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Business Women Expertise, Tips, Advice and More to Build Winning Careers and Brands. A good Resource for Women on Business.

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  2. Let’s set the scene. You have been working hard to establish your business. More money is coming in and your client list is growing. You love what you do… but you are *tired*. And well-overdue for a holiday. You start daydreaming about soaking up the sun in Queensland, sailing through the Greek Islands, or skiing in New Zealand. You start trawling through travel booking sites. But just as your cursor hovers over the ‘Book Now’ button, it hits you. You cannot possibly leave the business right now. What if an urgent problem comes up when you are mid-way through an international flight? What if that important deal you are working on falls over? All of a sudden… a holiday seems impossible. No need to panic Does the above sound like a bit familiar to you? We all know that burn-out is ‘enemy number one’ for business owners. But too many of us feel that we have no choice but to put off holidays and personal days because we worry that something will go wrong while we are away. It’s a shame because there is a simple contract that can help any business owner take as many holidays as they want. This contract can be quickly and cheaply prepared by a commercial lawyer and can help ensure that your business runs smoothly while you are away (even if there is no mobile phone reception!). This contract is called a ‘Company Power of Attorney’. What is a Company Power of Attorney? A Company Power of Attorney allows a business owner to appoint someone else to act on behalf of the business for a certain period. For example, while they are on holiday. This person is known as the ‘attorney’. The attorney can be a person or a company (although there are some limits on who can be appointed). You, as the person appointing the attorney, can authorise them to perform almost any action that you ordinarily perform when managing the business – this includes operating bank accounts, signing contracts and voting at meetings. You can also choose what scope of powers that the attorney is authorised to exercise while you are away. For example, you can choose to give the attorney the power to take any action that you could take on behalf of the company. Or, you can limit the authority so that the attorney is only allowed to perform certain acts on behalf of the company such as sign a specific contract that may or may not have to be signed while you are on holiday. However, it is important to ensure any limits on the attorney’s authority are clearly specified in the document and discuss this scope with the attorney before you leave. This reduces the risk of the attorney acting outside of their intended authority. The right person for the job The attorney has a legal obligation to exercise any powers they are granted under a Company Power of Attorney in the best interests of the business. That said, you should carefully consider who you want to appoint as an attorney before taking your holiday. You should not appoint an attorney unless you absolutely trust them to manage your business. The attorney will have the legal authority to perform the acts you authorise them to take on behalf of the company without necessarily asking for your permission or input. So, you should satisfy yourself that they will exercise good judgment and have the skills and experience necessary to perform those acts. What if I change my mind during my holiday? You have the power to revoke the powers you have granted under the Company Power of Attorney at any time. If you decide to do this, you should immediately inform the attorney(s) and any other key stakeholders (eg senior staff, your bank) of your decision in writing so that the people are aware that the attorney no longer has authority to act on your behalf. Bon voyage! A Company Power of Attorney is a great way for business owners to maintain work-life balance without interfering with the everyday operations of their business. All you need to get started is a person that you trust to act on behalf of the business (and who is willing to accept this responsibility) and a trusted legal advisor to draft the contract. After that, it is all ‘smooth sailing’… dynamicbusinesswomen.com
  3. The feedback penalty for women What’s vague and bias? Feedback for women Feedback is the backbone of many management tools including having a crucial role in performance management. Many organisations also see it as the tool for improving your performance and preparing you for promotion. But how well does feedback serve women in particular? Does feedback work for anyone? Feedback can be problematic whatever our gender. The most comprehensive review of performance feedback was carried out by Denisi and Kluger and dates back to 1996. They found mixed evidence on its value and say that only a third of feedback leads to improved performance, and that is on very simple and specific tasks. Nearly 70% of feedback does nothing or leads to worse performance. Neuroscience research has found that just saying ‘let me give you some feedback’ creates a threat response in the brain before you even know if the feedback that’s coming is positive or not. Negative or ‘constructive’ feedback impacts the sense of reputation which leads to reduced connection with the group and potentially creates a sense of shame. It impacts certainty; because you no longer know the right work method and being told you are not carrying out the role correctly limits autonomy. Interesting that something with such a poor record became so important in business. The negative bias for women Research at Clayman Institute for Gender Research has examined the effectiveness of feedback for men and women. The work by Shelley Correll and Caroline Simard reveals dramatic differences in the type of feedback received. They found that nearly 88% of the reviews received by women contained critical feedback, compared with just 59% of the reviews received by men. And the critical feedback men receive is heavily geared towards suggestions for developing additional skills. For example, “Hone