#SWAAYthenarrative

5 Ways To Set Your Business Apart From The Crowd

4 min read
Business

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.

Remember to always be true to who you are, what you can offer and what makes you unique.

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.

1. 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

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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!

6 Min Read
Politics

All My Life I've Had To Fight

I live the pain and stress of being black in America every day: I am a black woman, the mother of a black son, sister to black men, and aunt to my black nephews. I remember what it was like as a young girl to be afraid to go to Howard Beach for fear of being chased out. I know what it's like to walk on Liberty Avenue and be called "nigger" and being so young that I didn't understand what the word meant, I had to ask my mother. I know too well that feeling in the pit of your stomach when a police car pulls up behind you and even though you know you haven't done anything wrong you fear that your life may be in danger from what should be a simple encounter. Like all African Americans, I am tired of this burden.

African Americans have a long history of having to fight for our humanity in America. We have had to fight for freedom, we have had to fight for equality, and we have had to fight for our lives. The fight continues to go on. I have often quoted that line from the character Sophia in Alice Walker's The Color Purple, "All my life I had to fight." When I say this to my white counterparts it can sometimes be uncomfortable because it's clear that they just don't get it. They view it as melodramatic. But it's not. It's part of the black experience, and it is the part of the black experience that black people don't want.

I have often quoted that line from the character Sophia in Alice Walker's The Color Purple, "All my life I had to fight."

While I was out yesterday, passing out PPE and talking to people, a woman asked me, "What is it going to take for this to change?" I told her that I think peaceful protesting is a good start. But it's just the start. We can't elect the same people for the past 20-30 years, some in the same positions, and then talk about how nothing has changed in the past 30 years.

This injustice, inequality, and inequity will not spontaneously disappear. It will take bold, outspoken, and fearless leadership to eradicate the systemic racism in our country. We must address the violence at the hands of a police force paid to serve and protect us. We must address the recurring experience of black people being passed over for a promotion and then being asked to train the white person who was hired. We must address the inequities in contract opportunities available to black businesses who are repeatedly deemed to lack the capacity. We must address the disparity in the quality of education provided to black students. We must address the right to a living wage, health care, and sick pay.

While we like to regard the system as broken, I've come to believe the system is working exactly as it was meant to for the people who are benefiting from it. We need a new system. One that works for all of us. I am running to become the mayor of New York City because I can't assume there's another person who has the courage to do the work that needs to be done to create a fair and just city.

We can't elect the same people for the past 20-30 years, some in the same positions, and then talk about how nothing has changed in the past 30 years.

There are some things we may not be able to change in people, but at this moment I think that whether you are black, white, purple, or yellow we all should be looking internally to see what is one thing that you can do to change this dynamic. Here's where we can start:

If we want change, we need a total reform of police departments throughout this country. That is going to require taking a hard look at our requirements to become a police officer, our disciplinary procedures when civilian complaints are filed, and a review of what and how we police. No one deserves to lose their life based upon the accusation of carrying counterfeit cash. We also need to hold police officers accountable for their actions. While it is their duty to protect and serve they should not be above the law. Even at this very moment, police officers are overstepping their boundaries.

If we want change, we have to build a sense of camaraderie between the police and community. A sense of working together and creating positive experiences. We have to be honest about the fact that we haven't allowed that to happen because we have utilized our police department as a revenue-generating entity. We are more concerned with cops writing tickets than protecting and serving. Even during these moments of protest we are witness to the differences made when the police supported the protesters and stood hand in hand with them or took a knee. It resulted in less violence and more peaceful protest. People felt heard; people felt respected; people felt like they mattered.

While we like to regard the system as broken, I've come to believe the system is working exactly as it was meant to for the people who are benefiting from it. We need a new system.

If we want change, we have to be willing to clean house. And that means that some of you are going to have to step up to the plate and take roles of leadership. In my city alone, there are 35 city council seats that are term-limited in 2021. There are some that aren't termed but maybe their term should be up. Step up to the plate and run. If nothing else it will let our elected officials see that they need to stop being comfortable and do more. We don't need you out in the street taking selfies or reporting the problems to us. We need solutions. We need you in a room implementing policies that will ensure that these things don't continue to happen.

If we want change, we need to support grassroots candidates that are not in corporate pockets, who are not taking PAC money, and who really want to make a difference to their community. We need candidates that know first-hand and can relate to the experiences that many of us are going through.

We are at a pivotal moment. It is inspiring to see people from all races and backgrounds in the streets protesting, standing up for justice, and wanting to see change. We must seize this moment, but we must also be mindful that change requires more.

People often ask me why I decided to run for office? I am running for me. I am running for the little girl that was called nigger on Liberty Avenue. For the woman who has been pulled over for no reason. For my nephew who was consistently stopped during the era of stop and frisk. I am running for your son, your brother, and your nephew. I am running so that the next generation will never have to say, "All my life I had to fight." Because although we won't stop until we see justice and changes that address inequality and inequity effectively, this fight is exhausting.