Thursday, February 7, 2019

5 Tips to Foster Better Business by Felicia Shakespeare

I had the opportunity to be a segment guest for WVON Radio (1690, Chicago), a pillar station serving the Chicago community. This station is one of the top in the country. On the show "Real Talk, Real People" with the host, Art "ChatDaddy" Sims I had the chance to discuss what it takes in every sector to foster better business relationships. These are 5 Tips I came up with the following, enjoy! 

Tip #1
Acknowledge Customer Loyalty
It's important to actively maintain a sense of loyalty to those who are loyal supporters of your business. How often in business do we fail to keep tabs on those individuals who are buying our products or services to ensure they feeling appreciated?!? Make your "ride or die'ers" (most loyal supporters) feel consistently appreciated and you will create a win/win. They will be your best source for new referrals. Most organizations choose to create VIP or Loyalty Programs of some kind giving out discounts or coupons, rewards, and giveaways. You name it, be creative!

Tip #2
Always remain professional no matter how long a customer has been a customer (this includes family and friends). Don't show distress in hard times or when business is slow. Just know that you and what you are providing is worth the time and the respect of your clients.  Prevent crossing lines where there is no return! Sometimes becoming too familiar (chummy) causes a lack of general respect to be lost. Be the best, remain professional and others will respect your craft (in and out of your arena).

Tip #3
Customer Service Consistency 
Be certain to maintain the focus of a "very" satisfied client at the end of every transaction you perform. ALWAYS thank a customer for their business purchase, that's at the very least. This will look a little different in every industry but a "THANK YOU" verbally, via email, etc.  gives those invisible points of satisfaction that super cedes the money in some cases. Allow the opportunity for feedback from your customers or potential customers (i.e. questionnaires, feedback box). Always strive to improve the "customer experience"!

Tip #4
Know your brand or your customer niche so that you can stay on the cutting edge in your field. We can not serve everyone, but we can exceed serving a specific one. Attempting to service everyone is always ineffective. Remaining authentic and honest (stop compromising for the $) is a must.  Work on remaining relevant by always working to improve your product or service.

Tip #5
Remain in a Teachable Space
Good clients can add value professionally and personally to your business. You want to always maintain a teachable posture in your business because someone has already achieved what you are aspiring to. This is the next level, the core of building client and partner relationships. There's always someone that's at a higher level than you are, so you need to practice the art listening.

To learn more about Felicia Shakespeare 
Twitter: @iamfelicias

Keep’ Yo’ Boss Fire Burning by Alexie Young

What is “boss fire”? It may be passion, intention, and purpose that activated your business, but how do you keep the spark going when you feel stressed? Sometimes you lose stamina because your business is actually thriving and you may find yourself overwhelmed with the responsibilities of success- meetings, press obligations, due dates. Can’t we just send our clones? Sorry sis, not yet. There is only one you! Preserve yo’self! For now, check out these 4 tips to help keep your “boss fire” burning. Your self care regimen requires more than a spa day.

Tip #1 Classify Your Contact
The mistake we often make is believing that every single conversation with every person who wants to meet with you is extremely important. While this may be true, there are levels. Remember to classify your contact with people. If someone wants to share ideas or pick your brain, that should be classified as a phone call, If there is true potential for a collaboration, classify that as a face to face meeting. We simply don't have the time to sit with everyone for lunch. Assess if the travel time is worth it.

Tip #2 Outsource Often
Some of us bossy babes like to take the wheel and be in control. How else will it get done right? Honey, the stress isn’t always worth it. Use your network to get things done efficiently. If you’re having an event pay some teenagers to set up for you. If you need a wall painted, call a business that may want you to promote them on your platform. Get free graphic design work from a college student.

Tip #3 Woo-saw and Woo Yourself
Never ever underestimate stress. It can high-jack you mentally and physically. When you neglect yourself in that way, you are risking your livelihood. Make time to takes naps. Sleep actually repairs the body and reboots the mind. Eat more nutrients by adding fruits, veggies, and herbs to your diet. Enjoy desert by the candle light. Use dance as a form of cardio. Make time to do one of your favorite things. Smile every time you get a chance to sit still girl, then get back to work! Create a balance.

Tip #4 The Power of Self-Talk
This is a dope strategy for reciting affirmations Write a list of affirmations beginning with “I am”. Using the voice recorder on your phone to record yourself will give you the option to leave enough space to repeat after yourself. You can listen to this while driving, bathing, or cleaning. How often do you hear yourself say good things about yourself. Also, considering talking yourself into doing something exciting with your business like a really fun photo shoot. Pump yourself up when you wake up in the morning.

There are so many additional habits we all have that help counter the stress of moving mountains. Having a business means that you are constantly strategizing because that that “boss fIre” is burning hot; but have you taken the time to be proud of yourself/ You’ve probably gone months without taking a guilt free nap. You deserve it! Share your self-care and efficiency tips with us.

