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Business Clinique

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By Miracle Nwankwo

Every business whether startups or not are in dire need of business angels (Investors). These business angels will not just keep running to you because you need them badly, but they also want to know what you have to offer and what you will be bringing to the table. Before a prospective investor can freely and without fear invest in your business, there are red flags they always look out for, so as to avoid the possible pitfalls that may arise from investing in the wrong business.

Below are 6 genuine reasons why you never attract a potential Investor to your business. 

 

  1. You are a first-time founder with no experience: according to Matt Paulson, founder of Startup Sioux Falls, “Start-up investors are investing in the people behind the companies they invest in as much as they are investing in the companies themselves.” What were you thinking? Starting a business in an industry where you have no experience? Friend, you are going to have a very hard time finding an investor because investors know that a person who is not a great person or do not have business hormones wired in him/her will not succeed even if they have outstanding business ideas. This is connected to the fact that businesses evolve and as time goes on the business model you start with might not be the business model that you end up in, a principle and dynamics investors are fully aware of
  2. You Have an Unproven Plan: Having a brilliant idea is fantastic, but great ideas are not worth any more than the paper they are printed on. Great business minds can agree that it is about execution, not just the idea.  In an article written by David Kleinhandler, Founder and President at Vest Financial Group, he said “No matter what makes up your business plan, investors want to see proven results. At the least, they will want a picture of your real-world earnings before they commit. That means quarterly reports that show both short-term growth and long-term promise. The investment history books are rife with stories of highly promising concepts that ended up losing a fortune.”  You have to understand that this is more about substance and not ideas. Yes, you have a great idea but you have to move from having a business idea to beginning a process of execution, at least start small but just make sure you have started. Your inability to provide a proven plan can hinder your chances of attracting a potential investor.
  3. You have not checked your product or idea with your customer. Most times, entrepreneurs just want to hit the ground and run. They rarely carry out a proper ground check on their idea or product with their potential customers or consumers before setting out. So how can you thrive in a competitive market place where one product can have multiple manufacturers. Finding out what your customer or consumer thinks about your product or idea is very important before you set out in search for investors. Speaking about customer’s feedback, Paul Judge, Founder and CTO / Purewire (Acquired by Barracuda) said; “It’s become so sexy to pitch to investors nowadays that people forget to first go talk to customers. I have people pitch to me, and when I ask what customers think about this, they tell me they don’t know. So why are you talking to investors right now?” Investors want to know that your business idea will satisfy the need of your targeted demographic. They want to know that you are either creating something new or have come up with a unique business model that outshines your competition and is able to cover up their lapses and above all meet your customer’s requirement.
  4. Your startup probably cost much more than the investor is willing to let go: Investors are often people who have had a firsthand experience of the business you are about to venture into and probably know about many other businesses too, so they definitely have an idea of the financial implications that accompany your trade. Investors normally come with huge experience of your industry and so they have a clear idea about the fund requirements for your business startup. Moreover, they already have invested in other ventures or have gone through many proposals. Figuring out the value of a startup is always a challenge for many entrepreneurs , as a matter of fact Marty Zwilling, CEO & Founder of Startup Professionals, Inc, sheds more light on this: “Some entrepreneurs try to start with a huge number, hoping they can negotiate and close on a smaller one, while others understate their requirements, in hopes of getting their foot in the door with an investor. Neither of these strategies is a good one, as both are likely to damage your credibility with potential investors, even before they look hard at your plan.” Therefore, value should be based on past accomplishments and the company’s potential. If a potential investor feels that a startup is being assessed at a value that is too expensive, he is definitely going to look for another investment opportunity. This is why it is preferable to have meticulous details about every facet of investment backed up by breakup of the cost. “The days are gone, if they ever existed, when you could present an idea and a vision, and have investors throw money at you. Now you have to do your homework. Get busy, and have fun,” says Marty Zwilling.
  5. The Prospective investor has not been satisfied with your commitment: Every serious investor wants to see that the founders are enthusiastic with their business and are giving 100 percent dedication to the company before they jump in. “I always look first at the people, and that covers from the customers to the entrepreneur to the team. Second is the product, because when you start a business, it’s a hunch, it’s a guess, and you have to go out and find out if people really want it or are you just a solution in search of a problem,” Gary Sprirer, CEO / Question Mine.

