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Who Are You Now To Fulfill Your World?

Posted By Julie McReynolds, Friday, September 8, 2017

 

“We can’t give people what we don’t have. Who we are matters immeasurably more than what we know or who we want to be.” —Brené Brown

 

It’s easy to hide behind external standards. It’s easy to allow what you know to be your sales pitch. By how competent you are. Skills, not substance. But easy can often not be fulfilling.

 

There’s a quote that all B2B sales are B2C. I agree; you can’t sell and engage companies as if they don’t have a soul. People are their soul. The same people who wake up like you do, who struggle like you do. Those people create a soul within a company. You can call that culture, or spirit, or substance.

You can’t sell to a legal entity. You sell to other people. You sell them your story. But you can’t make up your story. Nor can you tell a story that gets you ahead of where you currently are. And they buy partly for what you sell, but definitely for who you are.

 

FINDING YOUR RIGHTNESS

Feel the difference in leadership from a $100,000 business and a $1,000,000 business. Make it personal: Imagine yourself with a salary that has one extra zero behind your current one. Is that who you are? Is that who you’re willing to be?

 

You go into the workforce, to work in force. Come what may, you go into work and your life to change the world. At least, to change those around you who most believe in you. It’s part of our drives to survive and replicate. We want to see what we create (or who) withstand time’s eternal march.

This makes us human. And today, you see the impact of a world where that humanity subjugated to the cubicle and the commute. We’ve had friends enraged by their commute, listless in their efforts. So many are asking, “Is it worth it?”

 

This question goes beyond the New Years’ Resolution. This is an epochal question you have to face. The world will show you answers, and people will steer you towards their answers. But you have to be willing, ready, and steadfast in answering your own worth. You deserve the world, but no one can have it all.

 

TRUE TRANSITION QUESTIONS

I coach military members to command their transition. I help them make honest choices on why they chose the uniform. And how they can choose a life after the uniform as compelling as within. I help veterans answer the one question keeping them up at night: Is it worth it?

 

Worth goes beyond money. You can make $40,000 a year a be happy, then scale to $400,000 a year and be miserable. Today, you can see the success stories of the “Instagrams” who cash out at a billion dollars after two years of work. But just because you see them, doesn’t mean they’re the rule. Far from it; they’re the exception.

 

Some people have always known the song they held within. Some people prodded along a career until they found what was missing. Steven Pressfield calls them “shadow careers”: working a career to pay the bills, but not paying dues for your calling.

 

When I coach military members, the transition is the easy part. The tactics are measurable and quantifiable. But what I truly coach, the hard part, is the calling. What if you’re called to lead soldiers into combat, but you’re tired? What if you’re called to be an amazing brand authority for vets?

 

CALLING OUT PURPOSE

“Calling” is hard.

 

Calling can be a synonym for passion. And you’ve heard both refrains. On one hand, many consider passion poisonous advice. You can’t just run off, leave your life behind, and follow your passion. Yet, passion also seems synonymous with purpose. If you’re passionate, you last longer doing the hard work of building a business, growing a family, or advancing your art.

 

What’s behind all that, is purpose.

 

Military members what a purpose that transcends the uniform. You want a purpose that’s stronger than any setback you’re facing. You want Monday to feel like Friday. And why not?

 

Purpose isn’t device; it’s practice. You have to practice more than one thing, to figure out who you are. Your inalienable, almost immovable, core is what moves you through the world. And after spending years building up armor to face the world, it’s empowering and excruciating to realize all the world wants, is you at your best.

It might be simple. But simple doesn’t mean easy.

 

Purpose is why you’re reading this page. Purpose is what you feel when you hate waking up on Monday. Purpose is what you see when you meet a business or personal hero you admire. Those who love what they do, never spent one moment overwhelmed. That’s not because of the tactics they use, but because of the strategy and stance they take in the life they have and are.

 

CLEARING AND CALLING

Purpose is the journey that shows you worth. But today’s world affords so much distraction, clarity becomes elusive. Think about how many ads, diversions, and ideas you’ve come up within the last week. How many of them can you act on? How many of them can you leave behind, unfulfilled.

The gravity of unfulfilled expectations. The penalty of other peoples’ permission.

 

No one can be as clear about your future as you. No one can want your success and happiness as much as you want it. Humanity at its core is about success. As children, success is a simple, often-splendored thing. As adults, success seems to be as much shouting at rush hour as it is escaping for a weekend.

 

Why not change that?

