I only had 20 minutes…

I had 20 minutes to prepare a 1 minute business pitch. I was at the She Leads conference in NYC just last week and was chosen for one of these coveted spots.

I’m walking you through those 20 minutes and how it felt when opportunity knocked in an urgent time frame.

Minute 1-5 was complete confidence. Here we go, let’s do this!

I started to jot down what I knew I needed to include: My company name, the problem we solve, why to choose us and a solid call to action.

At minute 5 I felt a little more pressure and even began doubting some of the things I’d written down. I need a story in here, this sounds generic.

Keep in mind that this opportunity was only offered to a few of us at the event. We had to write the pitch during our lunch break (so you know I missed the awesome buffet) and was too afraid to run to the restroom, so I was uncomfortable all around.

But, exposure like this is big. By minute 6…Hey, suck it up and keep going.

I spent another 10 minutes writing, trying to be as succinct and powerful as I could, and the last 4 or so practicing, so I’d come off prepared and not staring at my notes.

The time came. I was sitting next to a woman who has going after me and she said, “Is your heart pounding as strong as mine.”

I said, “It sure is and it should be. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t be committed.”

I pitched.

120 people in the room.

5 media representatives.

I did a lot of things well and I made a few mistakes.

Feedback was mixed.

You really know your stuff.
Not a strong call to action.
You needed a story.

The opportunity was fantastic. It gave me the chance to get advice from people that listen to pitches all day. It opened up new doors for me, as the next time I get offered a chance like this, I’ll be that much stronger.

Practicing. Learning. Improving.
Working ON your business. It never ends.

Every one these days is running a mastermind. At SSC, we are in our 9th year of masterminds and every time my amazing group of clients comes together, the results are eye-opening.

In fact, this week is our fall retreat for some of my existing clients. Don’t worry if you missed out on this one, just email me at support@slatersuccesscoaching.com and I’ll let you know about other opportunities to come together with dynamic business women.

We pull leaders together, we collaborate, we grow, we change.

We show up and we continue to make a difference.

If you had to write your business pitch in 20 minutes and present it in front of over 100 people with 5 media experts, could you do it? If the thought gets you sweaty and nervous, let’s chat.

You can do this. Don’t miss out because you aren’t focused in.

Software doesn’t solve the problem…but this does

My team and I were discussing a software we might utilize in advance of a new project we’re working on (details on that exciting announcement very soon) and one of my team members said, “You know, software doesn’t really solve the problem.”

The problem in this case was that I needed to perform a step BEFORE the software could do its job.

And then of course my copywriter said, “I think this is a blog topic.”

And here we are…

You have probably used some sort of software or app in your business. There are various ones out there, either paid or free, for things like contact management, scheduling, budgeting, team tasks, etc.

They really can be useful and lead to bigger business growth. BUT, they only work when you and your team put the information into it.

Software doesn’t solve the problem.
People do.

It’s not about finding the software or the app, it’s about the team and the process behind it.

My team and I spent a few minutes talking about who would do what and when, if we did get a software like the one we were looking at and everything started to sound a lot more sensible and doable.

If you’re in a corporate environment, you may be working with dozens of other people on a team. One of the main reasons teams fail is lack of communication.

Always speak up if you aren’t sure how a process will work OR if you have a better idea on how it could work.

My team and I love Slack. It’s a free app and it’s instant messages sorted by channel discussions. We have found this to be very effective in keeping project deadlines and following up.

There have been other applications that did NOT work for us and we moved on.

Find software or an app that works, but don’t forget to connect the people and the process with that software.

If you are feeling a disconnect about anything in your business or on your team, reach out to support@slatersuccesscoaching.com

Create The Process, Solve The Problem

Decision-making was the topic of one of my recent blog posts and then just the other day, I came across this fantastic quote:

“Most business activity is slowing down, not accelerating. In benchmarking the speed of key processes across the corporate sector, we find again and again that decision-making at even the most basic level has slowed materially over the past five to ten years.”

– Tom Monahan, CEO of CEB

Monahan wrote an entire article with supporting data around this topic and I wanted to weigh in, as well, because one of the key factors in growth is finding rhythm in decision- making.

Making decisions in business is an everyday activity. Whether you are a one-person show or on a team of dozens, finding a way to come to a decision (right or wrong) should be broken down into a standard process.

Don’t have one? Create one.

Depending on your industry, your team (or no team) and the decisions at hand, the process you create will look different, but having one gets the ball rolling and stops you from getting stuck.

For example, your office is in need of new accounting software. Everyone is complaining about it being outdated and they’re just sending emails back and forth without actually working on a plan to change the situation.

