Tag Archives: women

Why Female Entrepreneurs Need To Stop Apologizing

CHuntly

It’s no secret that women in positions of power often have to get there on a different track than their male peers. In 2011, only 15.5 percent of Canadian small and medium-sized businesses were owned by women. And that number doesn’t include solopreneurs who are trying to make their way on their own. The majority of those female entrepreneurs also have no business growth goals. Even if they do have growth in mind, female-owned businesses in Canada have lower growth rates than male-owned businesses.

Why is that? Well, as female entrepreneurs, we’re constantly having to apologize for appearing too harsh, too soft, too emotional, too masculine, too feminine, too unstable, too… everything. Of course, there are also women who want to own a business while having a family. We are constantly accused of wanting to have it all, but who says we can’t have it all?

As a business owner, I am constantly keeping myself in check, re-reading emails dozens of times before hitting send even if it’s a routine invoice reminder, a quick question about a project I’m working on, and just generally worrying that I would offend someone or, horribly, someone doesn’t like me.

A lesson I am learning on a daily basis as an entrepreneur is that not everyone is going to like you or how you run your business. Rather than dwelling on those people, focus on people who appreciate you. To stand out, female entrepreneurs need to stand up and use our voices. It’s OK to have an opinion. It’s OK to have ideas that are better than those of your peers. And it is definitely OK to talk about why you are so great.

The reality is that all business owners, men and women, should conduct themselves with a certain sense of tact and business etiquette, but stop apologizing for wanting to be a successful, female business owner. Set high goals for yourself and do what you need to do to get there.

Candace Huntly is the Founder and Principal at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.

Connect with Candace

Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/email/Website

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Women On Top

 

FB Pic

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about life as an entrepreneur versus life in the corporate world and how it has affected me as a woman. I am thinking in particular about my ceiling in both worlds.  How much success can women achieve in both worlds?  How far out of reach is the ceiling and have us as women found the magic formula to breaking that glass ceiling?

Let’s start with the corporate world.  In my case our corporate structure is that of the “good old boys club”.  Senior executives are the picture of corporate with not a woman in sight.  Middle management is made up of about 10 percent women.  On the bottom of the totem pole, the structure is as expected – a male dominated production group and a female dominated office group.  To excel in an environment as this takes a lot of game play and sometimes ruthlessness.  You cannot be too tough or else you are labeled as “bitchy” or “moody” and you cannot be overly nice or you can be deemed to office “harlot.”  You not only have to play the game, but you also have to continuously prove your knowledge and capabilities to the powers that be.  This part has me baffled.  Why?  I’m sure those powers would not have made you a part of the organization if you were not remotely qualified to do the job or if they didn’t feel you were well suited for the position and the company.  How far up the corporate ladder can women get in an environment such as this?  It’s a far climb for us and especially rough when obstacles are placed in our way.  My feeling is that we are fighting continuously for what we deserve – even when it is earned.  Not many of us know how to demand what we have earned.  In my case, I have set my goals to what my definition of success would be in the corporate world.  Do I want to be President of the company? NO!! What I want is what I have earned – nothing more and definitely nothing less!!

As an entrepreneur I have the opportunity to be the President, Owner, Assistant, Director, coffee runner, pencil sharpener…you name it, I am in charge of it.  More women are going down the entrepreneurial path without really understanding how much more work it takes to be successful. As a female entrepreneur, when I attend networking events that are male dominated I get a lot of pats on the back and “good for you”, “you’re a smart girl”, “you did this all on your own” from the male networkers.  It is as if I am not perceived of being capable of achieving all that I have or that I have or that it is a surprise that a woman can really be successful in their world.  There are also always a few men who are there to be the “saviours” or “messiah.”  I remember being told by one man in particular who came to a female dominated networking event that he was there to help the women.  Take note, he said HELP not SUPPORT. Now, I will be the first to agree that we all need to support each other, but what I do not like is the notion that women cannot find ways to help each other succeed.  We are a resourceful group and we find ways to dig our way out of a hole.  There is still that mental and societal influence that makes us feel like being solopreneurs is the pinnacle of success.  Why not strive to grow your business into a multinational corporation? Sky is the limit-not the glass ceiling.  It truly depends on what your personal goal is.

For me, I enjoy the challenges of both the corporate world and the entrepreneurial world.  Women will always have to work extra hard to break that glass ceiling.  For most of us, the ceiling is not made by others, but by our personal limiting beliefs.  Identifying what is causing these beliefs is the first step towards breaking the ceiling and allowing ourselves to strive for the highest of highs.  I know one thing – this woman plans to be on the top when it comes to the entrepreneurial game. I will not stop until my business is where I want it to be – Canada-wide.  I will not let being woman be a hindrance.  It is not a crutch.