 

Why not come from a place of worth? Why not accept who we are, and let that acceptance embolden us to move? Why not allow yourself the opportunity to be clear in your own outcomes? Business isn’t a chance to produce, it’s also a chance to be. Who are you now, that the world can’t resist you?

 

Find where you are, and you’ll know where you want to go.

 

About Travis Collier
Travis is an active duty US Coast Guard Officer, who’s served for 16 years. He’s been assigned to six states, and completed 1 overseas deployment. Currently, Travis is a
commercial vessel inspector in the Port of New Orleans. He has been awarded three Coast Guard Commendation Medals, with Operational Distinguishing Device. Also, he’s
published two books, “SCALE” & “Command Your Transition”, runs a military transition coaching business, and hosts the Transition Tactics Podcast.

Meet Travis at the 2017 Conference and Career Fair! Register now! 

Tags:  Career  career transition  job  jobs  NAWMBA 

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The 5 M’s of successful investing and getting funded

Posted By Julie McReynolds, Tuesday, August 29, 2017

There is a direct correlation between an investor understanding the 5 basis principals of considering making an investment and an entrepreneur receiving the correct types and amount of funding to launch their startup. Therefore, for both funders and founders, focus on these 5 M’s in evaluating any successful entrepreneurial investment: (1) Management, (2) Momentum, (3) Model, (4) Motivation and (5) Market. As an active angel investor, Dr. Silvia Mah, founder of She Invests, a firm focused on giving a voice to female angel investors through a podcast, a snackable book, and investor circle opportunities to grow the number of active angel investors globally, knows intricately that these 4M’s are revisited by every angel group, syndication network, and angel conference in analyzing startups for investment.

 

(1) Management (the team)

The passion of the startup individual or team is contagious when it is genuinely communicated and embraced by all involved. Is the founder / founder team experienced enough to take this startup towards creating value inside the company (culture) as well as execute on product deliverable? Is the founder coachable? Do they have the right board of advisors (scientific, technical or industry board) who have validated the startup potential and gotten in back of the mission? How credible is the startup team? Do you trust them with effectively using your investment dollars well? How experienced are they in the industry they are going into? How experienced are they in creating startups? One huge consideration and one that really makes the “female founder – female funder” connection really thrive, is the personality match between the entrepreneur and investor. They will be spending many hours and years together, so that that connectivity is crucial for a successful return on investment. The tenacity/grit of startup founders has been a deciding factor in some investment decisions.

 

(2) Momentum (traction)

The type of traction a startup can garner from their immediate startup ecosystem supporting their endeavors, advisors connecting them to great collaborators, and just a non-stop attitude is what investors want to see. Many entrepreneurs ask how do they show traction at early stages of launching their startup. Simple traction of presenting at conferences, meeting with angel investors (even over coffee), pitching at startup events, or customer interviews are great ways to show you are on the right track. However, the number one way that you can show traction is actually getting paid customers, the speed of early adoption by your target customers is crucial to your continued growth of happy customers.  


(3) Model (show me the money)

Model is as simple as the business model. The startup needs to be able to communicate the way it thinks it can make money, through BtoC, BtoB, franchising, licensing, etc. There are so many ways to build a business model, but those startups who are successful really understand the intricacies of their industry and innovate around how they can make sustaining revenues for the highest return of their stakeholders. A prime example of investing in a startup primarily because of the business model is one that understands how to create value and revenue at a very early stage to be able to fund the larger vision. This shows business acumen in the industry, value of the investors’ money and returns, and an astute business model innovation.


(4) Motivation (why now?)

For a product to penetrate a market, a certain market factor needs to drive a large component of the business model. The market driver might be that the technology is ripe enough in the industry to support a new way of delivering a certain product (Spotify) or that the customers are ripe for a new solution in the growing sharing economy (Airbnb). There is an urgency to capture the increased interest or leverage certain new technology to launch & receive funding for a new venture. Another consideration under “motivation” is the team-product fit. Why is this team best suited for producing this product and executing a flawless business model for optimal proof of concept validation (and actually having a startup survive)? If the product is so suited for the team as well as the market, does it have enough IP (Intellectual Property) protection to ensure long-term success?


(5) Market (are there enough customers to buy?)

There are two approaches to help define the market: Top down and Bottoms up. Top down takes a macro-economic view of how large the market is, competitors, and current market trends. Bottoms up takes the customer view of how many items will be sold to how many people while not taking too much notice on the larger drivers in the industry. The product-market fit is crucial in the successful launch of startup, connecting the passion-driven development of an impactful product with a market who is hungry for the solution. A typical VC would only look at Market of >>$500M, growth rate of >>10%, large pain point among customers (in numbers/size of customers and value to the end-user), and unique approach to solving pain.


