterly SWOT analysis together.

“The collective knowledge removes blind spots that, if left undiscovered, could be detrimental to our business or our relationship with our clients,” Walsh said.

The elements of a SWOT analysis
A SWOT analysis focuses entirely on the four elements included in the acronym, allowing companies to identify the forces influencing a strategy, action or initiative. Knowing these positive and negative elements can help companies more effectively communicate what parts of a plan need to be recognized.

When drafting a SWOT analysis, individuals typically create a table split up into four columns to list each impacting element side-by-side for comparison. Strengths and weaknesses won’t typically match listed opportunities and threats, though they should correlate somewhat since they’re tied together in some way. Billy Bauer, managing director of Royce Leather, noted that pairing external threats with internal weaknesses can highlight the most serious issues faced by a company.

“Once you’ve identified your risks, you can then decide whether it is most appropriate to eliminate the internal weakness by assigning company resources to fix the problems, or reduce the external threat by abandoning the threatened area of business and meeting it after strengthening your business,” Bauer said.

Internal factors

The first two letters in the acronym, S (strengths) and W (weaknesses), refer to internal factors, which means the resources and experience readily available to you. Examples of areas typically considered include:

  • Financial resources, such as funding, sources of income and investment opportunities
  • Physical resources, such as your company’s location, facilities and equipment
  • Human resources, such as employees, volunteers and target audiences
  • Access to natural resources, trademarks, patents and copyrights
  • Current processes, such as employee programs, department hierarchies and software systems

Mitchell Weiss, business professor at the University of Hartford in Connecticut, recommended fully analyzing your strengths and weaknesses first.

“Companies can’t hope to take advantage of or control the external factors until the internals have been objectively assessed,” he said.

External factors

External forces influence and affect every company, organization and individual. Whether or not these factors are connected directly or indirectly to an opportunity or threat, it is important to take note of and document each one. External factors typically reference things you or your company do not control, such as:

  • Market trends, like new products and technology or shifts in audience needs
  • Economic trends, such as local, national and international financial trends
  • Funding, such as donations, legislature and other sources
  • Demographics, such as a target audience’s age, race, gender and culture
  • Relationships with suppliers and partners
  • Political, environmental and economic regulations

Once you fill out your SWOT analysis, you will need to come up with some recommendations and strategies based on the results. Linda Pophal, owner and CEO of Strategic Communications consulting firm, said these strategies should be focused on leveraging strengths and opportunities to overcome  weaknesses and threats.

“This is actually the area of strategy development where organizations have an opportunity to be most creative and where innovative ideas can emerge, but only if the analysis has been appropriately prepared in the first place,” Pophal said.

SWOT analysis template
Bryan Weaver, a partner at Scholefield Construction Law, was heavily involved in creating a SWOT analysis for his firm. He provided Business News Daily with a sample SWOT analysis template used in the firm’s decision to expand its practice to include dispute mediation services.

STRENGTHS

·Construction law firm with staff members who are trained in both law and professional engineering/general contracting. Their experience gives a unique advantage.

·Small (three employees) — can change and adapt quickly

WEAKNESSES

·No one has been a mediator before or been through any formal mediation training programs.

·One staff member has been a part of mediations, but not as a neutral party.

OPPORTUNITIES

·Most commercial construction contracts require mediation. Despite hundreds of mediators in the marketplace, only a few have actual construction experience.

·For smaller disputes, mediators don’t work as a team, only as individuals; Scholefield staff can offer anyone the advantage of a group of neutrals to evaluate a dispute

THREATS

·Anyone can become a mediator, so other construction law firms could open up their own mediation service as well.

·Most potential clients have a negative impression of mediation, because they feel mediators don’t understand or care to understand the problem, and rush to resolve it.
Resulting strategy: Take mediation courses to eliminate weaknesses and launch Scholefield Mediation, which uses name recognition with the law firm, and highlights that the firm’s construction and construction law experience makes it different.

“Our SWOT analysis forced us to methodically and objectively look at what we had to work with and what the marketplace was offering,” Weaver said. “We then crafted our business plan to emphasize the advantages of our strongest features while exploiting opportunities based on marketplace weaknesses.”

SWOT supplements and alternatives
The SWOT analysis is a simple, albeit comprehensive strategy for identifying not only the weaknesses and threats of a plan, but also the strengths and opportunities it makes possible.

