Running a business can be a challenge in and of itself, but in today's world where the commonly heard phrase "there's an app for that" really does ring true, it can be easier than ever to run a business while traveling the world. This is even true for those involved in business models where most revenue is made at physical locations, like service industries and retail stores.
The tech world is ever-evolving and new apps are constantly popping up, serving new functions and improving old ones, making our lives as business owners that much easier by enabling us to effectively manage with the simple and accessible touch of a button.
We're seeing a plethora of apps for website management, data management, booking software for appointments, services and just about everything in between. Even apps with mobile capabilities for more sensitive tasks like payroll management and accounting now exist! On every end of the spectrum as a business owner, the tech field has us covered.
Whether a business is location-oriented or not, it is always important that it's left in the hands of someone we not only trust, but more importantly that the person you trust is left with a team that you have prepped for success.
One of the most effective ways to prep your managers and staff for success is to establish operating procedures which are codified, reviewed, and put into practice in order to ensure seamlessness of daily operations. Figure out what your steps of service are, which factors most determine your brand's user experience, and never stop urging your staff to search for new ways of improving steps of service.
Between traveling for leisure and traveling for work, my studio team is my greatest asset in keeping allongeé running smoothly. As a company which relies on our service hours- i.e. when we are actively running classes- our staff members really set the stage for my company's success in my absence.
It is also equally important to keep an eye on overhead and have overhead goals on top priority which will yield for greater financial security.
When a business' day-to-day costs can be controlled, profit margins can be controlled and likely increased. This makes running a business from overseas much more rewarding for the entrepreneur, which can be an even bigger asset to the entity's financial health.
While all of these things are equally important, the one which is likely to have the greatest overall influence is the intervention of technology to help manage, analyze, and organize nearly every angle of the business. The apps we utilize allow me to manage countless aspects of the business from abroad- from point of sale to social media management and client management. Technology can be relative to the rest of the above points as well; if we are able to allow technology to take over any of the operational tasks we can often save/improve in more than one place (i.e. software systems for bookings- can save work time for employees, simplifying SOP tasks and can also save on overhead costs).
Managing point of sale while abroad can offer peace of mind, but can also allow us the chance to track inventory, create projections and evaluate the performance of products. Inventory and re-ordering would likely be a nightmare without the help of the Square app. It updates in real-time, and offers a pretty satisfactory array of reports on various sales stats as well.
Our brand's social media presence is probably one of the more important things I manage on a day-to-day basis, and it's most definitely gotten easier with the implementation of apps like Buffer and Hootsuite. These programs allow me to plan ahead and schedule social media posts, making management easier than ever even while I am traveling.
Lastly and equally as important is our booking software, Mindbody, which helps manage schedules on a live-feed while also serving as our clients' means to purchase class packages and pre-book services. Like Square, this app also has quite an array of performance reports, from revenue projections to retention reports and even marketing analyses.
It's no secret that running a business can take a toll on one's mental health, especially when the sole owner is away on vacation crossing their fingers every minute that everything is running smoothly back home. Fortunately, you guessed it, there's an app for that too. Meditation and fitness apps can be a great option when all you want to do is call and check in on your fully capable team (that you handpicked to work with you for that exact reason).
Simple Habit is a guided meditation app which focuses on what your goals are outside of the guided meditation. The app will offer reminders to meditate during times you anticipate you may need it and will personalize your experience to meet your needs. Most of the mediations are quick, under ten minutes, and will help keep your mental state in good health and will allow you to build the habit of stepping back and finding a place for relaxation. Even simpler is utilizing Spotify's mood playlists. As a dancer, my body and emotions have always been deeply connected to music, and Spotify has a really great collection of playlists for relaxation, mood and energy boosters, and just about everything in between. Find what works best for you. Taking a moment to yourself can help you relax and enjoy the vacation you worked so hard for.
Today's apps make it easy to keep track of what is going on every minute of every day. Like I touched on earlier, technology has assisted business owners with developing a work/life balance so they are in-the-know while away, but still able to enjoy a change of scenery.
With the right tools, procedures, and staff in place, a sustainable business will be able to adjust its model to remain sustainable and secure while you take advantage of having your 'out of office' message on.
Gender divisions in sports have primarily served to keep women out of what has always been believed to be a male domain. The idea of women participating alongside men has been regarded with contempt under the belief that women were made physically inferior.