Investing in startups is a high-risk proposition. These simple 5 M’s help demystify the most important aspects to consider and at least start the due diligence process with a business seeking funding. For entrepreneurs, being able to clearly articulate the unique the 5M’s to an investor will get to the next meeting, which is the only goal you should have when speaking with potential investors. It’s a delicate dance founders and funders take in increasing trust between them through genuine conversations, breaking down market drivers and investigating how unique the product is for the customer who is in desperate need of a solution.

 

Twitter: @silviamah

Facebook: @SheInvests

Linked In: silviamah

Instagram: sheinvests

Website: www.sheinvests.com

 

Meet Dr. Mah in person and attend her session on entrepreneurial issues at the 2017 Conference and Career Fair. Register now! 

Tags:  Business  entrepreneur  leadership  NAWMBA  Professionals  women  WomeninBusiness  WomenMBA 

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Insurance is an Under-Valued Essential for New Generation of Entrepreneurs

Posted By Julie McReynolds, Friday, August 18, 2017

In the beginning, most startups have lofty goals and big dreams. Quite often, those goals involve bootstrapping your way through a few rough years with a lean, dedicated team, pulling in the investor interest, and eventually creating a profound space for yourself in the market. Whether that means spending some time in an incubator or running your startup from your living room, there’s a good chance you’re singularly focused on getting the job done, with little time for much else. Throw in the need for family time and—if you can find it—time to decompress from the high-intensity world of entrepreneurship, and there are often few other concerns to think about beyond the core essentials.

 

Although one of those “core essentials” is often the potential risk for different lawsuits, many startups may need to expand their view of what legal hazards exist, even in the early stages. Despite some misconceptions, it’s not just patent infringement or employee treatment that need your attention and risk mitigation early on. Particularly for a new generation of entrepreneurs, risks associated with cyber security, misconceptions about general liability, and the need for professional liability all exist as well.

 

Cyber Threats Are Nothing to Ignore

The name Yahoo keeps popping up in the news when it comes to cyber security threats. It’s easy for a small startup to assume that cyber risks are just a problem for large enterprises. One day your business may be big enough to make it on the radar of cyber criminals looking to hack servers, steal data, and make off with large paydays from ransomware attacks against your company. For now, that’s not a concern. Right? Not quite.

 

The 2016 Internet Security Threat Report found that while only 1 in 40 small businesses are at threat of a cyber attack (a stark difference compared to the 1 in 2 for large enterprises), 43% of cyber attacks targeted small businesses. How do we reconcile those numbers? By considering volume. There are over 27 million SMBs in the US, compared to just over 16,000 companies in the US that might qualify as “large enterprises.”

 

Meanwhile, some data appears to reveal that small businesses are at a far higher risk than what the above numbers might indicate. A 2015 report from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission referenced a 2014 version of the Internet Security Threat Report which found that 60% of cyber attacks were against small businesses. Did the threat against small businesses somehow drop 17 percentage points between 2014 and 2016? Unlikely. The more likely scenario is that this information is painfully hard to track, making the actual threat difficult to predict and measure fully, and therefore, makes it a dangerous problem to ignore.

 

But let’s say your company does decide to gamble a bit on cyber security threats. That’s perhaps the most dangerous game to play for a startup. Part of that is due to the high costs associated with recovering and handling cyber attacks, as well as the hit your startup will take to its reputation.

 

According to the Allianz 2016 Business Risk Barometer, 69% of a company’s economic loss following a cyber incident is due to reputational loss. For a startup trying to attract investors, reputation is everything. Such a hit to your reputation may knock the steam out of your growth, permanently.

 

Such risks can be mitigated by cyber insurance, which is designed to help businesses recover from these incidents. Cyber insurance often includes valuable business interruption coverage, as well as coverage for cyber extortion, a growing threat more commonly associated with ransomware.

 

Misconceptions About General Liability Abound

Perhaps the biggest problem with general liability is not in what it does cover, but what it doesn’t. Many startups tend to assume that general liability insurance operates as a sort of “catch-all” for far more types of risks it than it will actually mitigate.

 

For example, a 2013 Chubb survey found that 52% of businesses assumed that their general liability policy protected their business against risks more commonly associated with errors & omission insurance. (A further 65% incorrectly believed it also covered directors & officers liability, while 32% also thought it included cyber liability.) The reality of general liability is that it’s fairly limited in scope. Perhaps the name “general liability,” is a bit misleading.