 

 

Business investors have the likelihood of measuring the success of company with how serious the owners are. It has been observed that investors pay more attention to entrepreneurs who run full-time on their business.  Once a prospective investor is satisfied with the entrepreneur’s commitment and dedication, they will be willing to give their all, to the success of such business.

A business idea can be compared to a fetus in the belly of a woman, the beauty of the fetus cannot be seen until it is brought forth to the world after a period of pain. As an upcoming entrepreneur whose desire is to make good profit, you have to make conscious effort surrounded by hard work in order to attract your potential investors.

The Global Entrepreneurship monitor (GEM) 2016/ 17 women’s report shows that women entrepreneurial activity globally is up by 10 percent, closing the gender gap by 5 percent since 2014.  Sub-Saharan Africa leads the way, as its female entrepreneurship rates the highest globally. 25.9 per cent of the female adult population is engaged in early-stage entrepreneurial activity in the region.

The majority of women entrepreneurs – 61.8 per cent – said they started a business because they are taking advantage of opportunity, rather than out of necessity.

While the news that women are leading in the entrepreneurial space is exciting for us, there is sad news. A report by researchgate.net, drawing on a unique, nationally representative data set of entrepreneurial firms sampled from the U.S. population in 2005 and followed yearly since then demonstrate that female entrepreneurs /businesses are more likely to fail than those of their male counterparts. Reasons for this includes; going into businesses spontaneously rather than as a careful thought out plan.

The idea of starting or owning a business can be very exciting, but it is also a daunting venture which can especially take its toll on women who need to consider some special issues before taking the plunge to business.

It is thus wise to count the cost of a venture before starting. There are several things to consider before starting up a business venture as a woman, this business Clinique article will however look at four important issues.

Choose your employees wisely

The truth that teams have to be complementary to be functional is one that most women learn a little too late in business. Women are often concerned about how they are perceived by others and a high percentage of women do not want to be seen as difficult to work with. Hence most female entrepreneurs are afraid to speak up especially to male employees. Women in business should realize that there is hardly a way to set boundary without making someone upset. It is important to take this into consideration especially when making employees out of very close friends and relatives.

Will it be easy to tell your brother in-law you are considering employing that his job is not satisfactory? Can you comfortably query your best friends’ daughter without having that guilt trip when you meet with her parent, your friend? If you are one who can comfortably separate your professional and personal life without having to fight with emotions, go for it. But if you belong to the other group who will always pause to consider how great business decisions will affect personal relationships, then the rule of thumb should always be “Do not hire anyone you cannot fire’’.

Think carefully about the team you want to take off with before starting.

Be convinced of your motive for going into that business

Are you passionate about the business venture? do you see a need and want to meet it? is it profitable in your area?  or are you just jealous of the attention people in the sector are getting and feel you deserve some of the limelight too?

Honestly ask yourself why you are going into that business, keeping in mind, what success looks like for you.

Remember that your business should fit into your vision for your life, not the other way around. So, before you begin your business, honestly consider if you’re truly interested in living the life of an entrepreneur and consider if your motive for starting that business fits into what success means for you.

Consider Family

If you are considering starting a business, you need to also count the cost in terms of commitment to family. Women are usually the primary caregivers to children and ill family members and thus need to thoroughly think this through before choosing to start or when considering the type of business venture to take up.

Issues such as delaying marriage or having a baby or moving to a new city to start up a family should all be carefully weighed in when making this consideration.

Most of the stress that comes with being a female business owner can be alleviated with careful planning and forethought.

Be Battle Ready

Starting a business is definitely going to be trial by fire. You will be stretched and challenged in ways you would never had imagined. It is very important thus for any female considering going into business to be ‘’battle ready’’. You will now be responsible not just for yourself but also for the livelihood of your team. There will be naysayers and those just waiting to say ‘’I told you so’’. 

Constantly reminding yourself of why you ventured into the business in the first place will always help you stay battle ready.

Kembet Bolton

How often do you open your email to find about 100 to 150 unread emails only to discover how unimportant they are after sifting through them? This can be a disheartening and unpleasant task to engage in. However, you can make your mail box fun and exciting again, by choosing your mails and not letting your mails choose you. 