Maybe it’s simply because they don’t know what to do? Who do they tell? What do they tell them? When do they tell them?

For this scenario, you would create a decision-making team. If you don’t have a team, find friends or colleagues to support you.

You need a researcher, someone to compile all the research, someone to present the research, a meeting to discuss the findings, a decision by vote at the end of the meeting, someone to order the software and someone to learn the software and train the rest of the office.

Delegate people to each task and set realistic deadlines and expectations. Often it’s the lack of scheduling and firm timeframes that delay decisions.

Now, anytime the office comes across an IT or software related decision need, a process and a team is in place.

Problem: Outdated software

Step 1: Research team starts looking for options.

Step 2: Interns compile all the research into Excel…

And so on and so forth.

If you want to work on creating a process for decision-making in your business, let’s chat. Reach out to support@slatersuccesscoaching.com.

Do this one thing first and everything changes

I recently read an article about the late Joe Ades, the man who became a millionaire selling $5 potato peelers on the streets of New York City. Yes, you read that right. An absolutely amazing story.
This story and video really stuck with me and I wanted to share it with you.

It’s very easy to have days where you are feeling down, unsure or negative.

Your sales team is looking to you for motivation as they work their way up in the company.

You have a presentation to give and you can’t find the words.

You are responsible for planning a company retreat and you’re stuck for ideas.

No matter the situation, there is one thing you can do, first, that will always make a difference.

Get excited!

Watching Mr. Ades, dressed in his lovely suit, enthusiastically demonstrating those peelers to huge crowds, is the reason he sold so many.

His enthusiasm and love for what he was out there doing was infectious. People wanted to be around him, wanted to buy from him. You can watch him in action right here and find out even more fascinating details about his life.

If you look at each project that comes your way with enthusiasm and excitement, you are already on the right track. All the small details will fall into place.

Another reminder. Be yourself. Use the talents and skills you were meant to use. Mr. Ades really knew how to put on a show. He used that to his advantage and made so many people smile because of it. Not to mention, it made him a lot of money!

If you are great at holding webinars, do more of them.

If you enjoy training new staff members, ask to be involved.

If you have ideas to make your company more money, speak up.

If you need support in any way, always feel free to reach out for a conversation. Email me at support@slatersuccesscoaching.com and let’s talk about your next big success.

Commit to the journey

“Dream big. Accomplish bigger.”

– Joi Gordon, CEO of Dress of Success

I had the honor of listening to Joi speak this past week at the 11th annual Women in Business: Making Change power breakfast to support Dress for Success.

If you know me, you know I’m not a breakfast person. I don’t eat eggs. Gasp, I know. So paying for a ticket to a breakfast event turns into one really expensive cup of coffee or tea BUT also turns into a morning full of inspiration and motivation.

Every time I get away from my desk, my screen, my phone and sit down in a room full of powerful and tenacious women, I can’t help but leave with a smile.

The overall message from the event centered around committing to the journey. Whatever journey you may be on. If you are an entrepreneur, if you are working your way up the corporate ladder, if you are in a career transition, it’s all the same. Stay the course.

Amanda K. Johnson, a woman who had participated in the Dress for Success program, spoke at the event about how a “no often turns into a yes”. She relayed the story of how she worked with Habitat for Humanity and when year two came around, she applied and was denied. This “no” turned into other opportunities.

She is smart, tenacious and currently working on her MBA in her industry. She works in the construction industry, typically a male-dominated field and she wants to see women feel empowered to step into positions in contracting.

The 20/20 movement was brought up several times, which is a national campaign to increase the percentage of women on U.S. company boards to 20% or greater by the year 2020. A fantastic movement and if you aren’t familiar with it, you can read all about it here.  Amanda wants to see 50% participation from women in 2020 in the construction field.  

Last week I talked about business “competition” and how we are really just partners for one another as we all go through obstacles and triumphs.

This event again reminded me what we can do together, as women, when we work together to put our talents into the world and believe in ourselves.

If you want a support system in place as you commit to your entrepreneurial journey, as you commit to leading your sales team, as you commit to creating a new life, please reach out to support@slatersuccesscoaching.com and let’s start today.

They aren’t that bad…

They were rooting for Cal.

We were rooting for USC.

Fierce rivals we may have been, but it was still friendly competition.

The end result wasn’t what mattered. We were all there, supporting our team, purely loving the game and the sense of community in the stands.

Just like a football team has a rival, you may have a “rival” or two in business. We are not unique in what we do. Sure, we all have our own processes, systems, programs, methods, but we aren’t alone in our profession.