 

To be clear, if your business is providing more than just products, but services and advice to clients, you’ll need coverage such as professional liability. This policy is designed specifically to mitigate the risks associated with providing advice that will lead clients toward some kind of independent action. Increasingly, these kind of services are a boon for businesses, but even a small oversight, such as failing to add a legal disclaimer in the right place, can result in consequences for your business.

 

Additionally, it’s important to recognize just how all-encompassing that advisory role can be. Even startups that operate entirely online, and that don’t offer advice for a fee can be at risk. This is where those legal disclaimers, or more importantly the lack thereof, can get some startups in trouble.

 

Still, if advice and services are what your startup is doing in general, some form of insurance to help mitigate the risk of accidentally providing erroneous advice or not meeting service expectations is a necessary purchase.

 

There’s Value in Risk Protection

Beyond cyber security threats and potential lawsuits that may arise from providing inaccurate advice, startups need to consider the possibility of the many unknowns associated with running a business. Your startup may be on the bleeding edge of its niche but it may end up doing more bleeding than anything else if you’re unprepared to handle the increasingly 21st-century-themed risks associated with entrepreneurship.

 

It might be time to ask all of the right questions that you’re avoiding asking yourself. Seek advice from others who have been at it longer than you have. Do a bit of research on the type of risks most common with your industry. Getting a handle on risk mitigation early can keep those risks from creating unexpected and painful disruptions to your startup as it takes off.

 

About the Author

Rashmi Melgiri is the COO & Co-founder of CoverWallet.com, a company reinventing how people buy and manage insurance.

Rashmi has over 10 years of experience in the technology & media sector. Prior to founding CoverWallet, Rashmi was a strategy consultant in the Technology, Media and Telecom sector at the largest North American TMT consulting group (AltmanVilandrie & Co.). In that position, Rashmi advised companies on go to market strategy, new product development and M&A transaction. Rashmi has also worked a number of start-ups including Visible Measures and portfolio companies within Comcast Interactive Media.
Rashmi has a bachelors degree from MIT and an MBA from MIT Sloan. 


Tags:  Business  insurance  leadership  MBA Women  NAWMBA  Professionals  technology  women  WomeninBusiness  womenintech  WomenMBA 

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Why Your Career Matters

Posted By Julie McReynolds, Monday, August 14, 2017

 

Why Your Career Matters

By Bethany Miller, DBA


Jobs are meaningless. And everyone knows it.


Careers, on the other hand, are occupations that incorporate all of your diverse skills, draw upon your past experiences, and should be designed to serve your community with purpose. But it’s a huge shift in mindset to go from “I have a job” to “My career serves a purpose.”


You can almost immediately identify the people who have made this shift. They’re the ones that approach their work holistically. It’s the person who talks to people at the service counter with a genuine concern for their problem. It’s the person who makes your coffee with care and asks you how your day is going during the process. It’s the manager who asks you what else they can do for you when you approach them with an issue. They know that their work is as much about solving problems as it is about doing the tasks.


How do you turn your job mindset into a career mindset?


Very few people can articulate their life’s purpose with ease. It’s a difficult thing to see because we are mired in the details of our jobs. Therefore, real power comes when we deliberate over and identify our career’s purpose. Disclosing it gives it strength. Sharing it with others gives us influence.


Take a wider look at your work. Your career is your entire body of work. It’s everything you’ve worked on professionally- the job tasks themselves, the volunteer work you’ve done, the expertise you’ve shared through mentoring or teaching, and the peripheral skills you’ve honed over the course of years. All the travel you do? That’s shaping the way you see the world and changes how you approach your work. That community group you’re a part of? That’s building your network, making you a thought leader, and changing the way you approach work. That yoga class you take regularly? That’s creating physical and emotional flow and structuring the way you physically and emotionally approach your work. There is no separating the “you” from “your career.” Your life and career mindset are set in the same direction when you recognize your patterns and purpose.


Take stock of your values.


What is it that you truly value? Take a moment to search for “list of values” on the internet and print one out. Circle the ten that you cherish the most. Look at those ten and think about how these things that you hold most dear shape who you are, how you behave, and the work that you do. Now cross off five. These are the ones that motivate you in your most challenging situations. Now cross of three. The remaining two are the ones that define you. Finally, (you know where this is going), instead of crossing off one of the two top values, select your top value. The act of choosing instead of eliminating is an act of power. It’s a bold step in defining yourself. We’ve all had moments of crisis where we lament, “I don’t know who I am!” THIS is who you are. You are the person who was put on this earth to work for things beholden to these few selected values, but never ever forsaking Value #1.


