Friday, May 15, 2015

5 Basic Business Ethics Tips By Angelia L. White

Sometimes I think I should host monthly lectures on all of the lessons I’ve learned as a publisher. Maybe I could have something like a TED Talks and stand on a stage with a PowerPoint presentation or video highlight reel that features the lesson of the day. I would be on that stage for hours on this one topic: business ethics.

What is business ethics? Well, I will give you the Angelia definition: Business ethics deals with the conduct of a person or a business that is rooted in an ethical or moral foundation. In short, it is those questionable things that are not always easily covered legally. 

Learning business ethics or ethical practices has been ongoing for me, and I believe it will continue to be ongoing, because there is so much to learn. Also, business ethics lessons always come when a new situation arises, and there are always new situations.

I’ve decided to share a few business ethics tips I’ve learned over the years: 

  1. If you have access to someone’s professional and personal information in the capacity of a contracted professional, then you don’t use those contacts to further your own cause or agenda. Their contacts are their property, and to use them is to steal them.
  2. Confidentiality is a no-brainer, whether you sign the agreement or not. It takes a pretty unethical person to divulge another person’s business strategy, information or intellectual property under the guise of “I didn’t sign an agreement.” Either you are trustworthy, or you are not trustworthy.
  3. My clients are my clients. My vendors are my vendors. If you have been contracted to work for my company, then you will not solicit my clients or vendors for your own purposes. That is stealing. 

The above are three examples from my perspective as someone who hires people with the risk of them sharing my intellectual property or company trade secrets. Those are three violations that happen all of the time, and each example is about the character of an individual. The following two tips are based on my moral compass as a leader, business owner and person. These are two things I stand on:

  1. Product integrity is everything to me as a publisher. If my print or digital download or even website are not offering my advertisers and readers quality, then I should just stop now. I stand behind our quality not our perfection. Perfection is arbitrary, but quality is a standard that never changes. I owe product integrity to the people who support our business.
  2. I must create a work environment that is safe for all to enter. We are very customer service driven, but we are also driven to take care of those who make Hope for Women magazine happen. As a matter of personal integrity, no one is allowed to mistreat staffers, as I do not mistreat staffers and contractors. 

Here are some documents you should always have on file: a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), a confidentiality agreement, a code of ethics document and a core values document that outlines your ethics foundation and principles. Legal Zoom and other sites have examples and templates for each, though the principles MUST be your own.

Why does your company need to have a code of ethics and/or conduct? It sets the tone of the business and protects your business. It also sets the tone and builds company morale. It will pre-warn people with bad intentions and reputations about your intolerance for bad behavior.

Connect with Angelia White on Twitter @angelialwhite Learn more about products and services at Hope For Women Magazine. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

5 Tips to Launch a New Career Using Your Transferable Skills By Natasha Miller Williams

Photo Credit:
I was a six-year-old entrepreneur, selling gently used items from my parents’ porch. Opening day I sold my father a whistle and my brother a tchotchke I’d borrowed from his bedroom. I had a knack for identifying commercial value, and my enterprising skills were beginning to thrive. This inclination was essential a week later when I became the founder of our family’s newsletter. The first cover featured a compelling, breaking story: “Family Thrift Store Closes.”

From thrift store and newsletter, to client service, operations, marketing, and now human resources, I’ve taken my ability to articulate a value proposition to each new job. These moves weren't all easy; hiring managers want someone with experience. It was up to me to express my capabilities, even if I’d never done similar work.

At times, you, too, will want—or need—out of your field. Changing fields requires showcasing your transferable skills. Transferable skills are aptitude and abilities that you can take from one job to the next—special things you do exceptionally well that others seem to always call upon. Whether learned or innate, used at work, home, or volunteering, your transferable skills are your ticket to a different career path.

Think you’d like to launch a new career using your transferable skills? Here are five tips to get started:

1. Know your transferable skills. Ask yourself, “What do I make look easy?” Think about your personal and professional accomplishments and the common themes of your contributions. Jot them down and look for words that are repeated. Words like: Delegated. Time Management. Solved. Organized. Operated. Analyzed. Efficient. Dependable. Resourceful. Developed. All reflect your transferable skills.

For example:
Establishing timelines for your family’s move is extremely relevant to organizations seeking project managers (key transferable skills: “organized,” “managed”).
Ever worked in food service? You know first-hand the patience and empathy required to get an order correct. You can easily take these attributes to a career in client service (key transferable skills: “patient,” “empathetic,” “attentive to customer needs”).
Specialized skills can set you apart—like being a subject matter expert of your employer’s systems. You can’t take the software to your next job, but your ability to train others on systems makes you an attractive candidate (key transferable skills: “leadership,” “training”).

