I recently took part of an online discussion among female founders about being visible to the gatekeepers. Gatekeepers are the folks who decide everything from which new businesses to feature in magazines to who gets VC money. The catalyst for the conversation was how magazines keep featuring ex-Silicon Valley employees, mostly men. Sure there are always exceptions to the rule, but the featured articles are often about startups founded by men. Needless to say, the irony is painful, given that women-owned businesses are expected to account for more than half of small business job growth by 2018.
So the question is: How do we women get past that?
There are undoubtedly many components to a satisfactory answer, and there are tons of articles online about the challenges that women face starting in business and running one. But there are two really important points that those articles seem to miss: Women need to show up and make sure the gatekeepers know we’re here, and we need to...
Just a few years ago, I was pretty much a social media neophyte. I’d only joined Facebook because my girlfriends from undergrad planned our annual adventures through that medium. At the time, I’d have been perfectly happy to stick with email.
My opinion on social media has since evolved, and like most of us, I could easily lose days of my life reading updates, laughing at memes and watching videos. I’ve met amazing people and become part of communities that have come to mean so much to me (shout out to Pantsuit Nation!). I even found a fun new pastime (trolling the trolls, which not something I actually recommend doing and have since stopped). But as I engaged in this brave new world, I also met a lot of people who apparently lacked all basic social decorum. I’ve had to unfriend people I knew in real life (in most cases, we’ve stayed friends) and block the crazier ones.
Here’s what I’ve learned.
When you accept a friend or connection request...
Social media is both a bonanza and a bane. It’s useful to stay connected to family and friends. And it’s great to grow your professional network. In fact, when you’re starting out, it’s natural to want to accept EVERYONE who wants to friend, connect or follow you. However that’s not always a good idea, because when you’re not discriminating, social media can become your bane.
People who do not have a business or don’t do much business online tend to be a lot more picky about who they accept as friends on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, see everyone as a potential customer. Networking for the purpose of activism—a trend that’s growing—is a hazy middle ground between the two extremes.
For the purposes of this article, I will use the term “friend” to also include whatever the connection is called on other social media platforms, like “connection” on LinkedIn or...
What’s in a name? Everything, even when it wasn’t what you intended.
I arrived at the name of this website (and by extension, business) by circumstance. The circumstance was that I did not want to use my name, and that I couldn’t find a domain name that included the word “business” that didn’t cost thousands of dollars. (Don’t even get me started on how people buy domains and then sit on them…who can afford to pay $5600 for a domain with the word “business” in it?) And I really didn’t want to make up a name that was too clever or completely irrelevant and no one would know what I was talking about.
On my 1324th attempt to get a decent domain, I found ceotoolkits.com (at the standard price). It was more than perfect. The name helped me clarify what I wanted to do here, which is to help you cultivate the CEO mindset. This is crucial whether you are a start-up entrepreneur or you’ve bought an existing...
I get it. The whole idea of cybersecurity is overwhelming and not particularly sexy to most of us.
The language is weird. (Phishing? Trolling? Doxxing? Ransomware?)
The requirements are so technical. (Install a firewall! Use encryption! Engage 2-factor authentication!)
And there are more acronyms than in the US Government. (SSL, TLL, HIPPA, PCI DSS, DDoS, OMG, WTF)
(Yes, those last two are acronyms for what first came to your mind. I added them because that’s what I felt like trying to figure this stuff out for you.)
Plus, how do you hide from cyberattacks when you need an online presence to promote your business??
If you’re a yoga instructor, or an online business coach, or have a small store downtown, the last thing you want to think about is cybersecurity. You want to work your passion, not learn a whole new industry, especially one that’s so technical and dry compared to what you do.
Seriously, who has time for that? Boring!!
Except for one small problem:
This article is the second in a three-part series about business assessments and the importance of getting objective feedback on your business. My first article, The First Order of Business: Why Great Organizations Rely on Objective Feedback, can be found here.
Whether we are conscious of the fact or not, we are constantly assessing the world around us: things, people, places, situations.
And we make decisions based on those assessments, too. These decisions range from the mundane (Is this a good time to cross the street? What should I wear today based on the weather?), to those that require strategic planning to get the best outcome possible (When is the best time to launch my product? When is a good time to ask my boss for a raise?)
Many of those decisions have layered options, depending on what you want to see happen. For example, a bad experience at a restaurant might result in you talking to a manager, or leaving a message on Yelp, or coming back another night, or trying...
Why Great Organizations Rely on Objective Feedback
This article is the first in a three-part series about business assessments and the importance of getting objective feedback on your business.
Opinions are like elbows: Everybody has one. Therefore it’s generally a good idea to follow my grandfather’s motto: “I’m entitled to my opinion, and you’re entitled to ignore it.” But to decide to ignore it, you first need to hear it.
Honeybunch was a Maverick, Not an Ostrich
My grandfather, who we called Honeybunch, was a WWII merchant marine and later a successful international business man, breaking cultural and commercial barriers long before it was hip to do so. The success of this under-educated Italian boy from the Lower East Side to vice president of a major chemical corporation was undoubtedly due in part to ignoring the opinions of the day: He was rejected from joining the Navy, so he joined the Merchant Marines (a much more dangerous job). He was...
I am an entrepreneur who loves establishing and growing businesses, and even I can be completely and utterly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information that is available on the Interwebs. Talking with peers and clients, I quickly realized that I wasn't the only one.
Every webinar claimed to be THE solution to what I needed to grow my business or (ironically) eliminate overwhelm. Business coaches—many with no business experience—promised to support me and help me with my money mindset, strategy or other solutions.
Resources on what to do and how to do it piled up until my browser tabs were too small to read, and my hard drive was filled up with oodles of free books, checklists and guidelines.
The only thing that was for certain was that I felt like I had no clue where to start and, frankly, no money left to spend on all these Latest and Greatest.
There were days where I didn't know where to turn, but I knew was that it shouldn't be this hard. I have two Masters...
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