Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized’ Category

Interesting USA Today Article

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

At least once a week, I escape my office and review applications for the Womensnet.net Amber Grant.  And, yes, I typically go to my favorite coffee shop to do it.

As I was walking into my that coffee shop yesterday morning, the front page headline of the USA Today caught my eye:   “2 of 3 New Jobs Go to Men.”  I guess to some folks, that’s news! J

Seriously, though.  I’m not a man-basher, but I don’t have to tell you how hard it is for women in this economy.  When I see that 2 out of 3 new jobs go to men, it only makes me realize how important the work is that we do at WomensNet.net – especially in helping women entrepreneurs get business grants.

Let’s be real.  If we want a job we love – and at a salary we deserve – women entrepreneurs have to create their own positions.   I’m not complaining.  I’m just making an observation.

If that describes you, I’m glad you’ve found WomensNet.net.  2012 is gonna rock.  We’ll have a plenty of articles to help you launch and market your business idea.

And, of course, we’ll be giving away our monthly Amber Grant.  If you haven’t applied for the, now is your chance.  We’d love to hear your story and your business idea.
USA ARTICLE

Angel Investing…is it for You?

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

I wanted to share a great article with you. It’s about Angel Investing for Women, and it gives 10 practical tips on how women entrepreneurs like you can get angel investors to fund your business idea.

Before we get to the angel investing article, a friendly reminder that the November WomensNet.net grant winner will be selected in just a few short weeks. If you’re interested in telling us your story, you can apply for the grant today. It only takes a few minutes, and we’d love to hear from you.
 
Now to the story on angel investing for women. This issue is near and dear to us because every WomensNet.net grant application has an option for women to be considered by an angel investor. We have a network of people willing to help women business owners – including angel investors.
Surprisingly, most women who apply for the WomensNet.net Amber Grant don’t ask to be reviewed by a potential angel investor. And yet, there could be someone right now who is willing to invest in you and your business idea. Whether it’s one of our angel investors or another group, it’s yet another way to get money for your business.
With that in mind, check out the article on Angel Investing for Women.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

We’re thrilled to announce the October WomensNet.net Amber Grant Winner…. Is Fernanda Chacon from Chicago, IL.  Fernanda is the owner of Heavenly Skinny Kitchen.  We love Fernanda’s story as a young women entrepreneur who used her passion for healthy cooking to fill a niche in the Chicago downtown marketplace.  We’re sure you’ll be inspired by the short interview we did with Fernanda below.

BTW, we’re currently taking applications for the November WomensNet.net Amber Grant.  We’d love to hear your story, and you just might be our next winner.  But there are only a few weeks to get your application to us.  So if you’re interested, please don’t wait.  We will announce our winner the first week in December.

WN:  What made you want to be self-employed?

FC: First, thank you Women’s Net so much. What a blessing!.. I think the main reason why I’d wanted to be self-employed is because I like my ideas to be heard.  I always like to go the extra mile and think about all the options, either good or bad, as well as the growth potential.  Most corporations just want you to follow the manual and don’t leave room for opinions or imagination.

WN:  Tell us about a little bit about your business, Heavenly Skinny Kitchens.

FC:  I started the business earlier this year and went full steam this summer. The idea started out of my own need for healthy and tasty food.  Working long hours in downtown Chicago with limited options for healthy foods made realize the need for a healthier option.  I can’t remember how many times I found myself eating the same salad for a whole week straight.  Heavenly Skinny Kitchen is dedicated to creating the best lunch experience for busy downtown workers who want to have a balanced diet – but struggle with the same old unhealthy choices. Right now, Heavenly Skinny Kitchen works as a catering service for individuals, but my goal is to open a location to the public.

WN: What will you use the $500 Amber Grant for?

FC: I will use the money towards marketing to get the word out on healthy eating and getting more customers for the business.  I might also use it toward a delivery truck.

WN: Have you always had a passion for cooking?  We ask because we’re true believers that women-owned businesses that are built on passion survive over those businesses that women just do for “a job.”  And because we drooled over the menu on your website! J

FC: LOL, yes, I do have a great passion, not just cooking but eating well and fitness. While in college, before starting my business, I always found a reason to have people over so I could cook and try new recipes. I think food is such an important element of life and it has a huge influence on your overall health. With those ideals, I decided to create a kitchen where people can eat delicious meals on the go – while staying fit.

WN:  What have been the smartest decisions you’ve made with Healthy Skinny Kitchens?

FC: Well, I always dreamt of opening up a restaurant but the initial investment can be a huge barrier. My best decision has been to adapt the idea to a set menu with catering options and membership packages. That’s how I’ve been able to progressively grow and increase my capital.  By sticking to this motto, not only did it take away pressures of investing a huge amount of money in a start-up restaurant, but it has given me the experience for when that time comes.

Interesting Article We Wanted to Share

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

We wanted to give you a bit of news on the women’s business front.  Specifically, we came across an interesting article on the Women’s Economic Summit in Tennessee.  But before we share what we uncovered, a quick reminder that the WomensNet.net Amber Grant deadline is in just 5 days.  So please take a few minutes to tell us your story if you’d like to be considered for the $500 women’s business grant for this month.

Ok, now to the news… Check out the following statistics and you’ll see why women need to stick together in the business world.  These stats are from the Women’s Economic Council Foundation and are specific to Tennessee.  But, of course, they are generally applicable to women all over the country (if not the world).

** Women make 79 cents for every dollar that their male colleagues make.

** There are twice as many male-owned businesses as women-owned businesses.

** Women businesses tend to bring in less revenue and employ fewer people than male businesses.

** The number of women-owned business increased by 20% from 2002-2007.

** Women are more likely to have a degree than men, and the number of women in college is greater than men.

** Female students also outscore male students on all reading and most math scores at grade school and middle school levels.

The good news is that women like you continue to start and develop their own businesses.  And the next generation of women entrepreneurs is doing well in school.  But, of course, there still seems to be a glass ceiling in the business world.  Those statistics should give up hope and encourage us as women business owners.

The joke from one of the Women’s Summit organizers says it all:  Would Wall Street be in the straits it is today if Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Sisters?!…

A Women Business Owner’s Guide to Cleaning House: And Dramatically Improve Your Effectiveness

Monday, June 20th, 2011

If you haven’t read my last blog, Secrets Every Woman Entrepreneur ShouldKnow To Increase Her Productivity, you should read it before reading this one.

 

The basic premise of my last blog was to show you how to clear your head of the “productivity preventing” clutter.

 

Now it’s time to rid yourself of your physical clutter – all of the other junk in your life that may be weighing you down. Lifting the weight will produce a marked increase in your effectiveness.

 

I promise.

 

So, it’s time to clean house. As a women business owner, the best thing you can do is to kick butt and lighten your load while keeping a couple of vital things in mind.

 

I present to you — Thing 1 and Thing 2.

 

The first thing that you should do is establish an “In Basket” or if you’re like me – an “In Crate.” This is where you will put anything that you find that is potentially actionable – meaning you will need to decide what you are going to do with “it” at a later time.

 

The second thing you need to do is to search your home, office, and car for anything that is not where it belongs. And depending on how organized a lifestyle you lead, this could be easy or it could be painful.

 

You are looking for physical stuff like your supplies, tools, gear, office equipment, reference materials, pictures, recognition awards, etc. These are things which may require no action except to put them in their proper place. If you can put an item in its proper place in two minutes or less – just do it. If not, it goes into your In Crate and becomes actionable later.

 

Practically, work your way around your home and office examining —

 

  • The Top of Your Desk
  • Countertops
  • Desk Drawers
  • Cabinets
  • Shelves
  • Floors and Walls
  • Office Equipment
  • Furniture and Fixtures

 

Once you begin to go through this process, your memory will be jogged with actionable items (tasks) – but this is not the time to stop and do anything except put the actionable items in your “In Crate.” If the item is too big to put in the crate, then make a representation of the item on a sheet of paper and put “it” in the crate. If you think of actionable items, write them on a piece of paper and put them in your In Crate too.

 

In the process, you will probably begin to amass a serious heap of trash, recycling, and things that you decide to give away.

 

CAUTION — Do not slip into project mode and start doing major organizing. You will have more than enough actions to keep you busy when you are done with this cleaning process.

Just watch your In Crate grow. This is a good thing.

This could be one of the healthiest house cleanings you’ve done. If you have really been honest and collected all of the stuff that had captured your attention, you are ready to get to the bottom of your In Crate.

According to productivity guru, David Allen, you are ready to “Process In.” You are ready to do something with the stuff.

Here we go…

At this point you need to determine the exact next action for each item in your In Crate. For example, if one of your items is to get your quarterly taxes done, your action is not “get my quarterly taxes done.” The next action might be, “review tax file to ensure I have all necessary documents” or “call accountant.” To be clear – decide on the next tangible, physical behavior that you are actually going to do.

Once you have decided the next action, you really have only three choices according to Allen.

  1. Do it (if it takes less than 2 minutes)
  2. Delegate (if you’re not the best person to do it)
  3. Defer it (put it into you organizational system as a “to do later”)

Remember, if you delegate an action, you really need to make a point to delegate systematically and clearly – checking for understanding of the action. And you need to follow-up to make sure it got done.

If you defer an action, the action needs to be clearly written down in your organizational system. For ease of processing, you might want to simply put a sticky-note on the piece of paper in your In Crate and log each deferred action in your system as soon as you get to the bottom of the Crate. Don’t feel compelled to schedule these deferred actions all next week. Schedule some really soon, others for someday, and you know the drill – specifically schedule those that you need to do on an exact day at an exact time.

Make sure that you remind yourself of those items that you are waiting for some one else to do. If you delegated properly, you gave some one else a specific due date for getting back to you.

Lastly, let’s talk about projects. You may have found and defined a ton of projects – maybe 50 or 100. The narrow definition of a project is any item or outcome that you are committed to achieving that takes more than one action to complete. Write these down in a project plan with dates, times, those that you need to delegate items to – and remind yourself of the individual items on a regular basis.

You should be seriously on your way to having your environment cleared from clutter and your head free from thinking about it. Your result is that you will see your path ahead clearly, feel energized and empowered, and achieve results in a way that makes you very successful.

Here’s to cleaning house!

 

Secrets Every Woman Entrepreneur Should Know To Increase Her Productivity

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

A women business owner like you can use all the help she can get.

Whether it’s a great marketing idea, getting funding for a women-owned business, or – today’s lesson – simply discovering ways to be more productive with your time.

Lack of focus leads to low productivity. Low productivity negatively affects your bottom line. (And drives you nuts.)

Productivity guru, David Allen suggests some very basic ideas for getting the most out of your time in his book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity.

Allen suggests that you need to get ALL of your stuff into one place – your “In Box”. All of your stuff includes all of those things that are incomplete, anything that needs a decision about a potential action, and all the things that are out of place.

For now, let’s focus on the things in your head and heart. They are just as important as physical stuff — most likely more important.

To get started — get a large stack of paper and clear one hour. Begin a mental inventory of all the “to do” items in your head. This is the beginning of your brain dump.

Don’t be scared. Jump in. Go for sheer volume.

It’s okay if you want to start thinking about huge items like “end world hunger.” It’s equally acceptable to consider, “make kids’ eye appointments.”

You’re going to write only one item at a time on each piece of paper as you think of it. This is important for how you will be processing these tasks later.

You want to think through projects, commitments, meetings to be scheduled, banking, upcoming events, computers, equipment, etc. Thinking about your children, spouse, family, friends, your professional life, colleagues and community activities may seem daunting.

Trust me. This really works.

It’s helpful to use a tool called a Trigger List to help jog your memory. You can view a good one put together by OrganizeIt at http://www.organizeit.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/trigger-list.pdf .

After an hour or so of putting one item on each piece of paper you probably have a pretty full “In Box.” Now do one more thing and add any voicemails, emails, or tasks from your organizer for which you have not determined a next action. (You can print these one per page.)

Everything is now on paper. You’ll have a big stack. And you may feel worse at this point. But here’s the good part.

Now it’s time to start getting free from the stack . This doesn’t mean doing everything. It means that you will methodically decide what each item is — and what you are GOING to do with it. Here’s your decision chart for every item from David Allen’s site www.davidco.com

There are a few must-follow rules as you work through your decision process:

  • Start with first item in the stack and work down. (No cheating and no scanning for emergencies!)
  • Deal with ONE item at a time (This is harder than you think, but you can do it.)
  • If you touch an item, deal with it. (No returning an item to the stack.)

Okay, this is it…

Get your first item off the stack. What is it? Is it actionable? If it’s not, trash it – put it in a tickler file – or create a reference file. Keep reviewing the flow chart until it’s in your head.

If your item is actionable, determine if it’s a project or individual action. Follow the process. It’s easy. And it’s necessary to any woman business owner who wants to organize her life.

If you have an individual action, do it – delegate it – or defer it as outlined in the diagram. Major Bonus: Immediately deal with any action that will take you two minutes or less.

Be patient. The best way to learn this process is by doing it. You will get better at making these decisions with each sheet of paper you deal with.

You should begin to feel better and better — sheet by sheet — as you work through the process. Be prepared, this process can take a few day. But it is well worth it.

When you have finished “processing” you will have:

  • Round filed anything you don’t need
  • Completed a ton of short two-minute tasks
  • Delegated a ton of important stuff
  • Sorted any actions that will take more than two minutes into your own personal organizing system and/or placed on your calendar.
  • Clearly identified your major projects

Once you’ve been through the process, you’ll feel your mind freed to move on to more productive things. It’s a strategy every women entrepreneur should focus on. Getting more out of your time leads to more creativity, more peace of mind – and more to the bottom line.