Having to deal with an overfilled inbox of unnecessary emails causes a whole lot of stress, irrespective of what they contain. From last-minute emails from a client, to a bill pay reminder, or just yet another spammy sale email from that one online clothing site that you can never remember to actually unsubscribe from, as long as they deviate from your area of interest, they become irritating and uninspiring to attend to.

Seeing the above caption, you might be reluctant to follow through the details in this article, but do not be in a hurry to leave, this might just be an end to the annoying crowded emails that you have to face on opening your inbox, because we have found for you, eight superb newsletters that you can subscribe to and keep your email box thrilling again. So follow through and let us make your email fun again and you will be glad you did.

  1. Career Contessa 

Are you ambitious? Do you have big career dreams and you do not know how to make it happen? There is one who is willing to lend you a helping hand, all you need do is visit Career Contessa and they will help guide you to be your best professional self.

  1. Working Woman’s Food

Patricia Gamboa started this project when she realized how much she missed slow and social mealtimes with family and friends, which had been replaced by rushed lunches and dinners where little conversation occurred. Working Woman’s Food was created to give women the materials and the reinforcement to bring back enjoyable meals. We told you these email lists would make your life better. These weekly emails provide meal planning, grocery lists, and healthy recipes for you—simplifying your home life and bringing joy back to the table. Sign up on the site.

  1. The Daily Good

The daily good is a daily newsletter brought to you by The Good Trade, the premier online destination for conscious men and women. It covers everything from responsible fashion, beauty, wellness, travel, and lifestyle. This daily 30-second read is delivered to your inbox every morning with helpful recommendations for living consciously. This daily newsletter will deliver videos, articles, products, and insights to help you move towards social good. Each delivery will leave you more informed and inspired about the good things. 

  1. Our Bodies, Ourselves

Information about our bodies, health and the right we have to healthy living can never be too much. This is why OBOS has taken its core mandate on women’s health and sexuality, with topics ranging from abortion to violence and abuse to menopause, to keep the average woman well-informed about her body and health. OBOS has been on the scene since 1971, as a nonprofit organization that develops and distributes information for the interest of the public. Their ultimate goal is to provide women with well-researched, evidence-based information and encourage readers to effectively participate in health policy and health care decisions that affect them and/or their loved ones.

  1. Brain Pickings:

Brain Pickings is a “one-woman labor of love” founded and run by Maria Popova. The word labor is not used lightly. Popova pours hours into this project to produce thought provoking, insightful, and addicting articles on topics in art, science, psychology, design, philosophy, history, politics, anthropology, and more. She values creativity and utilization of the human mind to connect ideas together and expand its own capabilities. What a rush! Brain Pickings will make you want to curl up with a cup of tea and a plush blanket (no, we do not care that it is 90 degrees outside) and you really will feel smarter after just a few skims. 

  1. Ann Friedman 

Another Friday treat! Ann Friedman is a self-employed freelance journalist who provides some spunk to your inbox at the end of every working week. Her newsletters include the articles and books she is reading, “gifspiration,” links to her own work (like her successful “real talk” podcast “Call your Girlfriend”), what she endorses, and what readers submit to endorse. It contains good and honest places to go, things to see, events to attend and many more. After a stressful work-week you will need an Ann Friedman to relax with. 

  1. The Hustle 

Yes, you do not want to miss out on any of their packages. The Hustle sends daily emails on all the top tech, business, and culture news stories of the day, with the aim of getting young professionals well-informed. The Hustle uses a bold, honest, and sometimes even humorous voice to inform its readers of what they need to know and how it affects them. It is concise, engaging, and well researched. It is a perfect dose for those of us who are on a tight schedule but still want to stay informed.