Learn more about Alexie  Twitter @invizioncolorzinc

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Social Media Past by Corvet Williams

Technology has its pluses and minuses. The internet saves information so one can go back 10 years ago or more on sites like Twitter and blogs and reveal posts of racial slurs, gay bashing, and other derogatory statements. Lately, this has caused some adverse attention to some celebrities about posts they have made in the past. It leaves me to think of how I would feel in a case like that.

 I am not the same person emotionally and mentally that I was 5 years ago let alone 10 years. I don't even remember most things I have posted. Facebook has memories it shows you from posts you made on a particular date but a different year. Some of my posts I’ve seen, I’ve thought, ‘What was I thinking?’ I almost felt embarrassed knowing I said it ‘out loud’ by posting it on social media. With that being said where is the pass or understanding for growth and maturity? I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I've done, thought and said some things in the past when I wasn't as mature as I am now. So what, am I to be condemned for being immature? What if I have clearly shown I am not that same person anymore? Should I still be judged by my previous immature actions? I am not talking about actions from last week, I’m talking about years ago. How far back, is too far back? How can a person redeem themselves after something like this comes to light? Should there be a statute of limitations for social media posts? 

As a business owner and entrepreneur, what if someone found a post I made that was not socially acceptable or politically correct? And what if I lost customers, vendors, business, sales, etc? Imagine working day and night and years to build a brand and business, to have it lost virtually overnight? How devastating would it be to lose a main source of income because of a previous belief? I was raised to have certain beliefs that I do not condone now, but at one point in my life, I thought that was the ‘right’ way to think. If a person shows they have grown away from whatever they may have said then I don't see the problem in forgiving them. I once saw something that said if Maya Angelou died in her 20s, she would have died a prostitute and a single mother. The same post said if Malcolm X died in his 20’s he would have died a thief, woman beater and drug abuser. Yet they both went on to do great things in their lives and change the lives of many for the good.

Laws have statutes of limitations and employers only go back so many years for work experience, why not the same for social media posts? Let me know what you think about this and what is the best way to change how we judge a person's past - social media past that is.

Find more about Corvet Twitter: @CorVet

Monday, February 4, 2019

Goodbye Corporate America, Hello Me by Dorinda Walker

Can you believe 2019 is well underway? I hope you have big plans for this new year of life and what it has to offer. As for me, I have some exciting yet scary news to share. I am retiring from Corporate America this year at the age of 48! I know you must be thinking, “How can she ‘retire’ at 48? Did she win the lottery? Receive a huge legacy from a rich relative? Play the ponies?” The truth is, throughout the past year God was preparing me to close the glass door of my office after 20 years of service to one company.'

While I am extremely grateful for the lessons I learned over the past two decades there, now I must take on the challenge of walking through another door into the unknown. I will admit, this new adventure makes me feel a bit frightened and utterly excited at the same time.

While I achieved a level of success that I never thought possible as a young woman, I’ve known for quite some time that my gifts were too big to be confined and limited by the constraints of my corporate career. During the past 20 years, I learned so much about myself and what I was truly capable of achieving. Armed with that knowledge, I am confident that my talent and gifts can help me build businesses and a brand for myself that will further enable me to fulfill my passions in a much bigger way. 

I no longer have to endure the annual review process to see how my work compared with my peers or what corporate leaders thought about my performance. Now, no one can define my steps except me. I have no limitations or guidelines for what I can do or accomplish. I will create my own plans, and trust me, it won’t be based on any comparison to others.

I don't know what God has planned for me…but I know it's big! I am now able to create, write, speak, influence and travel on my own terms. That freedom fuels my soul and empowers me to experience the flexibility that I desperately sought over the past few years. I now have freedom of choice. I can prioritize the person I have neglected for so many years…me.  

So, what does retirement mean to me? It means the beginning of my next chapter, which will be bold, deliberate and challenging. I have already started a collective of endeavors and new collaborations to create multiple streams of income for myself and my family. One essential lesson I learned during my corporate years is the importance of accumulating wealth, which can only be attained by developing multiple streams of income. My mentors taught me that if you don’t make money in your sleep, you are not on the right track.

Don’t get me wrong, my goals are not entirely driven by monetary reward. The heart of anything I do is led by the following questions I ask myself: “Will this endeavor help others? Will it lead to positive change? Will it disrupt the status quo?” I’ve also learned that when you work from a place of service, God will reward you. I understand that I receive personal fulfillment by leading change and disrupting norms. So, you can bet that those actions will stay at the forefront of my decision making.

As I begin my next chapter, I hope that I have inspired you to kick up your heels and waste no time to take your dreams to the next level. Your shift doesn’t have to be as substantial as mine, but if you have the vision to do something different or new, don’t wait 20 years to do it! In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “If you want something you have never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done!”

If you take a leap, I will be there to cheer you on. Be sure to keep me posted on your journey! 

Peace and blessings!

To learn more about Dorinda Walker: 
Twitter: @dorindawalker