your strategies for guiding your team and developing their skills. It is important to set proper guidance around priorities and to help as needed.” Compare this with the kinds of constructive feedback that women receive, which include a sharper element, “You can come across as abrasive sometimes. I know you don’t mean to, but you need to pay attention to your tone.” This kind of negative criticism pointing out things like, watch your tone, step back, stop being so judgmental, showed up twice as much for women than for men. Men’s feedback points to growth potential Feedback for women is expressed in more general terms than for men. For example, a man might be described as “achieving goals,” while a woman “gets things done”. A similar behaviour may be seen as problematic in a woman (“Louise seems to freeze when facing tight deadlines to make decisions”) but as careful thoughtfulness in a man (“Matt seems hesitant in making decisions, yet he is able to work out multiple alternative solutions and consider them thoughtfully”). The feedback language used for both genders conforms to stereotypical views of men and women. Not only were women given negative feedback for what was perceived as an aggressive communication style (whereas this would be positively framed for a man), they were also found to be “supportive”, “collaborative” and “helpful” more often than men. The language used to describe men was linked more to confidence and independence, and they were twice as likely to receive feedback based on their technical expertise and strategic thinking. Most importantly, feedback for a man is framed in terms of needing to further develop skills he’s assumed to already have. The criticism of him is wrapped up in an assumed talent: “Matt needs to develop his natural people skills.” There often isn’t the same recognition of growth potential of a woman: “Louise lacks self-confidence: she seems to make herself small when she’s around the client.” These differences in nuance should not be ignored, say Correll and Simard, because “language is powerful at shaping perceptions.” Dealing with unfair feedback If feedback takes you by surprise, it’s not the time to have a difficult discussion challenging it. Take these steps: Give yourself time to process your emotions and prepare a considered response by saying something like: “That’s extremely disappointing, and not what I was expecting. I’d like some time to consider it properly: can we schedule a meeting when we can discuss it further.” Proactively identify the areas of your work that you have not received feedback on, which you believe you perform well in (it may be useful to ask a colleague and ally to reflect on this with you), and ask for formal consideration of the areas to be included. In response to feedback that appears to be gender-stereotyped, ask for clarification in the most open-ended way possible: “Could you clarify for me how ‘being pushy’ is different from ‘being results-driven’?” Jan Hills I set up Head Heart + Brain to change the way businesses are managed and led. My consultancy takes the findings from neuroscience and applies them to leadership and business practice. I have a Masters in NeuroLeadership, the application of neuroscience findings to business and leaders. Over the years I have applied science to help leaders to be more effective, I call my approach Brain-savvy I’m the author of several books including Brain-savvy Wo+man: how women can overcome gender bias and be successful at work, which was written with my daughter, Francesca. We wanted to explore the science behind bias and to give practical help on what women can do to thrive in the workplace despite it. The book is written in two halves and the other end of the book provides career guidance, based on science, for men and women. You can learn more at www.headheartbrain.com dynamicbusinesswomen.com
  4. How Truthful Are Your Numbers? Why Marketing Analytics Sometimes Lie It seems like everywhere you turn, there’s advice on why marketing is important, how to do it and who you should be marketing to. Today, I’m not going to talk about those things. I’m going to offer some advice that you’re probably not going like. Are you ready for it? I think you’re using your marketing analytics all wrong. How is that possible? There is no error in analytics. Numbers don’t lie, it is what it is. Well, except for when it isn’t. Yes, you have all the analytical tools you need at your disposal to make informed decisions about your marketing strategy. But, what if they aren’t telling you the whole story? We all know that there are two sides to every story. Marketing analytics only tell you the number’s side. What they don’t convey is the human side of marketing, the areas where human behaviour influences marketing in ways that analytics can’t pick up on. Are analytical metrics a waste of time and energy? No way! They are incredibly important, but they are also only one part of the puzzle. Take for example that found here claim that proving their ROI for their marketing activities in one of the biggest challenges that they face. Why do you think this is? It could be because they are not looking at the big picture and reaching beyond analytics to determine the success of their marketing strategy. So, just how could your marketing analytics be deceiving you, and what can you do about it? Let’s dig a little deeper. How Sampling Bias Can Kill Your Campaign A sampling bias is something that happens when the data you collect, and the predictions made on said data, do not accurately reflect your real customer base. There is a discord between how data is collected from your market, and how your market is defined, that marketing strategist seem to have trouble honing in on. As an example, let’s look at a typical survey that might pop up on a business’s site. The survey is there with the intention of collecting important data about their customer, but the problem is that the data collected might not be very relevant at all. If 6 out of 10 people who visit the site fill out the survey, that equals a great deal of data collected. But, what if only 2 out of every 10 people that visit the site make a purchase? That leaves room for a