 

Dwania is the Founder and Executive Director of Canadian Small Business Women Contact Canadian Small Business Women:

FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedInWebsite

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Tips To Get The Most Out of The Holidays!

yvonne

It’s that time of the year where there is a lot going on that could so easily compete for our attention, or stress us out. Here are three tips to help you get the most out of the holidays and enjoy it as well.

  1. Set the Intention

Decide on what you would like to get out of the holidays; is it to spend more time with family and friends, is it to be stress free, is it to ensure you don’t overspend going into the New Year, or is it to reflect and plan for the year ahead. Whatever it may be, visualise what it is you want and create a clear mental picture of it. In “My Book on Mindset”, I talk about ‘Picture’ and the Power of Visualisation; the more we are able to clearly picture what we want, the more it becomes reality as our actions and thought process begin to align to the image we are holding.

  1. Stay Focused

Once you’ve set the intention on what you want out of the holiday, it’s time to plan and focus. With a lot of what I’m going to call holiday fanfare, one can very easily get distracted – family and friends wanting your time, giving of gifts, Christmas events, and retailers working double hard to lure you – hence the need to stay focused and have a plan.

Create a list of the top three items you want to accomplish, and constantly refer to it to keep you focused.

If your goal is to not overspend this season, set a financial budget and avoid the temptation to buy unplanned or expensive gifts, sales events, or splurge on outings.

If your plan is for a stress-free holiday, define what that means to you, identify those things that would usually stress you, and plan on how to avoid them.

  1. Plan to Enjoy the Season

I believe this is a season of love, joy, and good tidings. Make a decision to fill your mind and heart with gratitude, and choose to enjoy the season. Choose an attitude that in spite of what may be going on, and all of the hustle and bustle, you will be thankful and grateful for what you have. The more gratitude we have, the more we open ourselves for more – the simple Law of Attraction – what we are, we attract. Allow yourself to take in the Christmas music, the movies, and the good cheer.

The decision is yours to make on what you get out of the season. Set your mind on what you want, focus on what you set your mind to do, and open yourself to enjoy the season. Your mindset determines your attitude, your attitude determines your choices, and your choices determine what you get out of the holidays.

 

To learn about Yvonne’s latest book on Changing your Mindset for greater results, visit http://www.oliveblue.com/changeyourmindset/

Yvonne is an Author, Speaker, Change Consultant & John Maxwell Leadership Coach who is passionate about working with Individuals, Entrepreneurs and Organisations to help implement change they want and achieve their goals.

She can be reached at:  http://www.oliveblue.com/ https://www.facebook.com/oliveblueinc https://twitter.com/oliveblueinc. https://www.youtube.com/user/ChangeYouWantTV

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Toronto Panel of Experts: Canadian Small Business Women of the Month of October 2015

Kelly Farrell, Arti Sharma, Dwainia Grey, Cheryl Rankin and Catherine McGillivray are five dynamic women who will round up our Panel of Experts this year at our Toronto

Expo.  These women are experts in their own right and have made themselves available to support aspiring entrepreneurs.  The topic of this year’s panel is Women in Business and Technology.  The Panel of Experts discussion will take place at The Atantis Pavilion on November 8th, 2015 from 12:30pm to 2pm.  Admission is absolutely free.  Find out about our ladies below and for how you can meet them and ask your questions, go to www.immigrantsmallbizexpo.ca

Panelist Kelly

Panelist Arti Panelist Cheryl Panelist DwainiaPanelist Catherine

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Creating the Perfect Pitch

CHuntly

A pitch is when you reach out to a media or influencer target to share your story with the hope that they will want to write about it or share your story in some way. The media receives hundreds of pitch emails every day. You need to find a way to stand out among the clutter. If you don’t, your email will quickly be moved to the trash.

What it really boils down to is that you need to be able to connect with another human being in such a way that they will want to hear more about what it is you are pitching. It is about building relationships. When you pitch the media, don’t think of it as a “one-and-done” strategy. Think of it as a long-term strategy where you make an impression and then you can keep the conversation going while you get more acquainted with your media target.