It takes me back to the days of my printing company, Slater Graphics. For the last decade of my time there, I shared an amazing collaborative relationship with a great friend and business associate. We shared an office, built a team together and supported one another in our respective businesses.

We openly talked about what would happen if we ended up vying for the same account, which was very realistic. We knew that our priority would always be the friendship and we would support each other no matter the scenario. We were both working parents and we got the day-to-day struggles that came along with running a household and running a business. There was mutual respect.

As a business and executive coach today, I enjoy many close relationships with other coaches. I don’t see it as a rivalry or competition. I see alliances. I see a group of people who want to help others reach new levels in their careers and businesses. I’m happy to be a part of that.

I’ve learned from my colleagues, as I know they have learned from me. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or leading a corporate team, I encourage you to create alliances with your “competition.” I encourage you to work together, toward the common goal.

Two heads are better than one is not just a saying. It’s absolutely true.

Share with me your stories on creating strong relationships and alliances with your colleagues and the difference it made in your life.

Feel free to reach out anytime to support@slatersuccesscoaching.com to continue the conversation.

I did it for her…why can’t I do it for myself?

SSC has worked with both entrepreneurs and corporate clients for many years. I had made a decision to put as many marketing efforts towards the corporate clients as I have put to the small businesses.

Currently, our marketing is geared towards one owner, often building out their first team, with messages that are more personal. It was time to up and expand our game in the marketing arena, sharing the full scope of the work we do.

As we build our new website and want to share about the various types of work we do, it’s been a struggle creating the marketing copy to support these efforts. Yes, sometimes even finding your own voice can be a challenge.

How do we speak to both audiences?
What are the main differences?
Do women in both of these areas have the same struggles?

When we sit down and talk over a cup of coffee, the main thing women seem to chat about differently than men, but the same as one another, is money.

Women take on many levels of responsibility: kids, activities, charities, etc. and our calendars tend to remain full.

Just last week, I was working with a successful business woman on building out the next extension of her business. She said to me, “Wow, this has all been floating around in my head for ages and today working together made it all clear to me.”

I was elated for her, but confused for myself. The marketing, the voice, the actions. Was I losing my touch? I couldn’t figure out my own stuff, just everybody elses? Then I realized, I am just too close to it. And when you are too close to something, it’s easy to lose clarity and perspective. Even my team is too close to it.

So, I took action and reached out to a colleague and great friend as we have built our businesses together over the years, always supporting one another.

My email said HELP: I need clarity, perspective and someone smart whose heart is not closely connected, can you talk?

Guess what, we are scheduled to chat later this week and I know this will get me into motion and out of my own way.

Who is your go to when you need clarity? A coach, a mentor, a friend?

If you need someone, I am happy to be there for you. I’m just a phone call or email away. You can reach me at support@slatersuccesscoaching.com anytime.

Never stay stuck.
You and your business are going places!

Making Decisions

The first thing I want to say is that I am sending prayers and well wishes to everyone affected by the scary weather situations happening in our world.

The decision. Do I stay or do I go? The ultimate question on the minds of so many in the past few days and weeks, as Hurricane Irma was set to begin her destructive path.

My aunt left to go back to Florida after spending Labor Day here in New York City for a family reunion. Even though the family wanted her to stay, her decision was that it was important for her to be home. She lives in the Palm Beach County area and got to a safe place for the storm.

Other family members in the area include a young couple, expecting their first child. They packed the car and headed to Orlando, also making backup reservations in Atlanta.

When they made this decision, no one expected Irma to head in this direction. They made their decision and took action.

Many people stayed. Many people left. It was their decision.

Of course, all decisions come with multiple factors. There is often no right and no wrong, there is only the best decision in that given moment. We can then make the next decision and the next decision.

The smart way to approach any decision, whether it’s about a storm, a family situation, a business opportunity – is not to make a panicked one. Look around the strategy around the decision, the opportunity and best case scenarios.

It’s easy to be taken over with fear, and frankly feeling the OMG that is often around decisions and the pressure of making a great, smart, perfect one. The best thing to do is remain focused and look at all the options available.

Talk to others, find support, ask questions, in the questions the various or best potential answers arise.

You don’t have to make the decision alone and always trust your gut.

Don’t stay in indecision. You must come to a resolution.

Every day you are faced with decisions. Some are small and some are major. It’s something we have to learn to do as business owners, parents, leaders, etc.

Be informed and never hesitate to ask for help.

Not what I expected

August looked really different for me than usual. For many of you, August meant your kids were going back to school, you were going back to school, your friends or family had kids going back to school. And for me, well, this is the first time in 20 years that I didn’t have a child headed to school.