couple possible conversions, but chances are that not all 6 of those people actually define the target market. What’s happened is that your analytics have been polluted with data that just doesn’t belong. If you use this information to influence your marketing strategy, your resources are going towards a market that doesn’t exist. Talk about disaster for your ROI. Social Media Could Be the Biggest Culprit of All Social media is huge and everyone’s doing it. We know, we get it. But the very nature of social media platforms is so fluid that they make accurate analytics rather difficult. Let’s say you have been marketing on Facebook. You have tens of thousands of likes, and you pay careful attention to what people are saying and how they interact with you. Except, not all of those likes, even the ones that are making the effort to engage are going to be a solid representation of your true market. Social media opens up the world and lets all of us run around, bouncing in and out, doing and saying as we please. For a business, this really clouds the waters of analytics. Even if you are careful, what you end up with is a set of data that only represents a fraction of your market. The tricky part is figuring out just how much of your market that is. It could be 90% or it could be 10%. Marketing analytics don’t always do such a great job of illustrating this. There are different approaches you can take to solving the social media analytical conundrum. The first is to base your analytics off of a randomized sample of your customers. Maybe, with purchase, you ask your customers if they are connected with you on social media. You do this with a straight 100 orders and voila! You have a randomized sample that is more indicative of your real audience than what social media analytics are telling you. What if you find out that your customer base does have a strong social media presence. Great, now you know that you can more accurately leverage those analytics. But, going forth without discovering how representative those analytics are is a marketing mistake that most business can’t afford to make. Web Analytics That Like to Keep Secrets Most businesses say that their marketing strategy would be dead in the water without tools like Google Analytics. I’m not disputing this. Web analytics, like traffic and site performance, is critical for evaluating the success of your marketing efforts. But, here again, we run into the issue that there is so much that isn’t being told with just web analytics. There are little gems of data in there that could make or break your campaign. You just need to know how to access them. Enter market analytics. With market analytics, the metrics are more focused on determining how online events and activities influence consumer behaviours like browsing activity and sales conversions. Market analytics scan more than just your website. They combine your entire digital presence including social media, email marketing and online PR. What does optimizing your strategy to include both web and market analytics together accomplish? It provides a big picture view that allows you to determine which metrics are the most important at every stage of your marketing campaign. Meaning, you can make informed decisions based on a thorough analysis rather than just the snapshot picture that only one type of analytic provides. The Takeaway To be successful with marketing, as with anything, realizing that you need more than just one tool is crucial. You wouldn’t think that a hammer was the only tool you needed in your toolbox, so why depend on straight marketing analytics to build your business? There is so much to found here, and much of it is about numbers, but your success as a business is also about human behaviour and interaction. Reach outside of the box to gain the insights, or the other side of the story, that marketing analytics just don’t tell on their own. dynamicbusinesswomen.com
  5. Do you spend a lot of time staring at a digital screen? If you like millions of others have been spending long continuous hours in front of digital screens; you might be suffering from digital eye strain. The blue light and the glare emitted by the digital screens are the main culprits responsible for digital eye strain. The most common symptoms of digital eye strain are tired and irritated eyes, headache, increased sensitivity to light and pain in your neck and shoulders. These 9 simple yet effective tips can help you fight digital eye strain: Blink More – Almost all of us are guilty of continuously staring and not blinking often while working with digital screens. This leads to dry and irritated eyes which eventually puts you at a greater risk of other eye health issues. One of the simplest solutions is to blink more often. Make a conscious effort to remind yourself to blink more often. Take a break from the screen and blink slowly at least 10 times. Take Periodic Breaks – Get up and take frequent breaks while working with digital screens. During such breaks, you can move about, stretch a bit or get yourself a glass of water. This will help release tension from not only your neck and back but also ease the strain on your eye muscles. Ensure Correct Posture and Screen Placement – Ensure that your posture is correct and your chair is adjusted to an appropriate height as per the screen. Your monitor should be at a distance of around 20 to 24 inches from your eyes and the centre of the screen should be around 10 to 15 degrees below your eyes. This is an ideal placement for your eyes. Eat a Nutritious Diet – A well-balanced diet comprising fruits, vegetables and other fruits rich in vitamins A, C, E, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients which promote good eye health and reduce eye strain is recommended. Adjust the Display Settings Appropriately – When it comes to the display of your screen, you need to ensure that the brightness and colour of the screen are appropriately adjusted. The brightness of your display should be approximately similar to the brightness of your surrounding workstation. You can reduce the amount of harmful blue light emitted by a colour display by reducing the colour temperature of your display for better