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.

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.

She created it, millions would wear it…

It was 1974 and a young, Belgian-born designer had been living in New York for a few years trying to begin a career in fashion.

Then, it happened.

Her name: Diane von Furstenberg.

Her creation: the wrap dress.

By 1976, she sold 5 million of those iconic dresses.

She was at the top of the world and women everywhere were sporting this flattering, gorgeous dress.

Her brand, DVF for short, did have it’s share of challenges. Furstenberg even left the fashion world for years and had to relaunch her brand and regain her reputation.

She has said she was more interested in just diving in, than creating a plan, and that caused problems.

Of course, something I always talk about. Make sure your vision and plans are solid and then work the actions daily to accomplish the ultimate goals.

Her relaunch was successful and Furstenberg is still a powerhouse in the fashion industry.

If you are still looking for a great summer read, pick up Furstenberg’s memoir, The Woman I Wanted to Be (A New York Times Bestseller). It’s inspirational and fascinating reading about her childhood, her early years in fashion, her time as a princess (yep, did you know about that?) building a global brand and even beating cancer.

In 2012, she launched a children’s line with Gap and I read a quote that really stuck out to me.

“The minute a little girl is born, she is already the woman she will be. So to empower a little girl is to empower the woman she will become.” -Diane von Furstenberg

What a great message! All the young women in this world deserve strong role models in all industries. Corporate, fashion, engineering, art, music, culinary, you name it. This is the heart of Slater Success. Of course, Diane von Furstenberg’s quote also brought me back to birthing my daughter Alexandra 25 years ago and thinking of the woman she has become.

Furstenberg is a huge supporter of other women and empowering women and we can all learn a lesson from her. Support the amazing women around you and believe that anything is possible.

If you are want to talk about your dreams and how to get there, reach out to support@slatersuccesscoaching.com

She saw it all on the train that day…

I talk about having a vision for your business all the time. It’s important to know where you are going, what the next steps looks like and what actions you need to take to get to that vision.

An amazing example of vision, and the next focus in our women leaders summer series, is the story of J.K. Rowling.

Most of you hear that name today and are transported into the world of Harry Potter. Books, movies, theme parks, merchandise, beloved characters that changed our world forever. In 2004, Forbes named Rowling as the first person to become a U.S.dollar billionaire by writing books.

But how did it all happen?

Rowling was an avid reader and writer from a very young age. She has said that writing is all she ever wanted to do. The vision of Harry Potter came to her while she was sitting on a delayed train when she was 25 years old. She has said in interviews that she was flooded with ideas in a moment and had no pen! She ended up drafting the rest of the series (all 7 books) over the next five years.

At this same time, she divorced from her first husband and was acting as a single mother to their small child. She was on state benefits and was writing anywhere she could find space, such as small cafes.

I was watching an interview Rowling had with Oprah a few years ago and she said she was walking away from the cafe where she was writing the first Harry Potter book and she heard a voice of sorts tell her the difficult thing would be getting the book published, but if it did get published, it would be huge. She went on to say that “you’ve gotta believe, haven’t you?” She said she didn’t have much self belief at the time, but this ONE thing, she did believe in.

That is truly goosebump inducing! And so important for us to remember.

Have a vision.

Believe in that vision.

Go after that vision.

J.K. Rowling is one amazing woman and I encourage you to read more about her life and all the charity work she does for causes and organizations.

If you are ready to develop your vision, take action on your vision or realize your vision, reach out to me at support@slatersuccesscoaching.com

I want my Starbucks and I don’t care who knows it

There we were, getting our son Bryce moved into his new apartment in California and exhaustion from travel was starting to set in.

I needed coffee. And I needed it fast.

My husband said he saw a few coffee shops in the area and started to look on his phone for options when I quickly stopped him.
image
“I need coffee, but more importantly, I need Starbucks,” I told him.

He glanced over at with me a small smirk as I pulled out my phone and opened the Starbucks app.

I simply knew what I wanted and that was Starbucks non-fat latte, extra hot. I’m not just a casual visitor at Starbucks, I’m a lifelong customer.

When you’re dealing with clients, you don’t want the client that comes in for a quick visit and never returns.

You want the client that continues to come to your organization for their business needs. You want to build a loyal and trusting relationship. You want to be the ‘go to.”

You can do that by being present, available, helpful and consistent.

I know when I walk into Starbucks and order my drink, it’s going to be exactly what I want and what I need.

Make sure your clients see your organization as a resource they need in their life.

Be present: Follow-up and say hello. A phone call goes a long way. Your sales team should be making these calls often.

Be available: Lend a hand, help with a promotion, sponsor a trade show. Do what you can as an organization to show your support.

Be helpful: Connect clients with other contacts and get them business. It’s a win-win all around.

Be consistent: Ensure you and your team are doing good work that makes an impact. It’s easy to sell something people already want.

Going back to our women in leadership series, Starbucks has quite a few women at the top.

In fact, a quick check of their website and I counted 19 women in senior Vice President, executive Vice President and other leadership roles, covering everything from creative development, to marketing and finance.

Starbucks has also stated that male and female employees doing the same job are paid within 99.7% of one another.

What fantastic news and a great example of a company working to stop the gender
wage gap.

So, next time you stop into my office for a visit, if you want to bring me my grande latte, (remember non-fat and extra hot), that would be pretty awesome.

If you want to talk about building and nurturing relationships, please reach out to support@slatersuccesscoaching.com