  1. Amazons Watch

Mmmmm, this is the icing on the cake. When it seems like the world must be going nowhere with gender equality and the thought of women still facing bias overwhelms you, quietly log on to Amazons Watch Magazine or subscribe to its weekly inspirational newsletter and renew your strength with thousands of stories on women who have succeeded and are still succeeding irrespective of societal disadvantages. The Amazons Watch Magazine is a unique publication born out of the desire to continually tell the story of the giant strides of women in emerging nations of Africa, South America, Middle East and Asia; in order to create a deeper awareness and appreciation of women leaders in all sphere of life. Do you feel alone in your field or sphere? Have you continually opined that women may never achieve their pursuit of gender equality? Say no more because amazons watch has got you covered with thousands of inspiring stories about women whose struggles and giant strides will give you hope and leave you comforted with strength to keep pushing. The magazine is filled with inspiring and thrilling sections that in all aspects of life. From business, to motherhood, relationship, leadership, philanthropy and SDGs as it affects the women. You do not want to miss out on this.

A wise saying by Jim Rohn goes that “Either you run the day or the day runs you”.  Highly successful business women are those who have intelligently figured out ways to consistently run the day in their business, thereby leaving nothing to chances.  Nevertheless, this does not in any way indicate that these “highly successful business women” do not often face challenges in their businesses rather, what ultimately stands them out is the determination to always navigate through the endless issues they encounter while navigating through the top of their business career. 

It is true that all business owners face certain challenges, but women often have additional and unique obstacles to overcome because of their gender. Although, their male peers are less likely to encounter these issues. Working women who have children experience even more demands on their time, energy, and resources. Although, this does not mean women are less successful than men. In fact, statistics show that women are starting businesses at more than twice the rate of male-majority-owned businesses. The growing success rate of women entrepreneurs shows that they are resourceful and able to succeed, despite the odds.

Women business owners may face challenges in three major areas that are less common to men in the business. These areas include:

  • Gender Discrimination and Stereotyping

Gender discrimination is a civil rights violation covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It can involve pay disparities—when women are paid less than men for performing essentially the same job—or demotion or lack of advancement due to taking time off for family or childbirth-related purposes. The term gender discrimination applies whenever anyone is treated differently in the course of employment due to his or her gender. 

Although not a federal offence in and of itself, stereotyping falls under the umbrella of gender discrimination. It may come into play when a woman is not thought to be “strong enough” to do a job that entails physical labour or “tough enough” to manage a high-stakes career position that involves a lot of challenges. Some jobs are still seen as “for men” or “for women,” even though those artificial barriers have been proven wrong time and again.

  • Dual Career-Family Pressures

Although the Pew Research Centre found in 2014 that more and more dads were opting to stay home and care for their families, they are still vastly outnumbered by women in this area. And it’s still a common perception that mothers at home are what’s best for the kids. Pew also found that almost half of all respondents—47 percent—felt that mothers should not work more than part-time, and another 33 percent felt that they should not be working at all but should stay home to care for their children. The sociologist Arlie Hochschild referred to these work-life demands as coming home to the “second shift” of work to take care of children and domestic life.

  • Lack of Equal Opportunities in Certain Industries

Lack of equal opportunity ties in with stereotyping, which ultimately leads to gender discrimination. Women are paid less and offered fewer opportunities in some business sectors, and sometimes doors are closed to them entirely because of their gender, such as in heavy construction. A women’s pay gap remains in place to this day, many businesses may avoid hiring women of childbearing age simply because they don’t want to have to grapple with issues of maternity leave and wondering if somebody will even come back to work after having a child.

Can Women Can Overcome Business Challenges?  This may be the lingering question on your mind, but do not despair, though. Women often have life skills and natural abilities that are useful in business. They tend to be great at networking, and they possess inherent skills for negotiating. They own the ability to multitask. Single mothers are often good at delegating and budgeting, skills that they rely on to manage their families. 

Specific strategies to help women entrepreneurs and employees succeed include:

  1. Creating a strong support network.
  2. Considering certifying as a women-owned business.
  3. Learning new ways to balance work and life.
  4. Staying current on issues that present challenges for women in business, and learn how other women overcome their own obstacles in the business world.
  5. Don’t accept that you’re the underdog – because you’re not. Remind yourself that many men would most likely collapse if they had to do all you do on a daily basis.

The responsibilities attached to women in our contemporary society should never account for the reason why they should become poor business people rather every business woman must consider these responsibilities as one of the greatest advantage, that distinguishes them as excellent business women.

Source:

www.thebalancecareers.com

 

More women are speaking up for gender equality and advocating for equal opportunities and compensation, as well as a workplace free of harassment. While women are eager to ask for what their teams and colleagues need, they are a bit reluctant when it comes to negotiating for their self.  