long-term viewing. Wash Your Eyes Often – Washing your eyes with cold water cannot only soothe them but also promote blood circulation and alleviate pain in the muscles around the eyes. Do Simple Eye Exercises – One of the simplest eye exercises to do is to follow the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes you stare at a digital screen, look away for 20 seconds at something which is 20 feet away. This will help your eye muscles and prevent your eyes from becoming overly dry. You can ask your eye doctor for much simpler eye exercises or search for them online. Prefer Working with Correct Eyewear – Long hours in front of the screen can result in irritated and dry eyes. You can consult your ophthalmologist and get a pair of customized computer glasses. Such glasses are essentially prescription glasses and are anti-glare. They are designed to ease the strain of your eyes considerably while working on digital screens. Go for Regular Eye Check Ups – Periodic eye examination can help your ophthalmologist detect not only common vision problems but also other issues related to your overall physical health. For instance, Retinopathy – a condition in which the blood vessels surrounding your retina are damaged due to high blood sugar levels is one of the very first indicators of diabetes. This condition can easily be detected by your ophthalmologist during a comprehensive eye exam. If diagnosed at an early stage, appropriate preventive measures and treatment can be prescribed. Don’t take your vision for granted. Reduce the strain on your eyes with the above-mentioned tips to prevent digital eye strain related complications in the long term. dynamicbusinesswomen.com
  6. A community is EVERYTHING to the success of your business. Community has been the most pivotal aspect of my own business success and you can see it in action every day with giant brands such as Apple. Apple fans arguably pay over the odds for Apple products, simply because they’re Apple products. Often the actual product matters less than the fact it’s from Apple. They have developed such a strong community, a community who will buy anything they sell. The most successful communities are based on shared values. They are not just a group of people who are in the same place at same time. It’s not what you’re doing, but why you’re doing it that matters. ‘People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories & magic’ Seth Godin So, maybe you’re wondering what makes an awesome community? Russell Brunson studied many mass movements while doing the research for his book ‘Expert Secrets’. He found that all mass movements had three things in common. Charismatic leader They were all lead by an attractive, magnetic person; a strong, charismatic leader. Future based cause All the mass movements were striving for a goal in the future. A collective good, which wasn’t directly associated with one person. Offer their audience a vehicle of change They all provided their followers with a way to get to the common goal. They gave a path to this ‘ideal’ future situation and they focused on HOW their followers would get there. Why is community important? Now we might not be planning to create a mass movement. However, if we take some of the principles from this research it can positively affect the community we can create around our businesses. Some practical ways to grow community around your business Having a community is important for personally. I love the community I’ve built around my business and I’m grateful for it every day. Community creates return customers. If people feel valued and part of something they will return and they will probably bring their friends too! Having a thriving community around your brand will make your business much more visible to new connections and potential opportunities. Your community will turn into an army of advocates. These people will share your products and shout about you from the root-tops. This word of mouth, organic marketing really is the most powerful marketing out there. Other people promoting your brand creates social proof and allows you to shortcut some of the relationship building processes with future community members; they already trust you as they have taken on the trust that these other people have. An interactive community can really help you gain traction on social media, which will help to spread your message further and in turn reach more new customers. The best ways you can build community around your blog Be true to yourself and your brand message. People connect with people. You’ve probably heard a thousand times that people buy from people they know, like and trust. Attracting your true fans means that you have to show enough of your personality and that of your brand, that you might well turn some people off and that’s ok. Not everyone has to love everything, it’s just not human nature for us all to like the same people. In order to find those true fans, some tyre kickers will have to go. Have clarity as a leader Clarity is so important. Your brand must stand for something. People must be able to gauge what this is quickly and understand it. If you aren’t clear people will not follow your brand and you will not be able to develop the strong community you need to push to the next level. If you don’t have clarity, this should be your immediate focus. Remember at the start of this post I spoke about every Mass Movement having a charismatic leader, a future based cause and a vehicle of change. You can’t offer any of this to your community if you don’t have clarity. Build your brand on a single powerful idea. It’s so important to get to the core desire of the people you’re trying to help. How are you trying to help the people you serve? What’s the core desire you are trying to help them to achieve? Engage with your audience. Engaging takes time and it’s often considered unscalable in a business as it grows. That may be true, but it’s so very important and should not be forgotten about. Make connections with your potential fans, be the brand that stands out. Ask your audience questions and interact with them. Thank people for stopping by your website, for retweeting your content, respond to their questions