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!
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.