When negotiation contexts are clear and unambiguous, it results in few gender differences in the likelihood of initiating a negotiation. For example, you would not expect men to be more likely than women to initiate a negotiation for a customer contract or a supplier agreement. However, when the appropriateness of negotiating is less clear—as is so often the case for negotiating promotion opportunities, visibility, and resources—gender differences do emerge.

Often, women view key assignments and promotions as a reward for doing a good job, so they wait to be rewarded instead of negotiating with supervisors for new opportunities. In contrast, research has demonstrated that men are comfortable seeking promotion even if they only meet some of the requirements of the new role.

Women should actively advocate for themselves and negotiate at critical junctures in their careers on their way in, by putting themselves in the running for new jobs and negotiating their compensation packages; on their way up, by targeting and seeking development opportunities, visible assignments and promotions; and even on their way out, by negotiating the terms of their exit from a company.

Here are five strategies that can help women negotiate effectively across their career.

Be Prepared

Successful negotiations start with preparation. This means that if you find yourself caught off guard by a conversation, buying time is a good strategy. If you are in the hallway when your boss stops to talk about a new role within the company—or if you are unexpectedly demoted—requesting time to regroup allows you to approach the discussion knowing what you want and how you will ask for it.

You need time to prepare in order to ensure that the right issues are put on the table. Consider ahead of time how your differentiators can help to address the employer’s pressing business needs. It is critical in employment negotiations to highlight how you are unique in some way so that the company can do something for you without establishing a precedent that requires them to do the same for everyone else. Avoid any discussion that only focuses on salary since this single-issue conversation is likely to damage the relationship.

Preparation is also useful when initiating discussions about your future. If you are seeking a promotion or a stretch assignment, be ready to clearly articulate the value you can contribute. Preparation also builds confidence and helps to counter the “inner critic” that frequently convinces women they are not ready. Even if this legwork does not land you the opportunity you want, presenting a strong case for why you should be considered may prompt your boss to provide mentoring or further development that leads to another opportunity.

Focus on the Other Side’s Needs

Always frame your offering in terms of what the employer needs. Take, for example, a female executive who was offered the role of CEO at a company based in another state. The one-year contract the board offered her was not acceptable given the impact a move would have on her spouse and her school-aged children. So she framed her request around the company’s needs: she presented a five-year turnaround plan, laying out what it would take to hit yearly targets and requested a five-year contract to go with it. The board agreed. The executive advanced the company’s agenda, and she got what she needed.

When you can lead the discussion, you want to lead; you will gain an advantage by creating the starting point, putting the right issues on the table, and being the one who frames the rationale.

What happens when you are leaving an organization instead of arriving? It may seem counterintuitive to think about the employer’s needs when you are being let go, but it can be fruitful. I am aware of a senior leader who learned she was being terminated. After taking a moment to regroup, she focused on the company’s need to manage the possible repercussions of her exit: communication with the firm’s clients, transition plans for the teams, and communication with the internal team to ensure employees did not follow her out the door. By making the case that she was uniquely positioned to help the company, she bought herself room to negotiate an exit that took into account the company’s priorities and her own needs.

Lead the Discussion

A large body of research has demonstrated that people who make the first offer get better outcomes. In job negotiations, people often defer because they think that the company may offer more than they would request. More likely, though, waiting leads to disappointment with what the company offered.

Granted, taking the lead can be difficult because you should not begin to negotiate until you have actually been offered the job. Additionally, particularly early in your career, the offer of employment and the terms of the offer are often confounded. In these situations, you cannot go first. However, as you become more senior, an employer may say that they are interested in hiring you and want to discuss what it will take. In this case, you would absolutely want to speak first. You would also want to lead in a negotiation with your current employer over a promotion or new assignment, as your existing role gives you more influence.

In other words, when you can lead, you want to lead; you will gain an advantage by creating the starting point, putting the right issues on the table, and being the one who frames the rationale. Moreover, when you lead, you are in the relationship-enhancing position, whereas when you follow, you are in the relationship-damaging position, needing to reject or critique the employer’s initial offer.

