Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Entrepreneurial Traits By Tai Goodwin

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Some people know from their very first job, that working for someone else isn’t for them. Some of us are forced into entrepreneurship either through lay-off or impending infrastructure changes. Then some of us are led on a professional journey full of twists and turns before we that no job will ever allow us to live our purpose in a way that’s meaningful to us.

However we come to this exhilarating yet anxiety-laden fork in the road, we come to a place where we have to decide: Do we pursue our entrepreneurial passion or settle for and in the cube?

No one forces us into launching a business. More than likely people will try to talk you out of it, especially when you have what’s considered a “good “job. In fact it’s very easy to keep dreaming of being your own boss – many people talk about starting a business, fewer actually go from dream to action.

Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. Before you start the process, it makes sense to consider whether or not you really have what it takes.

Are You Willing to Take Risks, Sometimes Really Big Risks

Are you willing to risk everything you have on your business? Sometimes that’s what’s really necessary in order to get your venture off the ground. Many entrepreneurs have had to sell their homes to fund their business. Some have had to leverage enough of their corporate equity that they’d lose control of their own company if anything went wrong, in order to fund the next stage of their growth. To really succeed in running your own business, you’ve got to be willing to take risks. Sometimes those risks will feel humongous, but you’ve got to be willing to take them anyway.

Can You Listen to Advice, While Making Your Own Decisions?

An entrepreneur needs to be able to listen to people who have more experience, their peers and their customers. An entrepreneur needs to fully and deeply understand their market, their customers, their current situation, their problems and their potential solutions. That said, no matter how much experience your advisors have, you ultimately have to be the one to make the decision. An entrepreneur must be willing to call their own shots, sometimes even if it goes against what their advisors who have more experience suggest – if that’s what your gut tells you to do.

Can You Trust Your Instincts Especially When it Comes to People and Deals?

A business person needs to be able to trust their instincts. The two most important instincts they need to possess and be able to rely on are their instincts about people and their instinct about business deals. Ever get the sense that you just can’t trust someone? Or the sense that you genuinely want to do business with someone? Do you trust these instincts? When a business proposition is presented to you, do you have a strong internal compass that tells you “yes” or “no”? The best business decisions are not made solely on numbers and projections. Although those are important, the real decision often comes down to whether or not your instincts tell you go forward. Your instincts will usually be right.

Are You Oriented Towards Action

Great entrepreneurs are action oriented. “Ready, fire, aim” rather than “ready, aim, fire.” Instead of spending two years writing a business plan and conducting market research, a real entrepreneur just goes for it. They take the results they get from the real world, rework their plan in real time and keep moving forward. MBA-types who study businesses hypothetically without actually building businesses tend to think about business a lot. Entrepreneurs on the other hand are much more apt to just do something and see what the results are. In order to really create results in the world, you’ve got to be strongly action oriented.

These are some of the most important aspects of succeeding as an entrepreneur. Do you have what it takes? If you think the answer is yes, then you’ve got an incredibly exciting and potentially highly lucrative journey ahead of you.

Learn more from and follow at @TaiGoodwin 

Say What?! by ReneƩ Lowe

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Have you ever been listening to a presentation and you looked to the person next to you in confusion? Maybe you pretended to know what was being spoken about and later complained about the speaker over lunch with a friend. Speaking publicly is part of the PR professional job description and one has to become comfortable with it or their career may suffer.

Public speaking is something that I did not think I would ever do in my life, until my first big corporate job. I was surprised when it came so naturally because I was never one to speak to large crowds. As my duties changed, I found myself speaking to small groups and building up to large conferences.

The most memorable presentation I gave was to a group of librarians, lawyers and analysts. It was for a major government sector and I was scared! The whole ride over in the cab seemed like it was a walk down the plank with a pirate poking me in my back. I have to say, once I got settled into the groove of the presentation, I was relaxed and felt like nothing could conquer me! The librarian’s eyes stared into me like lasers, the lawyers grilled me like a steak and the analysts tried to pick me apart like vultures. All of them were testing my knowledge on the usefulness of the online products I was there to discuss. It was a shark tank indeed, but I made it through with no professional injuries...thank goodness!

I guess that public speaking course in college was well worth it and how amazing it was, when all of what I had learned came right back to me. Even though my professors were old-school in their instruction, I am thanking them heavily today. As we become an online and "right now" society, we forget about the simple ways to work through awkward situations and public speaking is no different.

Here are four key tips that I learned to have a smooth event when speaking to an audience:

One of the first things my professors taught me was to approach speaking in public like a stop sign.  This means that you need to slow down and stop in order to clear your head to get to the next thought. This also includes leaving the fancy industry words out. Keep your speeches simple and practical. Your audience will thank you for it! 