Within their own division, women have reached new heights, received accolades for outstanding physical performance and endurance, and have proven themselves to be as capable of athletic excellence as men. In spite of women's collective fight to be recognized as equals to their male counterparts, female athletes must now prove their womanhood in order to compete alongside their own gender.
That has been the reality for Caster Semenya, a South African Olympic champion, who has been at the center of the latest gender discrimination debate across the world. After crushing her competition in the women's 800-meter dash in 2016, Semenya was subjected to scrutiny from her peers based upon her physical appearance, calling her gender into question. Despite setting a new national record for South Africa and attaining the title of fifth fastest woman in Olympic history, Semenya's success was quickly brushed aside as she became a spectacle for all the wrong reasons.
Semenya's gender became a hot topic among reporters as the Olympic champion was subjected to sex testing by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). According to Ruth Padawer from the New York Times, Semenya was forced to undergo relentless examination by gender experts to determine whether or not she was woman enough to compete as one. While the IAAF has never released the results of their testing, that did not stop the media from making irreverent speculations about the athlete's gender.
Moments after winning the Berlin World Athletics Championship in 2009, Semenya was faced with immediate backlash from fellow runners. Elisa Cusma who suffered a whopping defeat after finishing in sixth place, felt as though Semenya was too masculine to compete in a women's race. Cusma stated, "These kind of people should not run with us. For me, she is not a woman. She's a man." While her statement proved insensitive enough, her perspective was acknowledged and appeared to be a mutually belief among the other white female competitors.
Fast forward to 2018, the IAAF issued new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development) that apply to events from 400m to the mile, including 400m hurdles races, 800m, and 1500m. The regulations created by the IAAF state that an athlete must be recognized at law as either female or intersex, she must reduce her testosterone level to below 5 nmol/L continuously for the duration of six months, and she must maintain her testosterone levels to remain below 5 nmol/L during and after competing so long as she wishes to be eligible to compete in any future events. It is believed that these new rules have been put into effect to specifically target Semenya given her history of being the most recent athlete to face this sort of discrimination.
With these regulations put into effect, in combination with the lack of information about whether or not Semenya is biologically a female of male, society has seemed to come to the conclusion that Semenya is intersex, meaning she was born with any variation of characteristics, chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals. After her initial testing, there had been alleged leaks to media outlets such as Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper which stated that Semenya's results proved that her testosterone levels were too high. This information, while not credible, has been widely accepted as fact. Whether or not Semenya is intersex, society appears to be missing the point that no one is entitled to this information. Running off their newfound acceptance that the Olympic champion is intersex, it calls into question whether her elevated levels of testosterone makes her a man.
The IAAF published a study concluding that higher levels of testosterone do, in fact, contribute to the level of performance in track and field. However, higher testosterone levels have never been the sole determining factor for sex or gender. There are conditions that affect women, such as PCOS, in which the ovaries produce extra amounts of testosterone. However, those women never have their womanhood called into question, nor should they—and neither should Semenya.
Every aspect of the issue surrounding Semenya's body has been deplorable, to say the least. However, there has not been enough recognition as to how invasive and degrading sex testing actually is. For any woman, at any age, to have her body forcibly examined and studied like a science project by "experts" is humiliating and unethical. Under no circumstances have Semenya's health or well-being been considered upon discovering that her body allegedly produces an excessive amount of testosterone. For the sake of an organization, for the comfort of white female athletes who felt as though Semenya's gender was an unfair advantage against them, Semenya and other women like her, must undergo hormone treatment to reduce their performance to that of which women are expected to perform at. Yet some women within the athletic community are unphased by this direct attempt to further prove women as inferior athletes.
As difficult as this global invasion of privacy has been for the athlete, the humiliation and sense of violation is felt by her people in South Africa. Writer and activist, Kari, reported that Semenya has had the country's undying support since her first global appearance in 2009. Even after the IAAF released their new regulations, South Africans have refuted their accusations. Kari stated, "The Minister of Sports and Recreation and the Africa National Congress, South Africa's ruling party labeled the decision as anti-sport, racist, and homophobic." It is no secret that the build and appearance of Black women have always been met with racist and sexist commentary. Because Black women have never managed to fit into the European standard of beauty catered to and in favor of white women, the accusations of Semenya appearing too masculine were unsurprising.
Despite the countless injustices Semenya has faced over the years, she remains as determined as ever to return to track and field and compete amongst women as the woman she is. Her fight against the IAAF's regulations continues as the Olympic champion has been receiving and outpour of support in wake of the Association's decision. Semenya is determined to run again, win again, and set new and inclusive standards for women's sports.