How does leading the discussion look in practice? Say, for example, you are being considered to lead a major initiative at your company. You know that this initiative will require a strong leader who can establish internal and external support from many constituents. Knowing how important it will be for the leader to get buy-in throughout the organization, you make the case that in order to have enough credibility, it is essential for you to have a vice president title. You also include in your negotiation a discussion of the timeline for the project, key success metrics, and a salary consistent with the vice president role.

Leave Room to Concede

Many people, especially women, mentally “negotiate down” their own demands based on what they think the employer will accept before they even enter the negotiation. However, asking for more puts you in a stronger position from the outset.

Go into the negotiation with a credible plan—remember, your reputation is at stake. But be ready to concede in the process. Design your plan with room to make certain concessions, and develop a rationale for these concessions.

Say you need a full-time, dedicated support person on your staff. Knowing that the company has a hiring freeze, you may be tempted to ask for just a part-time position. A better approach might be to request two staff positions—one to work directly with you and one to support the team—with “room to concede” down to one full-time person.

You need to have the opportunity to concede, so be certain to negotiate either face to face or on the telephone. You should never negotiate for yourself via email, text, or a voicemail message.

Offer Alternatives

Coming to the table with three offers rather than one can help you to get what you want. These “multiple equivalent simultaneous offers” (MESOs) help facilitate agreement. If you are arranging a meeting, would you offer just one day and time? Of course not.

In negotiating employment issues, MESOs change the conversation from “are we going to work together?” to “how can we work together?” Provide three packages, varying the issues that address the employer’s interests but are easy for you to provide, such as the strategic initiatives you will focus on, the timeline for doing this, and the metrics that will be used to define success. salary. Roles, responsibilities, exposure, flexibility, and the kinds of customers one works with might also be on the table. Offering alternatives showcases your ability to collaborate and your willingness to find solutions that benefit the company—and help you. Just as importantly, it can also convey information about how you specifically are best equipped to address the company’s pressing needs.

For example, in the scenario above where you are proposing a vice president role for yourself, you might vary the timeline for the initiative, the plan for internal and external engagement, and the success metrics across the three offers. You might hold constant the vice president title, and in two of the options include the salary consistent with this role. In the third option, though, you might include a base salary that is slightly lower—but also a very significant bonus tied to achieving the success metrics. These three options will promote a discussion about the best way to carry out the initiative and what success will look like; they will also highlight your confidence that you can do this job well if you are a vice president. This is likely to be a far more productive conversation than one focused on your salary and your desire to be a vice president.

Negotiating for yourself does not mean that you should focus on yourself—in fact, by focusing on the other side’s needs and the company’s priorities, you are far more likely to achieve the outcomes you desire.

Source: Kellogg Insight

Launching the first collection of a fashion brand is just the initial step. It takes a lot more to sustainably grow it over time, requiring discipline and commitment. Supriya Ghurye outlines the business aspects every fashion entrepreneur needs to follow to make a brand successful.

So, you’ve started off your fashion brand. You may have your own store, maybe stock your collection at a number of boutiques or sell online. You’ve worked hard the last six months designing and then coordinating every aspect. Your first collection has been a reasonable success, though you had to negotiate hard with suppliers and boutiques as you’re a new name in the crowded space of designers. So how do you make sure you grow profitably?

Here are some guidelines that you need to keep in mind, if you wish to succeed in business. Remember, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of fashion brands ready to take your place if you fail. Competition is intense and customer loyalty is notoriously fickle. So, plan and execute well these seven steps to a successful fashion business.

Keep a close eye on trends. Trends change frequently and what is in vogue today may not be when you launch your collection.

As designers, we plan collections months in advance, so be sure you have a good idea of the trends shaping current fashion, and whether they’re likely to stay.

Design for your core audience. Your first collection may have been designed to express your creativity for a particular audience. But remember that customers decide what sells.

So, keep a core audience in mind when you design a collection. Persona mapping is a technique used in marketing research that is extremely useful in figuring who your audience is and what they might be looking for.

Cost control. It is easy to let your creativity run wild, but a customer has to be willing to pay for the designs you’ve made.  Keeping a tight control on costs – material, manufacturing, even marketing – is essential to ensure that you make a profit. Remember, you may be discounting a part of your collection towards the end of the season, so factor that into your calculations.