2. Identify what you don't want to do. Leveraging transferable skills will allow you to consider hundreds of new roles. While this breadth is exciting, it can also be intimidating. Where do you begin with all those possibilities? When you aren’t exactly sure what you want to do, try saying what you don’t. If you know you don’t want to work in business development or enter the manufacturing industry, cross them off. Eliminating potential jobs helps whittle down the list to areas that interest you most.

3. Create a skill-oriented resume. Organize your resume functionally versus chronologically. Take all of the bullet points from your resume and put them in a single list. From there, begin grouping by similar skill. You should be left with categories of your transferable skills. Each set represents how you've applied that specific ability across various jobs. Review each bullet point, tap into your inner narcissist, and describe your skills and accomplishments putting yourself in the best possible light. Nothing is more off-putting than a resume that highlights what everyone but the resume-holder accomplished. Say what you did and how it benefited your employer. Title each section with a clear, punchy heading that allows readers to envision your success at their company, like “Rich Mix of Project Management & Sales Skills.” See sample resumes below.

4. Make friends across industries. Bachelor of Arts? Bachelor of Science? Haven’t we been separate too long? If you’re a member of any association, it’s probably related to your current job. What better low-risk way to get a glimpse into a field than to join an association that differs from your background? There’s no reason a data processor can’t be a member of the Association of American Educators. Attend a conference or volunteer in your area of interest. You’ll meet new people in your aspirational field and have an inside track to industry news. This helps when you begin to interview.

5. Be open to the job even if the title is over- or underwhelming. Be aware that when switching fields, your current title might not await you. This doesn't mean it's the wrong move. The fact is, seniority and responsibility vary widely across industries. Your Manager title at your current employer could align to a VP (or Analyst) at the next. Don’t be overly concerned about whether the job title is moving in the direction you envisioned; just be sure your interests do.

You must be able to articulate your strengths and the results you've seen from leveraging them. Sing your own praises unabashedly. But don’t stop there; take it a step further and connect the dots for the potential employer. Some hiring managers or recruiters will need you to bridge your transferable skills to their open role, so be prepared to explain how the thrift store you opened and managed developed your procurement and sales skills. Tell them how you can apply both to their open sourcing manager role.

Oh wait, that’s my story. But you get the point.

Connect with Natasha Miller Williams 
on Twitter @nlynniewillie and follow her Linkedin

Success Steps for your Entrepreneurial Journey By Audrey L. Woodley

How To Become A Successful Businesswoman 
Women can be successful in business as much as men can. In today’s world, women are quickly changing the face of society and business by moving into leadership roles as managers and business owners in enterprises and corporations. With gender equality becoming more acceptable by the society, a lot of women have now become a significant part in the business sector. With the prevalence of women in business, more and more women are now encouraged to become entrepreneurs, and make a significant impact in the economy and industry.

Becoming a successful businesswoman, however, can be very challenging. Like men, women have to take a lot of serious strides to become successful and productive. To become a successful businesswoman, you need to take note of these pointers and suggestions: 

  • Find your niche
  • Educate yourself
  • Have a positive attitude

 Entrepreneurs will always be their number one cheerleader. A lot of entrepreneurs don’t invest in themselves or their company. The best investment that one can make is an investment in oneself and giving your time. The risk is high but the potential return is higher. It is important to build a strong foundation and understand the fundamentals of your business.  Entrepreneurs who invest in their skills and their growing business stand a much better chance of succeeding. Here are three ways to invest in your business:

Communications is very important in growing a successful business.  You need to be able to communicate clearly and confident about your business to potential clients, investors, and the community. Solid communications skills is required.  If you are not comfortable in communicating take a communication class at your local community college or join a local Toastmasters chapter. Investing in your communications skills will set you apart from some of your competitors. 

If you are stating and business you cannot afford not to invest into branding.  Standing out from the crowd in your industry is essential.  Creating your brand is your lifeline to your business. Customers will identify you and your values before they even purchase your products or services. Branding is more than having a professional website designed, a great logo, and business cards. Create a strategy.  Know your selling proposition, develop an online presence, and get to know your ideal client. By investing in your brand your business will generate a presence to your ideal client and you will be selling to them at the same time. 

Hiring a Coach
As an entrepreneur we tend to try to do everything in our business.  Most entrepreneurs fail because we are only one person trying to do everything on our own.  You need mentors and coaches to help you get to the next level.  Business coaches and mentors are there to help motivate you and help you align your goals. Most coaches have the expertise to place you in the right directions and give you the tools to be on your successful entrepreneurial journey. They will keep you accountable and help you steadily grow your business. She/he is your cheerleader. Cheering you on to great success.

Connect with Audrey L. Woodley on Twitter @AlwoodleyCEO and Facebook. Learn more about products and services at