I already miss it.

I miss the excitement. I miss the getting ready, the shopping for supplies, the gearing up for committees I was going to be on, the camaraderie of the other mothers.

As I sit here on the other side, I’m enjoying the experience through some of the moms on my team. Tara’s oldest just started first grade and Sonaya just moved to a new country and is researching day care with potential preschool options and support systems for working mothers.

Another reason August looked really different for me was because of the amount of time I took off.

My mom fell on August 1st and this completely shifted my plans for the month.

I have always prioritized my life as family first and created the businesses and careers that supported this priority.

I’m grateful that I’ve prioritized things this way.

Sure, I’ve been absent on social media, haven’t posted family photos, or even take any recently.

I’m backed up with work for SSC that was planned for August. A new website, new content for downloads on the website, writing, videos…nothing got done.

I have a large belief from where I teach that says, everyday I start with, “Today I Can.”

And that philosophy has been really important the entire month of August.

I worked from home, instead of my office, to be closer to my Mom.

I let go of judgment that I was not accomplishing what I expected to even though it was difficult and definitely a journey.

What I learned from the experience?

I am still in business.

I closed two new clients.

I had a great month financially.

I believe these things happened because I stayed true to my beliefs, even when it was a challenge and I was nervous and worried about my Mom.

She is doing well and getting back on her feet and we enjoyed some fun together last week that was really needed.

I’m also getting back on my “business feet” and revisiting my August tasks that are simply now September ones.

If circumstances change in your life, it’s going to be alright. Navigate and adapt.

Have you experienced a month or a year like my August? Tell me about it and share how you got through and what you learned on the SSC Facebook page.

If you ever want to chat in more detail about your business, don’t hesitate to email me at support@slatersuccesscoaching.com

SSC clients share their amazing success stories

What a summer! Our series on women leaders was so fun to write. And I thought the best way to end the series would be to feature a few Slater Success Mastery clients. These four women have graciously opened their hearts and shared a little about their journey.

 

“I had a regular corporate job, was moving up the ladder, everything was going fine, and then 11 years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. That made me look at the world differently and I realized what was important in life. It’s not what you have, it’s who you have and how you can make a difference in this world. Since that time I got divorced and started my own business. I am now a very, very happy person who sees the world with shining eyes. I’ve gone on cruises to Greece, bicycled through Hungary, rappelled down two buildings in Philadelphia and gone dog sledding in Canada. Why? Because I can! My business is booming. I love that I provide value to other businesses out there. I am a mom to awesome kids, a role I love, and life is good.”

-Amy Andersson, Owner, Price Turner CFOs

 

“It was never an easy road. I was born with a spinal deformity, an invisible disability. I have two children with Tourette’s Syndrome and my mom deals with various health problems. I feel like these challenges were given to me because I can handle them. I am worthy of the life I’ve created. I spent 17 years in the corporate world. I left what some would call a dream job (great salary, working from home) to find MY dream job. It took a lot of courage and support from those around me, people like Ivy, for me to take that step. She believed in me and the fact that I’ve been able to create a thriving 6-figure business in a short amount of time is testament to the work of coach and why I’m in this line of work myself.”

-Emily Golden, Mentor Coach & Affiliate, Accomplishment Coaching

 

“I left Washington DC three years ago to come to New York City. It was the scariest thing I ever did. I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t have a support system. It opened me up to a whole new world. I am most proud of this current chapter of my life, because it has given me the chance to carve out my own definition of womanhood. I come from a large family and a tight-knit community. It was hard to find my own identity at times. Creating my own business has given me leverage to do what I love to do and redefine my own story.
This chapter is all about creating my story in the city of my dreams, traveling to 10 countries, pursuing my current love of yoga, going to Broadway plays when I want and enjoying the freedom to live a life of which I’m proud. I’ve written two New York Times bestsellers, written with noted celebrities, artists, musicians and I pinch myself sometimes, thinking whose life is this? And then I say, this is my life. I get to own it, love it and love it with no apologies.”

-Leah Lakins, Founder & Editor, Fresh Eyes Editorial Services

“I’m excited about my new life as an entrepreneur. The corporate world was not lighting me up anymore after 20 years of watching the disconnect between manager and employee. I knew there was something else I was meant to do. I could help people. I could do something better. I could make people want to show up for work on Monday morning. As long as you keep showing up, great things happen. Only losers quit. I believe we are all winners, it’s why I named my business the way that I did, and how we reach our dreams is our own unique story.”

-Kathy D’Agostino, Owner, Win at Business Coaching