Marketing. Your collection will sell when you market it well to the right audience. Invest wisely in your marketing efforts, using a good mix of in-store, social media and word-of-mouth through existing customers to ensure a good response while keeping marketing costs in control.

Presentation and selling. Visual merchandising – offline or online – determines whether a customer will be attracted to try out your designs.

If you stock your brand alongside others in e-retail or boutiques, make every effort to make your collection attractive enough for the customer to take a closer look and feel.

Keeping tabs on sales, inventory, channels and cash flow. If you stock your merchandise at multiple outlets on consignment, keep track of sold and unsold inventory and the receivables due. For online, tracking sales is much simpler, and updating inventory is critical to ensuring you don’t get orders that you cannot fulfil. Also, the issue of returns has to be handled diligently.

Maintaining relationships. Keep good relations with your best suppliers and ensure they are happy to engage in business with you, as their quality and timely delivery will ensure your brand’s consistency.

Customers are the lifeblood that keep your brand alive, and therefore, ensure you keep in touch with them and get feedback whenever possible. They’re also the ones who ensure you keep getting new customers, so it might be a good idea to reward them for their loyalty, if possible.

 

By Fashion4Fuel

It’s no secret that women in STEM still face a difficult struggle to reach gender parity. Many women working in science, technology, engineering and math report everything from “boy’s club” hiring practices to toxic working environments. STEM fields, like many other industries have a long way to go before they’re properly gender balanced. A new study published in Nature by female geoscientists and engineers diagnoses the problem more thoroughly — and offers some pretty brilliant solutions.

According to previously collected data, the women behind the study explain, women around the world show no shortage of passion for STEM: they make up 53 percent of global undergraduate and Masters students in science and 43 percent of PhDs, but only 28 percent manage to become researchers. The numbers get narrower the further you get up the ladder: in Europe in 2013, women made up only 24 percent of tenured science academics and only 13 percent of professors. And the problem isn’t that things are “still catching up”; there have been enough qualified women to do these jobs for decades. The structural barriers in place simply aren’t letting them get there.

The women also did a survey of over 300 people in their own field. Their numbers showed some pretty chronic under-representation in all the most vital areas, from journal publications to big scientific committees and high-prestige jobs at universities and institutions. Female researchers surveyed reported extensive gender stereotyping and not being taken seriously, a chronic lack of female role models in higher jobs, and being excluded from social events and attempting to network or get funding. It’s only a small study, but the trends aren’t exactly new.

The scientists behind the survey came up with a seven-point plan, and it sounds like it could truly knock gender bias on the head. And, importantly, they apply to men as well as women, and can be implemented across a broad swathe of industries.

The researchers laid out their plan as follows:

  1. Advocate for more women in prestige roles;
  2. Promote high-achieving females;
  3. Create awareness of gender bias;
  4. Speak up;
  5. Get better support for return to work;
  6. Redefine success; and,
  7. Encourage more women to enter the discipline at a young age.

The study’s conclusion outlines more actionable ways to implement these steps. “I think there are many [female] role models out there, but not enough are publicised the way males are,” one survey respondent noted, referring to step two. And the researchers also placed an emphasis on having all members of the community, not just marginalized ones, speak up when they see examples of bias happening: “(sadly) men might be more inclined to listen when a fellow male engineer calls them out on their sexism,” another respondent said, according to the study.

Furthermore, on a structural level, things need to change. “It could be having a secure position and contributing to the field while working flexible hours and enjoying life beyond work, as opposed to being a ‘star performer’ based on often quantitative workplace and disciplinary criteria,” write the researchers. The ‘no home life, all work, all genius’ model tends to discriminate in favour of men.

Finally, giving women the permission and the push to enter STEM disciplines at a young age, and mentoring them when they do, may be a key factor in evening out gender inequality, the scientists note. Clearly women possess both the talent and the love for STEM to study it in huge numbers. But supporting them through their early careers is crucial for helping them to push forward and succeed.

The thing about this seven-part plan of attack is that it’s not just a good idea for STEM. It’s a decent set of approaches for any industry that deals with gender and wants to make women a key, respected and equal element. If you work in another industry or business entirely, but recognize that some of these approaches will seriously help out, go on and start making them a thing.

By JR THORPE