Here are a few things to consider to help you put together a great pitch that will get you noticed:

  1. Be selective with who you pitch. Your story won’t appeal to everyone. If your business is about beauty products, you likely wouldn’t pitch a sports reporter. While that is an extreme example, you do need to get to know the people on your media list. Look at what types of articles they write and what topics they cover. The goal is to tie it in with something they are interested in already. If that means cutting your media list in half, then do it. It’s better to have a highly targeted list where you have more chance of getting coverage than if you waste time pitching someone who would never cover your story.
  2. Personalize your pitch. Once you have your targeted list, take the time to personalize it by talking about how it fits within their overall topical focus. Reference articles they have written in the past. This will take extra time, but it will make a better impression on your media targets because it shows that you have thought about what you are writing rather than just sending a form letter.
  3. Remember that it’s not about you, it’s about the story. New companies and products come around every day – it’s not news to the media. You need to find a way to make your news stand out. Think about how your news fits into a broader storyline. That is what you want to focus on.
  4. Include a call-to-action – and don’t beat around the bush. Your pitch shouldn’t be too long. Keep it to a few short paragraphs. That means that you have to get to the point. Tell them why what you have to say is relevant. Tell them what you have to say. Tell them what you want from them. Make it easy for them to say yes by being clear and upfront about what you want.
  5. Don’t be annoying. We have all fallen into the “well, they didn’t answer, so I am just going to call again” trap. Often, if you are calling a reporter, they may say they prefer email on their voicemail. Or perhaps they have had a busy day and just didn’t get to it during that day. Give your pitch time to breathe before following up. Wait two days and try again. There will come a point that if they don’t respond to you, they likely just aren’t interested. Don’t take it personally, just move on.

Writing a pitch seems like an easy thing, but don’t get discouraged if you don’t nail it right away. It takes some getting used to. Give me a call if you need to bounce ideas around!

Candace Huntly is the Founder and Principal at SongBird Marketing Communications, an agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making it unique to you.

Connect with Candace

Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/email/Website

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ottawa Panel of Experts: Canadian Small Business Woman of the Month of September 2015

Rima Aristocrat, Kelly Farrell, Catherine McGillivray, Praveeni Perera, Arti Sharma and Elcho Stewart are six dynamic women who will round up our Panel of Experts this year at our Ottawa Expo.  These women are experts in their own right and have made themselves available to support aspiring entrepreneurs.  The topic of this year’s panel is Women in Business, Technology and Healthcare.  The Panel of Experts discussion will take place at The Westin Ottawa on October 4th, 2015 from noon until 2pm.  Admission is absolutely free.  Find out about our ladies below and for how you can meet them and ask your questions, go to www.immigrantsmallbizexpo.ca

Panelists Elcho Panelists Kelly Panelists Rima Panelist Praveeni Panelists Catherine

Panelists Arti

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cassandra Scully: Canadian Small Business Woman of the Month of June 2015

Cassandra Scully

Cassandra Scully, is the Owner and Event Stylist of Creative Elegance. Creative Elegance is a Toronto based event planning company with a niche for creating custom designs for special events.

In 2003, Cassandra became a Certified Wedding and Event Planner through The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada, but not before becoming a professional Merchandiser at Seneca College in Toronto.  It was during her Merchandising course that Cassandra tapped into and became in sync with her creative flare and realized that she has a passion and desire to create beautiful and innovative pieces.

Creative Elegance is renowned for their custom bridal bouquets which meets, and at times, exceeds expectations, visions and within budgets.   As an extension to her bridal bouquets Cassandra has added the in-famous toss “Panty Bouquet” which adds a much needed uniqueness to the traditional rose and floral bouquets.  Instead of using typical flowers Cassandra takes the time and her creativity to transform undergarments into beautifully shaped roses and arrange them into a Bouquet… the catcher always gets a surprise!

With the growth of her company Cassandra plans, styles, and coordinates all types of special events and weddings, gearing towards all budgets, size and dynamics.

Cassandra didn’t stop there, she became a certified Stager in 2014 – you can now benefit from the luxury of having the Creative Elegance touch inside of your home whether you are buying or selling – moving or staying! Cassandra sets the stage for your sale and designs for your stay.

Cassandra prides herself on staying on top of current trends in all facets of the wedding, events and staging industry.
Cassandra will always give you an exclusive and custom Creative Elegance experience

Our Q & A with Cassandra:

*What inspires you?
My kids. I always try my hardest to lead by example. I want to show my girls how to be a strong women and show my son that its never too late to chase your dreams and that if you work hard enough you can achieve anything.

*As a small business owner, what achievements make you most proud?
My proudest moment is definitely seeing my client’s reactions after I set up their vision. Seeing how happy they are that their special day is complete is the most rewarding feeling. I think that anyone with a business, big or small, can most certainly relate.

*What advice would you give to other aspiring small business owners?