Cleighton DePetro, founder of Bare Tattoo Removal, noted that a SWOT analysis is just one tool in the strategy toolbox.

“When SWOT is used in conjunction with other analysis models, these frameworks for strategic thinking are well worth your time and should guide your decision-making,” DePetro said.
SWOT can also prompt businesses to examine and execute strategies in a more balanced, in-depth way.

“A SWOT analysis is helpful in broadly addressing questions to develop a business plan, but it doesn’t go far enough,” said Alan Lobock, co-founder of SkyMall and Convrrt. “The exercise alone won’t identify your key value drivers of your business. Planning without first knowing your goals and the metrics by which you will measure your progress toward achieving those goals is inefficient and misguided.”

 

Tips to Prepare Your Business Before You Sell It

unduhan-68Approximately 700,000 to 800,000 small to mid-size businesses change hands each year. And, I can guarantee that in every case, the seller, and buyer for that matter, invested a good amount time, money and emotion throughout the undertaking.

For the seller especially, the process of selling a business can be an emotional undertaking. You’ve put your sweat equity into the business. You’ve sacrificed over the years — missing family time, skipping paychecks and working at all hours of the day and night. Your business is your baby.

However, when it comes time to plan and execute an exit strategy, you have to strip away a lot of the emotion. It is important to be as realistic as possible about what your business is worth. If the exit strategy is not done correctly, your business can suffer damage.

A few of the most common factors for a business not selling:

  • Lack of preparation of business for sale
  • Unrealistic selling price

Having a trusted, third party business valuation conducted is one way to begin the process. With the data from the business valuation, you can plan for the procedures needed to raise the value of the business so that you can maximize the return on your years of investment in the business.

The following list offers 5 tips to “put a shine” on your business when it comes time to sell. These have proven to add up to 20 or 30 percent more value to businesses.

Timing is everything

The best time to sell is when you are on top, when the company is doing well, the industry is flourishing, and next year looks even better. Additionally, cyclical factors are important. For example, in retail most revenue is earned in 4th quarter. Thus, it is recommended that you aim to sell your business in the 1st quarter of the following year to show good revenue and the inventory is at lowest point.

Getting a proper business valuation done to set the selling price

Most business owners are not aware of how businesses are valued. And, in many cases, sellers assume value based on emotion or rules of thumb. They overvalue based on how much time and work they put in, and how much it means to them. Generally they think the value is higher than the true market value. Thus, they need for a professional to give advice.

The first step before business valuation is to determine how much money the new owner will have to make … reason being, generally businesses sell for a multiple of what they earn or Sellers Discretionary Earnings.

Another formula is a Percent of Revenue. Hard assets are not a driving force in business valuation. Some assets add or subtract from value such as Accounts Receivable, Inventory and Work in Process. Comparable sales data is often used to determine market multiples.

Organize the books and records

When preparing your business to be sold, re-cast the financial statements, or normalize them.

Most small businesses operate their companies in a manner to minimize taxes. However, when selling, they need to know the true economic value of the business. Analyzing financials and eliminating all non-operating expenses and discretionary expenses do this.

De-emphasize the owner’s personal role in the business

When selling a business, you want to be certain that the buyer knows he’s acquiring talented leadership that can continue to run the business after the purchase. The original owner should not be positioned as the only decision maker. Rather, others should be involved in customer contact, and vendor contact. A “right hand man” is needed — male or female managers who are part of an infrastructure that reduces the dependence on ownership.

Understand the mindset of buyers today

Seventy percent of all buyers are first time buyers, often displaced corporate employees who will be owner/operators replacing a job and looking for financial independence. What matters most to buyers today? Here’s a list of what buyers are looking for in businesses for sale:

  • Buyers look for ways to enhance the business, is there an “upside.” They generally think that they can do better than the previous owner
  • Proven verifiable books and records, tax returns
  • Reasonable price
  • Leverage and terms — they want to use bank financing, owner financing and as little of their own money as possible
  • Solid, verifiable cash flow
  • Furniture fixtures and equipment properly valued and in good condition
  • Positive appearance of facility, good reputation
  • Favorable lease and lease options
  • Training, transition period with the seller
  • Covenant not to compete, non solicitation agreement
  • Solid reason why the owner wants to sell
  • Experienced employees who will stay on
  • No last minute surprises