So What?


The only way to get to the true point of our career- to see how we are really changing the world- to know why we’re really working as hard as we do- is to ask “so what?”. This is a powerful question.


If you’re a marketing manager, I’m sure you do a lot of important and interesting things for your company. So what? What’s the big deal about your work? What matters isn’t that you put out a new campaign. What matters is that you influenced the way people feel about your products. You changed someone’s mind about what they needed to consume. You generated greater sales with a powerful voice. Those actions may have tipped the scales for your company. Your work not only mattered to the bottom line, but it changed a customer’s life, even if only in the smallest way, and even if only for a moment.


If you’re a member of a volunteer organization, I’m sure you do a lot of work keeping the ship running, planning events, and advocating for the cause. So what? Anyone could do that, right? Maybe. But it matters that it’s YOU. Because you care, and you value the mission of that organization, YOU will do more impactful work than anyone else. It’s part of your purpose.


Know your worth, and grow it wisely.


You are unique in what you do because of your individual background and experiences, because of your intrinsic motivation and drive, and because of your well-earned skillset. Sure, there are people better than you at certain things. Someone will always be faster at work, more intelligent about a particular briefing, or funnier and more at ease with a particular client. But you have a unique place in your field and how you shape your career. The activities you pursue and the communities you build make you more valuable in your work than anyone. You just have to see where that space is. And if you can’t see it clearly, create it.


There are a lot of fantastic speakers at this year’s NAWMBA conference. They all can help you see a bigger picture of you and your work. Approach the keynotes, sessions, and networking with purpose, because it’s building your career. And when someone asks you what you do….tell them about your career’s purpose and your values. Then help them identify theirs.


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Dr. Bethany Miller researches career psychology and works with people on identifying their career’s purpose. To find out more or contact her, visit www.FluxAgents.com and see join her at the 2017 Conference and Career Fair in Chicago! Go here to register now! 


Tags:  Business  Career  job  jobs  leadership  NAWMBA  WomeninBusiness  WomenMBA 

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Academic Chapter of the Month-Oklahoma State University: A Chapter with Heart

Posted By Nadia Alhashimi, Wednesday, August 9, 2017

 

Oklahoma State University’s chapter is new to the NAWMBA family. They are going on their second year, but after only a year of establishment their personality is clear. They are a chapter with heart. I always say that my favorite thing about NAWMBA is that it feels like family. Nobody has embodied that more than NAWMBA’s Oklahoma State University chapter. Here’s a little bit about what drives the chapter at OSU in the words of their president, Dylan Dean.


The first thing that we did as new leaders was to go to NAWMBA’s conference and career fair. At the time our President was Holly, and even though I’ve taken over this year I’m still close to her. We went to conference and became inspired by what other chapters were doing. When we came back we brought what we learned. We built on programs that already existed within Spears School of Business. For example, Spears has a Friday class that we call, ‘Professional Development.’ Through that class we are connected directly to faculty, staff, and representatives from the community. Students are introduced to speakers and then go to networking events with the members of our community who present on different topics. Some entrepreneurs discuss how they got their start or why/how they switched careers. From that program, we decided what was most interesting to us and economic opportunities in our community. We pulled ideas as to what we want to be our focus for the month. It’s an easy way to get the ideas going! This past spring, we watched the documentary, “The Women’s List” highlighting 30 women who have made their mark in their respective industry. This gave us so many ideas! Currently we meet monthly but we also have volunteer events that make it more frequent. For example, this past spring we volunteered at the Children’s Museum, engaging with Elementary aged students. We enjoyed interacting with them, but also were proud to let them see that there are women in the community (outside of their teachers) who are leading as examples of community activists and goodwill models. This community volunteer aspect is extremely important for our chapter. We volunteer on and off campus and interactive volunteering is an important aspect of our service. We see the value in food or toy drives, but for us it’s not as beneficial for members as having interactive experiences together. In the next year, I hope to develop these community partnerships so that we can find more opportunities for volunteer work in the community. The leadership and organizational skills helps us build community connections but also helps to develop our skills in marketing, communications, leadership, and stewardship that we may not have in our internships or entry level jobs. Our chapter is incredibly grateful to also have such great support from our MBA program. Whatever we choose to attend, OSU provides transportation, funding, and/or training. They really give us support to make our goals a reality. For example, last year only our chapter leaders attended the 2016 NAWMBA Conference and Career Fair, but we are looking forward to getting a large group to Chicago this year!


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Tags:  Chapter of the Month  NAWMBA  womeninbusiness 

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