and emails. All of these things will make such a difference to how your brand is perceived. Get them on your email list Having your own list of customers/community means you can communicate with them on your terms and you won’t be at the mercy of social media algorithms. Getting them onto your email list is the first step in creating a deeper connection. You can then nurture the relationship and give value beyond what they see on the surface. This will put you in a better position to sell your products to them in the future and for them to become a super fan of yours. Feature your community There are so many ways you can do this and examples from brands who do it well. Take Frank (@Frank_bod) for example, they make natural caffeinated skincare products and share their clients’ images on their main Instagram feed. People love the idea of being shouted out and so they are so willing to share images of themselves with the product, adding to the social proof and organic spread of the product information. You could start your own hashtag community People enjoy joining in and being part of events and challenges. So why not create a # relating to your business. I started #LittleFierceOnes on Instagram with a friend and it now has over 280k images in the gallery and its own thriving community. This is another area Frank do well in. They have two hashtags #TheFrankEffect and #LetsBeFrank, which are full to the brim of clients sharing their products for them, genius! Reward loyalty. Rewarding loyal clients/community members is a wonderful way to give back. Maybe you could offer a free product, shout out or something much more exciting. You could give your core community special perks or the chance to win prizes. I hope you’re now convinced about the power of community and the role it can have in growing your business. Do you have any tried and tested ways to build a community around your business? What works for you? dynamicbusinesswomen.com
  7. Even though nowadays we have all these connective technologies, business travels are still a very popular activity in many companies. When you’re new and young, you find the idea of spending some time in a new and interesting destination amazing. But after you spend some time in airports and various hotel rooms that all look alike, you start missing the comforts of home. As a businesswoman, I’ve met some of my biggest challenges while being on a business trip. What to wear, how to pack, what to do, how to find my way around an unknown city, how to stay safe if I’m alone, these are all things that have bothered me a lot before my first business trips. Here are some tips that will answer all those most important questions. Always plan ahead. You should never go on a business trip without preliminary preparation. Trust me, once you take off, you will be too overwhelmed with the travel and your upcoming meetings to take care of the small details. So, a few days before your travels, you should research the city you’re going to stay in, the hotel, the distance between the hotel and the places where your meetings are, and interesting places you’d like to visit in your free time (if you have any). Fortunately, our smartphones make it easy for us to find out that information. All you need to do is download a navigation application, type in the addresses and check the fastest route. And the Internet is filled with useful guides for almost every city of the world. If you’re travelling to a distant country, you should also exchange currency a few days earlier and make sure all your documents are up to date. Take care of your security. If you’re travelling alone, security should be your top priority. Even though we live in the 21st century, some parts of the world are still not a safe place for women. Airlines have strict rules about carrying potentially dangerous objects, even pepper spray, so this is out of the question. What you can do to protect yourself, is make sure your bags are compact and locked and your documents are well hidden close to you. When you’re in the hotel room, make sure the clerk doesn’t announce your room number. This way you may avoid some unpleasant stalking. Also, make sure the door to the hotel room has a double lock and is secure. Use a door jammer if necessary. I would also recommend a self-defence class, it will really give you more confidence. Pack light. Many of us have this problem, where we are incapable of packing light. But if you want to save yourself all the effort of dragging a big suitcase, you’ll have to plan and restrict yourself. For a week-long trip, all you need is 2 pairs of pants, 5 tops, 3 dresses, some underwear, 2-3 pairs of shoes (2 in the suitcase, 1 on your legs), 1 pajamas, 1 or 2 belts (if needed), some toiletries and hair tools, some basic makeup and jewellery, and that’s it! All that can perfectly fit in one small rolling suitcase. Add your purse to that, and you’re good to go. Travel smart. There are many types of transportation, make sure you always choose the right one. If your destination is located on the other side of the country, then you’ll go by plane, of course. But if it’s located closely, it will be a lot cheaper to use a train or a bus, or a car even. Compare prices from a few sources, to make sure you’re getting the best deal. If you’re being picked up at the airport, make sure the person picking you has all the corresponding documents, don’t trust the sign with your name on it only. When you leave your meetings or the office, remember to remove your badge. Strangers don’t need to know your name, trust me. Take full advantage of the situation. Even though they might be tiring and even dangerous, business travels are a great opportunity to meet new people from your line of business, make new connections, and maybe even visit a new and exotic destination. Therefore, you need to take advantage of every single perk offered. Make a detailed itinerary of all your meetings, choose the most interesting local dining places, and choose some places to visit if you have the spare time. We only have 1 life, and we should enjoy every moment of it, even the working ones. dynamicbusinesswomen.com

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