The advice I would give to an upcoming individual with that creative flair is to be true to themselves, and to live their truth. Let your individuality shine through and do not comprise yourself to “fit in” for being a creative individual because you were born to stand out.

*What new things can we look forward to from your business in the upcoming year?
My brand is expanding, and we are now offering new products and services, some of which are; custom/bridal TuTu Skirts, printed Bridal Tanks & Tees and gum ball necklaces/bracelets for kids events.  As well, my brand is now venturing into the staging industry both residential and commercial. One other thing you can look out for this is my collaboration with two other amazing event planners in Toronto (Heavenz Décor & Ki-Events), together we have formed an organization called CAKEvents. CAKEvents is an organization that focuses on the youths and brides on a budget as well giving back to our community

Connect with Cassandra

info@creativeelegance.ca
www.creativeelegance.ca
www.facebook.com/creativeelegance
Follow us on Twitter @creativelegance

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Don’t Feel Overwhelmed By Your Social Media Networks

Aviary Photo_130605261112039905

As a business owner, engaging on social media can often feel quite overwhelming. With continuously changing newsfeeds, tweets and posts, and so little time to go through everything, it is very easy to feel frustrated with real-time online content.

Quite honestly, we’d rather forget about this part of online marketing too. I mean, there’s nothing better than looking out a window, instead of having your eyes glued to a (small) electronic screen. Unfortunately, our ideal job as a professional window gazer will have to wait for now.

Seeing as this is no longer the 20th century, social media networks have significantly changed how we as people communicate and do business. Whether we like it or not, social media is here to stay. No matter how uncomfortable or overwhelming it might make us feel, we have to use it to further maximize our business potential.

So, here are three easy steps to lower your social media anxiety:

  1. Master One Social Media Platform At a Time

Each platform is going to have its challenges, limitations and advantages. It is important to take the time to understand each platform’s functions, as well as the company’s ability to integrate new features to better suit market demands. For instance, did you know that because Facebook is currently gaining ground on Youtube video posts it is ready to promote your video posts over you picture posts? Or did you know that Instagram users are 58 times more likely to like, comment, or share a brand’s post than Facebook users, and 120 times more likely than Twitter users?

Really mastering how to use a social media platform, and understanding its significant tech changes, is important to the well-being of you, your business and your clients. Don’t rush into it, take your time and learn through observation and research.

  1. Scheduling is Your Best Friend

Quality content is Queen when it comes to social media. Have thousands of followers doesn’t guarantee engagement, especially if your content is not relevant, hard to read or outdated. This is why you should take a time or day a week to sit down and research trends, events or news related to your sector or field of business. Combine this with your company’s latest product events and promotions, and you should more than enough material to start scheduling posts for the following week.

By using tools such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social or Buffer, your life will be a whole lot easier. Schedule the time and day for your posts (and in some cases even the perfect target market), and forget about the days  when you wondered if you have the time to post online.

  1. Make Time to Engage with Your Followers

Social media is called ‘social’ for a reason. That’s why I like to recommend clients to set time aside to engage with their followers. Retweet, share or repost followers’ interesting, relevant posts. Interact, connect, follow-back and ask for feedback whenever possible. By doing so, you’re actively building brand-recognition and working towards customer loyalty and trust.

Most importantly, be respectful and have fun while engaging with others online. Give your business that unique voice that only you can give it.

Written by Marisol and Silvia Fornoni, Founders of JDC.

JDC supports socially conscious organizations with finding sustainable ways to tell their stories using visual design, engaging content and non-traditional media. We help you with anything from organizing fundraising campaigns to web design and social media management.

http://www.joint-development.com

FacebookTwitterInstagram

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Grant Misconceptions

Aviary Photo_130605261112039905

Are you a business looking to apply for grants and a bit confused about the process? Well, we’re here to help you demystify some general misconceptions about grant funding and applications.

Misconception #1: Anyone can apply for a grant

The majority of grantmakers narrow the pool of grant applicants to registered charitable organizations and nonprofits. Incorporated businesses and startups are usually left out of the grant equation because, unlike nonprofits, they have the ability to sell a product or service for a profit. That’s why it’s important to be 100% sure your organization is eligible for funding before starting the grant-writing process.

This is not to say that there is no funding out there for small businesses and startups. It is just unlikely it will be in the form of grants, and rather in the form of tax incentives, hiring credits, and when possible, venture capital funding.

Misconception #2: Grant applications consist only of ‘writing’ and ‘submitting’

Grantwriting is based less on your style of writing and more on your capacity to plan a detailed project successfully. Forget flowery language, and focus on the content.