The second is to know your audience. How can you engage them in your presentation if you have not learned who they are?  There is nothing worse than sitting through a presentation and the audience begins to lose focus because you are not staying relevant to their needs. Research and have an outline of who you will be speaking to and address specific areas that they would be interested in. 

The third point I learned was to be mindful of the time. If you are given 30 minutes to speak, wrap it up in 20.  This is the age of the World Wide Web and attention our spans have dropped dramatically.  There is always a more interesting website to click to, so we lose focus very easily.  Think of your presentation as a website and you must do all that you can to keep the web surfer engaged.  After all, you worked hard to build an amazing visual tool, so you must make it worth their while to stay on your page.  

The fourth and final point that is probably pretty obvious, but it is to PRACTICE! Even the President of the United States practices his speeches. This is why folks that speak publically on a regular basis can look up from their notes and connect with the audience. Never read your notes like a novel and forget to make eye contact. Making eye contact and being confident in the information that you are delivering is a major part of your “sell”, so practice in the mirror and also in front of friends.  This will give you an opportunity to make adjustments and perfect your speech before you make your presentation. Do you have some tips for public speaking? Feel free to share what has worked for you!

Learn more from Renee Lowe and follow her at  

Make your success a Reality in 2013! By Jennifer Garrett

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Have you heard the saying “if you don’t know where you are going, how will you know if you’ve got there?”

Well it’s particularly true in business. Your lack of clarity around your vision or what success looks like for you could mean make or break for your business.

When potential customers, staff, investors and peers ask you about your business you need to be able to paint a picture of where you are at and where you are going. So ask yourself “what does success look like for me?”

You may have a business plan, but this is different. This is the dream, the potential, the aspiration, the ideal. This will inspire others and yourself. It will help to make your dream a reality. Success for you should be a holistic picture of work and life. If you don’t know what success looks like, you could end up:-

  1.      Taking on many projects unclear why because you are not sure what you are trying to achieve
  2.      Losing customers because they are not sure what you do or what you stand for
  3.      Losing faith in your business because you are not able to measure your progress
  4.      Not getting the balance of life and work priorities right


So here’s my advice:

1.     Take a step back from your current reality and dare to dream, ask you yourself “If I knew that I couldn’t fail what would I be doing?”
2.     Paint the picture of success in your mind vividly –
·         What would it look like?
·         What would people be saying about you?
·         How would you be feeling?
·         What would be different?
·         What would you be doing?
·         What would a typical day look like?

When you have painted this picture. Get to its core – What makes it a success, is it:
  •          What you do?
  •          How you do it?
  •          Your passion for it?
  •          The change it creates?
  •          Something else?

Know that this information is the key to your success and what others will tap into who buy your products or services. It makes your business personal.

Remember as James whistler said: - “An artist is not paid for his labor, but his vision”
So dream big, in glorious colour and in High Definition, share it to make your success a reality.

Learn more from Jennifer Garrett and follow her at @JenniferGarrett

Our Message For Women Who Lead Through Entrepreneurship By Katrina Harrell

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Severely undervaluing your time, energy, and physical resources is not a sign of leadership; it is proof of fear. To release that fear, you must be willing to leave Standing in Your Value off the negotiating table of business and life.

Value is not created, it is established.  When black women entrepreneurs enter their markets with low-cost products that may have been created with value in mind, but are marketed with a "low budget" mindset, these products do not create sustainable businesses.  Low revenues from products and services due to poorly created infrastructures send many potentially successful entrepreneurs back to their day jobs, and disjointed from their true callings.  How She got Free aims to re-align women with their purpose, with a 5-Step Escape Plan from the enslavement of trial-and-error based business.

Learn from the mistakes and successes of two women who are building their careers on the idea that black women who run businesses have an obligation to educate themselves on both the business and spiritual sides of entrepreneurship.  Why? Because we are part of a larger community of people who are ambitious, savvy, and inspired, but lack the vital skills to turn inspiration into income and impact.

The goal of income and impact is the energy through which How She Got Free was formed.  Purchase the book, join the movement, and get a step-by-step approach to business and life liberation!

HOW SHE GOT FREE:

A 5-Step Spiritual Business Manual for women who lead through entrepreneurship 
By Author | Educator Duo – Katrina M. Harrell & Akilah S. Richards


What it is: A Spiritual Business Manual for women who own businesses for more than just the money

How it serves: By walking readers through the process of infusing emotionally sustainable standards, systems, and structures into the planning and execution of their business strategies.

Who it serves: Women entrepreneurs in general, and black women entrepreneurs in particular.  It is for women who want to bridge the gap between their financial success and their emotional wellness.

How it's different: The authors are taking a "Strategy + Soulwork" approach to business that prioritizes intuition and inspiration, but not without the critical components of proven business strategies that facilitate steady progress and built-in tracking systems for entrepreneurs.


What it costs: $9.99 in digital format.  $25.99 for the full color print version.

How do I purchase it: Available online at Amazon.com