As we embark upon the dawn of a new era, it is time to think about how to make your business more powerful and profitable in the new year.
Entrepreneurship is growing among women business owners. The market is filling up with niche ideas, awesome new products and exciting adventures. You can do business as usual, or stand out in a way that attracts lots of new clients, contracts and amazing opportunities.
To ensure that your product or service gets the attention it deserves, consider adding a few tweaks that will make a major difference. The key to lasting success constant improvement. Here are a five ways to make your business stand out and cause success in the new year.
Position Yourself As The Expert In A specific Niche
Instead of being a jack of all trades and a master of none, pick an area to focus your expertise. I had a client that left her job to become a virtual assistant. After about six months on her own, she barely had any traction. During our consultation, I encouraged to specialize in one area. Soon after our meeting she needed a plumber who showed up late and disorganized. And that is when it hit her: to become an assistant to the service industry owners. She rebranded herself as the virtual assistant to plumbers, contractors, lawn care businesses, etc. It was an untapped market of business owners who were skilled at what they did, but needed someone to keep things in order. Now her business is thriving. Find a need and fill it with your unique expertise.
Pick an area to focus your expertise
Send Attention-Grabbing Mail
Consider sending out exciting mail to clients or prospects to grab their attention. Take a cue from fashion houses who often send elaborate invites to their guests. The idea here is to stand out and build anticipation for a great show. Often guests have so many shows to attend that they must choose some and forsake others. In order to pack the house, elaborate invites makes them stand out. Louis Vuitton is known for sending beautiful clutches with the invitation enclosed.
Create Exclusive Services Or Offers
Consider what is missing in your industry and offer it to your customers. Forward thinking dentists have transformed the dreaded dental appointment into an exciting adventure with dental spas that offers massage therapy, aroma therapy, classy drinks, movies and even noise cancelling headphones! This kind of service will certainly encourage clients to show up and book future appointments. Seek to fix a problem that your industry has and you will stand out.
Create a Better Experience
Zappos is known for incredible customer service. They sometimes randomly upgrade customers shipping to next day. That kind of surprise is a great talking point! How can you improve your customer’s experience? Whether it’s with hand written notes, unexpected calls, or exclusive meetings with valued clients. There’s something that you can do to personalize your client’s encounter with your business.
Be Authentic, Be Bold, Be Different!
There are so many great business ideas and opportunities out there. While it may be tempting to add every service that your competitors have to your business model, remember to always be true to who you are, what you can offer and what makes you unique. Whether it’s your special frosting recipe or signature design elements, play up your unique strengths and quality and authentically market it to your audience.
Go against the grain, follow your instinct when making a mark… Don’t be compelled to develop a cookie-cutter business model like everyone else. Trust your creative ingenuity - try it YOUR way. Your next move may be your best move!
In 2016, I finally found my voice. I always thought I had one, especially as a business owner and mother of two vocal toddlers, but I had been wrong.
For more than 30 years, I had been struggling with the fear of being my true self and speaking my truth. Then the repressed memories of my childhood sexual abuse unraveled before me while raising my 3-year-old daughter, and my life has not been the same since.
Believe it or not, I am happy about that.
The journey for a survivor like me to feel even slightly comfortable sharing these words, without fear of being shamed or looked down upon, is a long and often lonely one. For all of the people out there in the shadows who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse, I dedicate this to you. You might never come out to talk about it and that's okay, but I am going to do so here and I hope that in doing so, I will open people's eyes to the long-term effects of abuse. As a survivor who is now fully conscious of her abuse, I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, quite frankly, it may never go away.
It took me some time to accept that and I refuse to let it stop me from thriving in life; therefore, I strive to manage it (as do many others with PTSD) through various strategies I've learned and continue to learn through personal and group therapy. Over the years, various things have triggered my repressed memories and emotions of my abuse--from going to birthday parties and attending preschool tours to the Kavanaugh hearing and most recently, the"Leaving Neverland" documentary (I did not watch the latter, but read commentary about it).
These triggers often cause panic attacks. I was angry when I read Barbara Streisand's comments about the men who accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them, as detailed in the documentary. She was quoted as saying, "They both married and they both have children, so it didn't kill them." She later apologized for her comments. I was frustrated when one of the senators questioning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford (during the Kavanaugh hearing) responded snidely that Dr. Ford was still able to get her Ph.D. after her alleged assault--as if to imply she must be lying because she gained success in life.We survivors are screaming to the world, "You just don't get it!" So let me explain: It takes a great amount of resilience and fortitude to walk out into society every day knowing that at any moment an image, a sound, a color, a smell, or a child crying could ignite fear in us that brings us back to that moment of abuse, causing a chemical reaction that results in a panic attack.
So yes, despite enduring and repressing those awful moments in my early life during which I didn't understand what was happening to me or why, decades later I did get married; I did become a parent; I did start a business that I continue to run today; and I am still learning to navigate this "new normal." These milestones do not erase the trauma that I experienced. Society needs to open their eyes and realize that any triumph after something as ghastly as childhood abuse should be celebrated, not looked upon as evidence that perhaps the trauma "never happened" or "wasn't that bad. "When a survivor is speaking out about what happened to them, they are asking the world to join them on their journey to heal. We need love, we need to feel safe and we need society to learn the signs of abuse and how to prevent it so that we can protect the 1 out of 10 children who are being abused by the age of 18. When I state this statistic at events or in large groups, I often have at least one person come up to me after and confide that they too are a survivor and have kept it a secret. My vehicle for speaking out was through the novella The Survivors Club, which is the inspiration behind a TV pilot that my co-creator and I are pitching as a supernatural, mind-bending TV series. Acknowledging my abuse has empowered me to speak up on behalf of innocent children who do not have a voice and the adult survivors who are silent.
Remembering has helped me further understand my young adult challenges,past risky relationships, anger issues, buried fears, and my anxieties. I am determined to thrive and not hide behind these negative things as they have molded me into the strong person I am today.Here is my advice to those who wonder how to best support survivors of sexual abuse:Ask how we need support: Many survivors have a tough exterior, which means the people around them assume they never need help--we tend to be the caregivers for our friends and families. Learning to be vulnerable was new for me, so I realized I needed a check-off list of what loved ones should ask me afterI had a panic attack.
The list had questions like: "Do you need a hug," "How are you feeling," "Do you need time alone."Be patient with our PTSD". Family and close ones tend to ask when will the PTSD go away. It isn't a cold or a disease that requires a finite amount of drugs or treatment. There's no pill to make it miraculously disappear, but therapy helps manage it and some therapies have been known to help it go away. Mental Health America has a wealth of information on PTSD that can help you and survivors understand it better. Have compassion: When I was with friends at a preschool tour to learn more about its summer camp, I almost fainted because I couldn't stop worrying about my kids being around new teenagers and staff that might watch them go the bathroom or put on their bathing suit. After the tour, my friends said,"Nubia, you don't have to put your kids in this camp. They will be happy doing other things this summer."
In that moment, I realized how lucky I was to have friends who understood what I was going through and supported me. They showed me love and compassion, which made me feel safe and not judged.