For first-time grant applicants, it is important to research grantmakers’ mandates, as well as their previously funded initiatives. Grantmakers want to make sure your organization is accountable for the funds they distribute to you.

Seeing as they don’t know you personally (yet), the onus is on you to make your case, and back it up with targeted research, data, and information. Take time to prepare grant applications. Make sure you are able to thoroughly analyze your project’s strengths and provide tangible solutions to mitigate any weaknesses.

Misconception #3: If your project is good, you’ll receive funding

This is by far the biggest misconception of all. In fact, there are a lot of great projects out there, created by trustworthy organizations, that will never receive funding.

Grantmakers tend to award funds based on a project’s expected impact in the community. Because grantmakers tend to receive a lot of applications during any given grant cycle, it’s their responsibility to find the ‘best’ projects within very large pools of applicants. They do this by reviewing applicants’:

  • Existing partnerships with community organizations and stakeholders
  • Social media networks and reach
  • Past organizational successes

If you are a new organization, it is likely you won’t have this information yet. To make it easier for your project to receive grant funding consider collaborating directly with a partner organization to build a track record for your project, as well as expand support for it in the community.

Misconception #4: Receiving grant money is easy and quick

The task of the grant reviewing committee is to thoroughly assess hundreds, if not thousands of applications per grant. Of course, this takes a lot of time and patience. That’s why grant funding decisions often take anywhere between 3-8 months, depending on the size of the grant (the bigger the dollar amount, the longer you are likely to wait).

So, if you are counting on a particular grant to fund your latest project, make sure you have alternative funding options at your disposal just in case grant funding is delayed, or doesn’t come through.

Some Final Questions    

Want to know how to avoid unnecessary pain when applying for grants? Prepare answers to the following questions before starting the application process:

  • Which community members and stakeholders will benefit the most from your project?
  • How will you involve participants during the planning and execution phases?
  • How will you measure or evaluate the impact of your project?
  • Do you have a workplan outlining all project steps, timeline, and resources?
  • What experience and/or qualifications does your organization have to carry out this project?
  • If activities continue beyond the term of the grant, how will they be sustained?

Written by Marisol and Silvia Fornoni, Founders of JDC.

JDC supports socially conscious organizations with finding sustainable ways to tell their stories using visual design, engaging content and non-traditional media. We help you with anything from organizing fundraising campaigns to web design and social media management.

http://www.joint-development.com

FacebookTwitterInstagram

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Simple Reminder.

 Aviary Photo_130605261112039905

The hardest thing for us female entrepreneurs is having to come to terms with the notion that work-life balance is a figment of our imagination. Like a majestic flying unicorn – although fun to imagine, it really doesn’t do much for us.

As entrepreneurs, we shouldn’t be ashamed to say how truly ‘unbalanced’ life is. Sugar-coating work/life on social media, and in conversation with others, can only do us so much good. After a while, it all just catches up with you.

This is why the theory of ‘Leaning In’ – proposed by Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg, which suggests women should lean into leadership roles in order to create greater structural organizational changes to positively impact and improve work-life balance – makes working gals like us shake our heads a little bit. Not because Sandberg’s theory isn’t valuable – but because it’s a theory, and theories don’t always hold up when applied to real-life situations with varying degrees of socio-economic factors.

Real-life disequilibrium is:

  • Fluctuating eating schedules tied to your latest project milestones.
  • Having virtually non-existent sleeping routines and habits.
  • Social outings that are veiled in euphoric desperation.

Add a couple of children / spouses / relatives into the mix, and work-life balance is officially out the window.

As all-round doers, it easy for us to internalize frustration, anxiety, sadness and believe we are not ‘measuring up’. This is why we’re writing you this simple reminder: Do things your way.

Make your own work-life rules and stand by them when family and friends make unwanted suggestions as to how you ‘should’ live your life (whether at work or at home). Be kind with other female entrepreneurs – we might not all face the same struggles and/or barriers to entry, however, we are all willing to incur significant risks, possible rewards and daily setbacks in order for our businesses to stay afloat. That in itself deserves acknowledgement, respect and admiration.

But most importantly, be compassionate with yourself. After all, you’re doing the best you can with the circumstances presented before you – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. When you acknowledge how far you have come and take pride in your business, you will see that by not succumbing to the pressures of ‘having it all’, you will come out of this process standing tall and proud.

Written by Marisol and Silvia Fornoni, Founders of JDC.

JDC supports socially conscious organizations with finding sustainable ways to tell their stories using visual design, engaging content and non-traditional media. We help you with anything from organizing fundraising campaigns to web design and social media management.

http://www.joint-development.com

Facebook, TwitterInstagram

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: