Monday, 30 November 2015

Characteristics Required To Succeed In Business And Life!

Author: Dr. Cheryl Cottle, Ed.D

Research shows that many individuals fail at entrepreneurship. Research also shows that while we have a high failure rate, more and more women are getting into business, but there is also evidence that while this is happening, there are many women entrepreneurs who are successful. The question is, what cause some women to fail and what cause others to succeed?

Entrepreneurship is a very difficult journey that requires the individual to have certain qualities and attributes to make a success of it. Research shows that many start-up does not have the right attitude towards entrepreneurship and therefore fail. What are some of the traits or characteristics that you need to be successful? Being a business consultant and mentor working with primarily women with their own business, I have found that these characteristics are the dominant ones that make for a successful entrepreneur. Research also shows that our success in life — in whatever we choose to do rest with you. Therefore who you are and the attitude and attributes that you have towards your business concept will help you to take it to fruition.

For some, this subject may feel oddly familiar, and it may shed some insights into why you haven’t yet reached your full potential. If you’re willing to work on yourself, it may even unlock the key to finally accomplishing what you’ve always dreamed of. Fear is the number one factor that causes your lack of success — fear that you will not succeed — fear of the unknown.   

Fear has the ability to keep us stuck and not moving forward. It often serves as a block in our lives. It is a crippling emotion that allows us to procrastinate and doubt ourselves. It allows us to question our abilities and not trust our decisions. 

To move past our fears, we have to confront it and question ourselves as to why we have those fears. Are they real fears? We have to find out how you can move past them and move forward into your business venture or as a matter of fact, any activity that you want to achieve in your life. The first step to overcoming your fear is to accept that you have it. 

When starting a business, we often start with a disadvantage. We do not necessarily have all the skills and expertise to run and manage our business — we have our strengths and our limitations. To bridge the gap between them both we must find the skills and knowledge resources to satisfy our business needs. This is one thing that we learn first up, when we are designing our business plan. To meet this need, you can either decide that you will develop the skills and knowledge that you do not quite have by using various approaches to learning. This however, takes a lot of time, though it is an effective method. Another approach is to recruit the right person with the right skills and knowledge sets to compliment your strengths and facilitate what the business needs to grow. This approach works very well and it has been a tried solution for many business women. However, in so doing you must learn to share your roles and responsibilities — communication and negotiating skills are required to make this work, together with the management style that you adopt. 

As recommended earlier, a spiritual approach to management is best recommended because this approach is based upon compassion, respect and valuing the other. It is based on having the person who has joined you feel that he or she belongs; fostering a feeling-of-belonging will also facilitate commitment and dedication. Therefore it is important to create a culture within your business environment by practicing a management style within a management structure that is not based upon hierarchy, but one that is more flattened, where egalitarianism exist. This type of business structure and management style will enable you to benefit the most from outside human resources — the expertise of others. 

Besides, having the adequate skills and knowledge sets required to build a business, as women in business, we also have other factors that affect our business growth and development —financial resources. Research shows that many women entrepreneurs who start a business either transitioned gradually or simply jumped into it. For those who have used a gradual approach to entrepreneurship, are able to slowly build their business, ensuring they have the financial and human resources to see it grow. For women, who have made the plunge into entrepreneurship often have many challenges including lack of finance, limited knowledge level, and lack of support. Women who find themselves in this latter position often have to resort to family and friends for support; who often will provide some financial support. For many women it is important to keep your job/work before starting a business, in order to have that steady paycheck. 

There are cases where a business owner may have the administrative support to manage and grow her business, but her management style often keeps her from growing. In managing her business, many women use an approach to management that is based upon “command and control” — a very autocratic approach to management. This approach does not always work best in small businesses. Think about the negative effect your management style is having on your business, if this is your style and adopt a more collaborative approach one that is more spiritual in how you deal and respond to others. The latter approach allows you to bring people into your team and allow you to respect and value their expertise and one where you integrate them into your business.

While you might think this is the only way to get things done right, your need for control may be standing in the way of real success. If you can learn to let go, delegate, build a team of talented people and give up ownership — at least some level of ownership. If you are willing to do, you just might be able to save your business from closure. 

Persistency and Determination: It is important to recognize how close you are to achieving your goals; it is important to one’s success. Often times we see things as unsurmountable and this allows us to procrastinate and put off what we can do today to another day and yet another, and most often, do not achieve it at all. Recognizing that your path is a unique path and not a carbon copy of someone else, we must learn to persevere and persist. We must believe that we have the capabilities and potential to do so. Simply hanging in there can make all the difference to achieving success and failing. Just having the endurance, persistence and determination to finish is what makes the difference in a winner of a marathon race. 

Being able to bounce-back from adversity is a necessary resolve that you need to achieve success and not succumb to failure. On one of my Women in Business Radio segment that looks at “Spirituality and its ability to build Resilience to help us Bounce-back from Adversity” my guests and I spoke about how spirituality helps an individual in the face of any achievement or adversity. We agree that, having faith and belief in something greater than who you are and also acknowledging that you are also some one destined for greatness enable you to see yourself as unstoppable and fearless.

We sometimes encounter rejections in our lives, and for many of us we see it as a block. It prevents us seeking our dreams, but you should be mindful that when one door closes another opens — and you should be aware when those opportunities comes, for you to take. According to Oprah, a person who gives you a no, can only give you that. He or she has been devoid of more. Nothing can comes out of nothing. If you encounter an experience like this do not give up — keep your resolve. You will find that person who has the capability to provide you with the support that you need. I really do believe that we meet that saviour, or guardian angel — someone to provide the support when we most need it.

Engage in Continuous Education and Development: Education and training is important Invest time to hone your skills in business development. It’s advised that prior to starting your business, you should have had experience in retail, customer services, inventory management, and cashiering, to list a few. Engaging in learning through both formal and informal learning approaches will help you to gain the knowledge and skills that you may need. Online courses through social media groups are also a great resource to garner the education and training that you need to start and grow your business. Some groups on social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook also have an  educational component that is designed to educate and empower their memberships. These are great spaces to be a part of, and its advised that you participate in discussions where you can share your thoughts. Your active participation in activities like this one, is not intended for you to be right always or to score points, but to connect with others and an opportunity yo learn  to learn from the pool of knowledge that has be generated through these questions.

Continued investment in your personal development can give you the advantage to compete in this ever growing competitive marketplace. To succeed in today’s economies regardless of where they are located, one must invest the time and resources to be a part of it and to succeed at not just your business, but in every aspect of your life. Having a coach, a mentor, a guru or a personal trainer can also serve as a catalyst for success.

Some of us have a pattern of starting a project with great gusto, but along the way our energies wane, and we give up. Some of us are also procrastinators, and we put it off, often never going back to it. If you set your mind on doing a project, you should also set a timeline to finish it. Your timeline can look at the project from a day-to-day basis or from a month-to-month projection or even from-a-year's perspective; let's say in five years I will have this completed. Each day, make sure you set an agenda as to what you can do towards its completion, and do it. Make sure that the goals that you set are also realistic. Do not bite off to much that you can chew. Using a gradual approach to a project, helps in its completion. It may not be finished in a month. It may take more time, but it will be completed. 

It is also advised that as an entrepreneur or specifically a woman entrepreneur, you can also take a break away from a creative project. It's OK to give yourself "permission" to do so. Today's millennial entrepreneur are aware of that  and know that not every day they have to be high performers in every role and responsibilities that they do. Take time off to spend time with you. "Me-Time" allows you to relax, regenerate, and the opportunity to reignite your creativity and spirit of entrepreneurship. Taking a stroll or a walk — enjoy nature. Jogging also helps to clarify your vision. Gardening and journalling are also great activities that allow you to recreate and transform your perception of things.  

You Know You Are An Entrepreneur - When

Author:Dr. Cheryl Cottle, Ed.D

You know that you are an entrepreneur — a born entrepreneur. I believe that entrepreneurs are born and they know that it is their destiny. You can feel it in your soul. Deep in your heart, you know that entrepreneurship is the vocation that you have to follow. You are born with the kindle in your heart that fuels your drive to become an entrepreneur. It’s you. It’s at your core — it's your very essence. It’s at the centre of your being. It’s like a seed of spirituality that forces you to think, what is this? I am destined to lead my own life and provide towards the development of other people’s life, my community, and contribute to the development of my society. Once you have come to this awareness that you are a born leader, or was born to lead, nothing can stop you from pursuing your entrepreneurial dream. Just becoming an employee and selling your skills, knowledge and expertise to the highest bidder, is not your destiny. Once that fire of entrepreneurship becomes ignited, the flames will blaze as you embark on your journey. You are a creative — a person who is filled with passion, and drive that keeps you focus and leads you to your destiny — entrepreneurship.

Research shows that people born with the spirit of entrepreneurship know that they are an entrepreneur. There are certain attributes and attitudes that they have; and these are not just fostered by external stimuli, but they are innately related to the individuals. Here are 5 of them:

You are able to create new ideas:
New ideas becomes commonplace. You are not a follower or a copier. You don’t steal other people’s ideas. You create your own. You are innovative and you strive on that, and that’s what makes you stand out. As a creator of new ideas, while people, may try to steal your ideas; really cannot, because they do not have the blueprint of it, because it is drawn in your heart, the only person with the key, is you. It is protected. They might be able to mimic what they think they see, but cannot duplicate it. If that happens, never give up with your idea and new creation.

Admiration for people who are creative: You admire people who are creative, innovative, ingenuous, visionary, critical and analytical — people who are not happy being employees, followers and consumers — people who choose to be leaders, entrepreneurial and filled with passion to create and develop their own enterprise, making and leaving an imprint of the community and society that they live. You just cannot help admire a successful business owner, regardless of the size of the business. 

Have a love for learning: You know when you are entrepreneurial when you constantly want to learn new things. You are constantly experimenting with new ideas and the information that fascinates you, are how to create new things. When you see something in operation, and you are not concerned with the outer aspect of it, but is interested in how it operates, you are entrepreneurial. You want to know the inner workings of it, you know that your interest in its overall design. This is as a result of your innovative and creative mind — the mindset of an entrepreneur. You know when you take apart a watch, clocks, radio or a television, and you play with trains and just love playing with Legos as a child, creating your own designs; you are entrepreneurial. You know when you watch a movie, and is not only concern with the content and the acting, but is interested in the inner workings of the movie — the plot, setting, the mood, tone, the style, narrative and dramatic techniques, and the use of sounds and images — what goes into making the movie overall, you are an entrepreneur.

Persistent with your vision: You know that you are entrepreneurial when you don’t give up, when you show consistency in your thoughts and ideas. You know it is not just a passing interest. It’s deep seated, only waiting for the right time to surface and become a reality. You certainly do not give up easily. You are steadfast in your decisions. You are also very focused and disciplined, and is not afraid to put in the work to make things happen. You are driven, and once you start to act on your vision, you work tirelessly on perfecting your business concept.

Goal Setting: You know when you are entrepreneurial when you set goals for yourself, and is able to break those goals into smaller ones to achieve, each day. You just don't start a new day without knowing what you want to do. You are very proactive in the way you approach your new day. You also set realistic goals  goals that you can achieve, working through them until you finally achieve your overall goal.

Rational and Pragmatic: You are a rational thinker — you are logical in your thinking. You are often very pragmatic in your thinking 
 this allows you to think critically and analytically about an idea, therefore allowing you to identify what works and what will not, and enabling you to modify it to perfection.

Focused: You are often very focus and only concentrate and devote your time to activities that are engaging and make sense to you. Activities that wet your appetite for creation. You totally avoid things that will waste your time — you are very pragmatic where your time is concern.

Learning and Exploring New Technologies: 
You are very interested in the technology available that could help you take your business forward. Keeping up with the computer-based technologies including social media is one of your ardent hobby.

Overcoming Life Challenges

Author: Dr. Cheryl Cottle, Ed.D

What is the most challenging thing you have been through and how has it changed how you see yourself and your life in general? I asked this question to explore how women deal with challenges on a daily basis and not just in business. Whether we experience challenges in our business lives or in our personal lives — how we deal with their impact on our lives overall — it runs over.

How you deal with challenges reflect upon your strengths, resourcefulness, resilience, faith and tenancy. Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you — they are supposed to help you discover who you are. A quotation by Bernice Johnson Reagon seems to be the best place to situate the issue of challenges in our lives. She says: Challenges should not paralyze you, but they should assist you in knowing more about who you are. It is not intended to break you."

Alfred D. Souza says it nicely when he spoke about challenges. He says: For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, and a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. Obstacles are a part of life. Life is encumbered by obstacles.

I found the quote by Bernice Johnson Reagon very fitting and reflective of what I wanted to pose as a thought provoking question. My view is that life is all about challenges. I believe that life challenges are with us no matter what we may do to prevent them. If you are alive and living or have achieved the ability to thrive, challenges will be a part of your life. A young woman may decide to have a baby, for the first time. She is healthy and has been all her life, but on becoming pregnant she can find herself struggling to stay alive and or to bring her unborn baby to term. Your parents may have died and left you with an inheritance, and you may think that everything should be over soon and that you will soon inherit what he or she has left you. But the legal issues that surrounds the estate can be so daunting — the ramifications can take you down an emotional road with no time to morn and grieve your loss. You may find that you may also experience greater loss due to family deception and ramblings. Rest assured that challenges are here with us. We have to learn how to ride the tides of it, until each one subsides.

I asked the question, "What is the most challenging thing you have been through and how has it changed how you see yourself and your life in general?" because I wanted to know where the members of my group Women in Business were, overall in their mind-set. Were they business-minded and prepared at least psychologically to deal with the added challenges that entrepreneurship brings. Some of the challenges that was shared included, dealing with transition, moving beyond your comfort zone, fear, time management, dealing with family issues, finding work/life balance, dealing with illness, our perception of challenge and trying is a part of failing, are some of the primary challenges faced that came out of the data collected.

Some of the challenges that women who embark on entrepreneurship face are: Dealing with transition: How do I deal with the change often crosses your mind and it is a real issue as you move from the perceived security of a job to starting your business. Dealing with change regardless of what it is, is in itself daunting, more so for the woman who has grown dependent on an employer. The transition process that women faces as they move from being employed to being self-employed and managing her business, is indeed challenging. Initially you will have doubts, particularly, if you had a “secure job.” A secure job generally guarantees our weekly and monthly salary. It also suggests that you can design a budget to meet your needs, but as a business owner, you now have to ensure that your business is able to bring in an income that will be able to meet your financial needs. The onus is directly upon you. I think that it is much different for the woman who have lost her job, or an unemployed woman, she may find the venture much different. Self-employment might actually be seen as a great opportunity to get into entrepreneurship as a way to gain economic independence; and this transition may be seen as a challenge, but as a change that is very promising and hopeful.

Moving beyond your comfort zone: 
What you and others perceive as “security” receives a greater and different type of scrutiny. You question your decision, particularly out of the questions that others may ask. In dealing with change, we often have to move beyond our comfort zone. In moving beyond your comfort zone means that you are about to explore uncharted areas — going where you have not gone before. You are about to chart new and unknown territories. In business, you now have to create your client base, create a product or a service, have product or services knowledge, develop communication skills, be proficient in customer-service, and much more to design, manage and sustain a business. We can no longer depend upon our employer to set our work schedules, or designate work for you to do, or determine your performance level — the onus is now upon you to make those decision, to develop the skills and knowledge that you need to know to manage a business successfully.

As we engage in any change process, fear is a natural emotion that results from not knowing whether you will be successful in any new venture that you may pursue. I believe that fear is a common emotion in anything that we pursue that is new to us, but fear should not be so debilitating to prevent you from forging ahead and finding out your capabilities and potential. We should not allow fear to control and curtail our progress. According to H.P Lovecraft, "fear is the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown" and at the same time Zack Wamp says, that "we should not be afraid to go into a new era, to leave the old beyond." While Queen Latifa says, "we often get trapped by our fears, but anyone who has success has failed before." Here she is giving us courage to go beyond, to go into the unknown in spite of the fear that you may hold.

Time Management:
Time management is another real challenge that women in business experience. How we manage time is also an issue that women in business often think about as they embark on a business venture. It is indeed challenging to manage a business, while being a mother, wife, student, caregiver, volunteer, and the roles can be even more enlarged. Therefore finding the time to do all of these roles does require a woman to manage her time wisely. The ability to do so, so that she does not experience burn-out requires great management skills. It is therefore important to define a specific time for work, production, child and family time as well as the other roles that you play. Have them included in your to-do-list and give all of them the same priority. Support is needed to accomplish what we want, so it is important to get reliable support. It is advised that as a business woman and you have to accomplish multiple roles and responsibilities, in a day that you should ask for help and support. You can also delegate responsibilities to other people who are part of your team.

Dealing with family issues: 
In addition to the complex and diverse roles of a woman in business, is having the responsibility to care for a sick child or an ailing elderly parent. Juggling your time to meet these obligations is difficult. Dealing with family relationships is yet another challenge a woman venturing into entrepreneurship often faces while negotiating life’s goals and objectives. One woman noted that just when she started her business, she had to deal with infidelity in her marriage. Another noted that just when she started her business, her spouse got ill, and she had to deal with it — providing support as well as needing support.

Finding Life-Work Balance: 
Many women entrepreneurs still struggle with finding a balance between work and their life. Most women in business hold diverse roles and have multiple responsibilities, in addition to running their businesses — often time, alone. With to much to do, women with businesses often struggle with finding the time to take care of their children, family, work, and caring for their personal well-being; socially, mentally and spiritually.

According to one woman who responded to the question, stated that: "The hardest thing for me to overcome is finding a life-work balance. I run a retail boutique six days a week in addition to managing the company's website. It is hard to balance being a wife (cooking meals, laundry and other household duties) a mom, and running a growing business."

In order to find a balance, it is crucial that women in business set weekly goals that she will like to achieve in every facet of her life. However, if she is not able to achieve all of them at the end of the week, don't dwell upon those that you were not able to accomplish, but celebrate those that you have been able to achieve. Another woman pointed out that, she set a few goals for each week for each facet of her life and she feels great when she gets to cross off any of those things. "It is important to celebrate the small achievements as well as the big ones," she says.

Dealing with illness: Your personal health and the health of family members, is also a challenge that women in business face. Challenges often have a way of teaching us how to better cope with life and showing us what is important to our life and living. Challenges are not always intended to be negative, while it can be a hindrance, it can also be a motivator. Challenges often cause us to reflect, re evaluate what we are doing and redefine the path that we should take. I have personally found that illness is difficult to deal with, plus it is often so far from our minds. We often do not see it as a possible challenge when we engage in a venture, business or otherwise. Many people also shun or feign talking about the issue when it is brought up in a business forum; many women will say, why dwell on the negative, as if to think about sickness will make it happen. I believe that if it is thought about, and preventative measures are put in place, then more than likely it can be circumvented and in the event it occurs you will have a contingency plan in place.

One woman pointed out that, her husband was recently diagnosed with cancer and it really caused both of them to realize how much they took life for granted. She also said that she also realized the importance of having a contingency or emergency plan for her business. She also added that, she is also truly taking a look at what her true passions are in business and going after them, instead of being off-focused and being involved in everything that excites her. "To thine own self be true has taken on a whole new meaning," she said. She has taken her life challenges to serve as a motivator and not as a hindrance. She has chosen to make better choices.

Another woman pointed out that, some women have the ability to take adversities that occur in their lives and turn it into an advantageous, progressive life strategy of survival. She also noted that, 6 years ago she was diagnosed with severe clinical depression and it nearly killed her — with two young children, a loving husband and living close to her family by the sea — what did she have to be suicidal about? But she was. She saw her recovery as a miracle. She noted that, "recovering from that was a miracle and I now enjoy and love every day of my life. I count myself incredibly lucky." She has now taken her experience, as a motivational force in her life to inspire other women. She now works with business providing them with advice and coaching in the growth of their business and their personal and professional life to achieve success.

She stated that "I personally believe every business woman can achieve exactly what she wishes to. Yes we have to deal with comfort zones and things that knock our confidence, but having the confidence to step up to the challenge never ceases to amaze me. I now run The Business Woman’s Network with hands on interactive presentations at our events with some of the U.K's top speakers. We are incredibly passionate about what we do and I know that so much of that comes from my life experiences — quite frankly after self-harming, suicidal thoughts and severe depression — I can achieve anything — I now help others believe and achieve that without having to go through what I did. My biggest obstacle is now my asset. It has helped to shape the woman I am today that can and will achieve everything she wants, but never forgetting that I am not a brain surgeon or someone saving lives, so I can turn the phone off and enjoy my family once in a while" and added that "I have loved your stories and look forward to reading more. You inspire me as so many business women do. Our perception of the challenge: How we perceive challenges can also impact our attitude and performance. If we see it as an obstacle and not as something to make us better and stronger, then more than likely we will fail." 

Another woman noted that, not having the confidence that you have the skills to be a successful business owner — is a common challenge faced by people who decide to go into business. Another noted that, challenges are just experiences whether good or bad! "Through daily challenges I've discovered great entrepreneurial capabilities within myself! I embrace all of my challenges and continuously move forward."

Trying is a part of failing: 
Another woman, graciously said, “Trying is a part of failing. If you are afraid to fail then you're afraid to try.” Feeling that you have to do it alone makes you feel like not trying? However a great many of us when we embark on a new venture does not take the time to identify where and from whom we can get support and this can make the change very challenging." Another noted that; "I've been longing to break out of my comfort zone. What keep me going, is my determination, optimism, and openness to life and having a gut feeling that I'm destined for greatness. It's just trying to hone in on distinguishing my strengths and weaknesses and figuring out how to make a living from my passions in life. It's twice as hard (if not near impossible to succeed) going at it alone, and something I'm learning is that I need to rely more on the support of others. 

Opportunities and resources are available. It's just a matter of reaching out and having the proper support system to maintain and follow through. I hope starting to utilize being a member of this group and others like this will help me create my support system to success in my career!"

The overall advice is that even if you are fearful that you may fail, the objective is to try and you just might achieve your goals. Asking for support or advice also helps you to refine what it is that you want to do. Having the self-confidence that you can do it, also goes a long way in helping you to achieve success. It is important that you develop your self-confidence and self-esteem and also have a high self-concept of who you are — and your self-worth will also escalate. To achieve these attributes, you must also have self-love and passion for what you want to do — and sometimes we just have to dive in — according to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr "faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." Have faith in your creator and believe in yourself and get rid of fear and do it anyway. If you fail, you can always learn from it and develop a better approach to it and with each time you fail — you will become better at it.

Succession Planning And Its Importance To Your Business

Author: Dr. Cheryl Cottle, Ed.D 

How important is having a succession plan for your business? Is this something you have thought about in the design of your business or you have thought about as your business grows?

Succession planning is a question that must be addressed sooner than later by small business owners. According to research there is benefit to having a succession plan, because as you get older you will think of retirement, and having an adequate income to support your life style after retirement is of prime concern as you prepare for the next stage of your life. Having an effective succession plan also puts you in control of your future and the future of your business. It removes you from being dependent upon your adult children and help to address some of their interest and concerns. It also helps to reduce possible conflict that can occur due to inter-generational value system. Therefore to maintain control and financial independence, after you are no longer able to manage your business, think about a plan that will enable a seamless transition from being a busy entrepreneur to a financially secure retiree.

There are three options for business succession including transferring the business to a family member. Research shows that more women entrepreneurs than men are including their daughters into their business, and are more likely to have them a part of their succession plan. In cases where the business owner may not have children, nieces and nephews are often considered as prime candidates to take over the business after retirement, and he or she is generally groomed and taught the inner workings of the company’s management and operations.

Another available option is selling to a partner or an employee, generally referred to as management buy-out. In this situation, the employees of the company may see it beneficial to them to continue the growth and development of the company. They have been a part of the business, some from the inceptions, and they are familiar and very knowledgeable about the company’s operations. They know the business and do have a vested interest in seeing it grow and prosper. In addition to the sentiment and financial benefits, they are also familiar with your already established customer-client base, suppliers, and potential clients and investors. In making the decision to sell to a partner or employees, you should consider whether the employee or employees have the vision and the management capability to assume an ownership role through the transition period and run the business profitably long-term?

Last but not least is the option to sell your business to an outside buyer. If this is the option that you choose to take, it is important to ask the question, should I sell the whole business or part of it? It just might be prudent to remain part ownership rather than giving up total control. You can look towards your customer-base, suppliers, a competitor, or people from the business community overall.

I recently met a business woman who has a business in partnership with her husband, for over forty years and today their three adult children also work in the business. There has been a succession plan whereby the children have been taught to appreciate the business early on in their development. Do you see your business as a legacy you will like your children to continue? Or do you see your business as a venture that you will like to grow in the distant future overall? I believe that these two questions as mature business owners, we should think about and address it early rather than later. 
— take a proactive approach to succession planning.

Research also shows that some business owner prefers to sell their business because they do not have any children, family members or friends to leave it to. One woman pointed out that she plans to sell her business, as she plans to go on retirement, because she does not have any children to supersede her. Research further shows that more women are inclined to include their daughters into their business than men are willing to bring their son’s. Do you see your business as a venture that you will like your daughter (s) or children in general to continue? Many business owners see their business as a legacy that they will like their children to continue? Some also see their business as a venture that they will like to grow in the distant future. Recently I met a professional business woman who started a business over 30 years ago, had her business succeeded to her son. Today she has transitioned and is pursuing another venture that she has great passion for, writing.

Another woman business owner noted that, “this is an important matter to me.” “I am teaching both my children — my son, who is a single-parent father, and my daughter, who knows the value of being at home with her children, the "non-location specific" business that I enjoy. It is not only a wonderful way to their own financial well-being, but also their own personal growth — both in business skills and people skills. I wish I had had that advantage that they have when I first got into entrepreneurship. “I will never have to worry about my children or my three grand-daughters being homeless!” Another woman pointed out that it is a great question that allows her to think about the future of her business and her life.

Research further shows that more women are inclined to include their daughters into their business than men are willing to bring their son’s. Do you see your business as a venture that you will like your daughter (s) or children in general to continue? Many business owners see their business as a legacy that they will like their children to continue? Some also see their business as a venture that they will like to grow in the distant future. Recently I met a professional business woman who started a business over 30 years ago, had her business succeeded to her son. Today she has transitioned and is pursuing another venture that she has great passion for, writing.

What are your thoughts? What are your thoughts on this question? It would be nice to hear your ideas, thoughts, and perspectives!

Friday, 20 November 2015

Reignite Your Creativity And Innovative Energies

Author: Dr. Cheryl Cottle, Ed. D 

Some of us creatives do get burnt-out from time to time due to the many hats that we wear. We are an entrepreneur, and we pride ourselves to be successful or aspire to be successful, but in addition to this noble vocation as women entrepreneurs, we also have to be just as equally successful in our many roles that society has ascribed to us and to which we have subscribed. We are wives, mothers, caregivers to our parents, and community leaders — these roles we also try our best to be excellent and we often are. However in achieving success in these many roles, we can become burnt-out and many of us do, even to the point where we become ill. 

We are often advised that we should find a balance — but how do we achieve this? We are also often told that you should treat yourself holistically — you ought to look at your physical and mental health wellness by maintaining a balance between your body, mind are soul. How do you achieve this balance is what most of us think about. How do I find time for myself when I have so many things to do? How can I find time to rest, is a recurring question that we have as entrepreneurs, but you must find time for yourself? According to Mrs. Michelle Obama, the 1st Lady of the United States of America, “you have to put yourself at the top of your to-do-list”. And as one of my guest on one of last year’s tele summit of Women in Business Radio entitled — Women Stories of Challenges and the Solutions Used to solve them”  says — draws upon the analogy airplanes, in times of an emergency where the advocate the use of the air mask. We are always advised in a case of an emergency that we must first put on our air mask, before assisting anyone, even as a parent travelling with children. I guess the message is without your gas mask, you won’t be able to assist any one, because in time your oxygen will be depleted . .. .”.

Yes, it is possible to reignite your creative spirit. Here are a few approaches that have been used by five women in business and they worked. Sometimes we want to be innovative in every way, but when we are faced with challenges, we can learn from others — those who have been there. We have heard the saying many times, why create the wheel? We can adopt what others have done before because we know that it has been tried and tested. This is however saying that we should adopt others people’s ideas and take it as yours. I have seen time and time where individuals see a concept or idea that someone is promoting and quickly claims it as theirs. We meet that very often on social media. I remember meeting a woman whose business was focused on "civility" and the development of young girls, but this quickly change to the empowerment of “women in business.”

Exercise is a great way to transform listlessness to action. According to one of my guest on my Women in Business Radio, suggests that rather than working all day behind your computer, you should take short breaks to exercise. She suggests that you can also stand for a while and do your work on your computer. It's also suggested that you take a break from your computer and desk to have your lunch. There are also simple exercises that you can do to feel better. Exercise helps you to reduce the risk of getting burnout. 

Eliminate Distraction: Change your environment. I have personally found that sitting in the same mundane space, day to day can reduce your creativity and your level of motivation. It starts to feel like “work” and not like love and passion. What has worked for me throughout the years, is that I have found if I went to another space — it worked well for me in stimulating my creativity and innovative spirit. Take a break for a while and visit a bookstore — many of them now has reading nooks or visit a coffee shop in your neighbourhood, where you can take a book and browse, or have a cup of tea or coffee.. These are great places to relax and rejuvenate. You may find that simple sitting having a cup of coffee or in my case tea, can be so relaxing. Some book stores also allow their clients to read a book while having a snack in the tea area — this I have found to be very relaxing. Some of these stores also have a reading nook — where you can enjoy a book, while seated on lovely puffed sofas and couches.

Sitting under a tree: Sitting under a tree, simply relaxing, can be quite soothing. Taking a look at the environment around you. Enjoying nature’s beauty — shrubs and flowers; and enjoying the birds, lizards, squirrels, deers, rabbits, and all that is beautiful around. Simply spending time with yourself — enjoying your own company. Past time like this helps you to relaxed and regenerate. 

Gardening is yet another wonderful exercise that causes you to become emerse and takes you away from the harsh realities of life   and that which gives you pleasure in the immaterial. Sowing and planting a tree and seeing it grows gives you joy and fulfillment. The very act of playing in the soil is fulfilling. You can plant a flower garden or a herb garden during the summer months. They are fun gardening concepts to engage in. Preparing the space as well as shopping for seedlings, rose cuttings and plants bulbs can be a rewarding exercise; and waiting in anticipation to see them grow is a marvelous experience. Cutting and pruning is also invigorating. It relaxes you fully. In addition to the way gardening makes you feel, it is also a great exercise. Gardening helps you mentally and physically and makes you spiritually uplifted.

Find Support — family, friends and peers can be great support. It’s very important that to find the balance that you need to maintain your creativity, is to have people who supports your visions and aspirations around you. Sometime it does not always comes from family because they can be our most critical critics, who sometimes only serves to demotivate you. You can find these people in your colleagues, friend, or individuals just like you — your peers. Your peers are often a great source of support because more often than not they have been there — where you are right now. They can share their advice and to help guide you.

Expand your network — It is often advised that you should join individuals who are like-minded. Join a mastermind group; being a part of a network has far reaching implications towards your business, socially, economically and health and wellness. Why, expanding your social network helps? Where to find it? Your social network will make you a more valuable asset at your job. 

Re-evaluate your aspirations! As the questions: What you are doing? In what ways does it makes sense? Am I achieving my goals? Are my goal realistic and are they achievable? Can I in all reality achieve these goals? Do I have the resources to achieve them? What must I do to reach the intellectual level to achieve my goals? Is it cost effective in terms of time, money and energy? These a some great questions that you can ask yourself if you begin doubting your ability to achieve a goal: rethinking them will help you to approach it in a new and positive way. 

Staying calm is very important to reclaiming one's creativity. New growth often occurs with a sense of calmness. Remember the saying after a storm, there is calmness and regrowth — it’s a process of regeneration. These are just some ways that you can light the fire of creativity within you, and ignite the spirit of entrepreneurship. I believe that visiting the library, or a bookstore as mentioned above, are great ways. Meditation, yoga and journaling are also other ways that will take you to that creative and innovative place that you must get to to create, to design and to implement. 

 What do you do when you lose the incentive to be creative and innovative? It will be nice if you can share.