Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Article of Interest: Qualities That Distinguish Women Leaders

Running a multimillion dollar business is no walk in the park.  To do a good job, it requires certain personality qualities as a leader to get things done.

From Finding 2:
This combination of traits enables the women in our study to express a unique approach toward dealing with disappointment, rejection or situations that don't work out their way. Dr. Greenberg explains, "They will feel the sting of being set back. They may even dwell on it, and tend to be a little self-critical. But then they will muster their assertiveness, shake off any negative feelings, learn what they need to carry on and a voice in the back of their heads will say, 'I'll show you.'"
Here's a look at specific qualities that distinguish women leaders.  It starts with these fabulous four:

1.  Persuasive
2.  Learn from adversity
3.  Inclusive
4.  Take risks

See if you have what it takes to succeed at becoming a standout leader.

The Qualities That Distinguish Women Leaders

Illustration credit here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Article of Interest: How Not To Throw Your Business Plan Out the Window

Planning is a difficult process.  Business owners need to plan to launch new products, hit profitability goals and to attract funding.
Business moves fast: the product's features morph, new competitors emerge, or the economic climate shifts. When these changes occur, many people just throw their business plans out the window. For a plan to be truly valuable it needs to evolve with your company and stay relevant in the face of uncertainty.
Find out what the experts say about business plans, how to create one and how to keep it fresh.

Read:  Keeping Your Business Plan Flexible

Posted by:  Women Presidents' Organization Chicago

Monday, December 06, 2010

Video of Interest: Women Presidents' Organization

The Women Presidents' Organization (WPO) is the premier global peer advisory organization for women entrepreneurs with multimillion dollar businesses. Go here (/ to learn more and join.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Article of Interest: Best Business Books for 2010

According to Strategy & Business, which I follow religiously, this is no time to be hunkering down and waiting for business as usual.  You've got to make things happen and spur innovation in remarkable ways.

In order to do that, reading helps enormously to foster breakthrough ideas.  Set aside quiet time to read, ponder and plan out what you want your business to look like in 2011 and beyond.

Here's a list that offers a good start

Illustration credit here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Article of Interest: Thinking About Taking Your Business Global?

There are many factors to consider before you take your business global and Small Business Trends founder Anita Campbell covers five of them exceptionally well.

Read her contribution:

Preparing Your Business to Go Global

Since WPO is a global organization, you can quickly drive results for your company internationally by first connecting peer-to-peer (member to member) within WPO.  Take a serious look at how you can do business in the UK, Canada, Peru, South Africa and the United States -- locations of WPO chapters throughout the world. 

Posted by:  Women Presidents' Organization Chicago

Monday, November 15, 2010

Resource of Interest: shatterbox

For young people who love what they do, this site's for you: 

Shatterbox wants you to wake up in the morning and love what you do. So we’re going to introduce you to lots of people who do and help you find how to get there yourself.

And as you grow your business well beyond the million dollar mark, we want you.  Only women presidents and CEOs need apply:  Women Presidents' Organization.

Illustration credit here.

Posted by:  Women Presidents' Organization Chicago

Monday, November 08, 2010

Article of Interest: Freeing the Social Entrepreneur

Does this sound all too familiar?
Social entrepreneurs are often reluctant to relinquish control and create strong leadership teams. Unless they make this important transition, the organizations entrepreneurs worked hard to create are unlikely to scale or have the desired impact.
Whether you run a social enterprise or a business poised to scale up, this article will help you vault your company into high-growth phase.

Read the entire article at Stanford Social Innovation Review:

Freeing the Social Entrepreneur
by Chantal Laurie Below and Kimberly Dasher Tripp

Illustration credit here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Interview of Interest: WPO Chicago Summit Sponsor Harris N.A.

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to visit with Janice Zimmerman and Maggie O'Brien, both V.P.s and Sr. Commercial Relationship Managers at Harris N.A.  The purpose of our gathering was to get a pulse on what's going on in the "business banking" world and to determine what SMBs should be looking out for relative to economic trends.  Here's the result of our conversation.

Delaney:  As bankers working with small and mid-size businesses, are your customers seeing signs of economic recovery and is this translating to improved financial trends for their business?

Zimmerman:  The good news is that many of our customers who were hard hit by the economic downturn are beginning to see signs of stabilization, and even slight recovery.  A decline in revenues prompted some customers to undergo the painful process of “right sizing” their operations and for others it provided the impetus to seek process improvements in an attempt to offset profit erosion.

Although the consensus among economists is that the deep and wide recessionary effects will make for a slow recovery, the businesses that have reacted quickly and decisively to the downturn can more effectively compete when demand for their products/services returns.  As we have seen in prior downturns, companies that have remained well capitalized will also be better positioned to take advantage of the many opportunities for growth and expansion that provide the silver lining in the dark cloud of a recession.

Delaney:  Many businesses really struggled during 2008 and 2009 but recently their performance has improved. How long will it be before they can be approved for bank financing?

O'Brien:  Every business’ situation is different and unique, but speaking in general terms, the bank will want to ensure that the improved performance that a business is experiencing is sustainable.

Generally, the bank will want to see at least 6 – 12 months of improved performance prior to issuing new debt.  The bank will also consider the strength of a company’s balance sheet. If a company generated losses in 2008 and 2009, the equity in their company may have eroded, and the owner will need to work together with their banker to determine the appropriate balance between debt and equity to fund their company’s operations as they move forward.

Delaney:  Given your observations of how businesses fared over the last few years, what major “lessons learned” can you share with business owners out there?

  1. The importance of adequate capital structure. Businesses need to have the right balance of debt and equity in order to withstand a downturn.
  2. While growth is of utmost priority to most business owners, the focus should be on profitable growth that is funded with the appropriate balance of debt and equity.
  3. While it can be very difficult to make the changes necessary to cut overhead as revenues fall, the businesses that made these changes immediately fared much better than those that waited hoping things would turn around.
  4. Although no business owner enjoys talking about the hardships the company is facing, it is critically important to maintain an open dialogue with your banker so that there are no surprises.
Delaney:  What financing programs should SMBs be aware of?

Zimmerman:  There are a number of government programs in place to help support SMBs, including financing programs offered through banks and in conjunction with the SBA, the US Treasury Department, State Treasurer’s Office and many others.  Although many of these programs are offered to support growth and expansion efforts of the SMBs, some offer relief for existing debt in the form of a refinance. Your commercial banker is your best resource to see which program may help your business.

To learn more about Harris N.A., go here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Article of Interest: Good Forecasts Hold the Key to Good Plans

In "Cleaning the Crystal Ball," authors Tim Laseter, Casey Lichtendahl, and Yael Grushka-Cockayne for Strategy & Business talk about how intelligent forecasting can lead to better decision making.
Competence in forecasting does not mean being able to predict the future with certainty. It means accepting the role that uncertainty plays in the world, engaging in a continuous improvement process of building your firm’s forecasting capability, and paving the way for corporate success.

A good forecast leads, through either direct recommendations or informal conversation, to robust actions — actions that will be worth taking, no matter how the realities of the future unfold. 
As the authors state, "all models start with assumptions."  What are yours?

Read the entire article here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

News of Interest: Ladies, Get the Edge in Fed Contracts

Listen up WPO members! You will soon have a better chance of getting federal contracts for everything from consulting and supplies to construction and food services, thanks to new rules that give female-owned businesses an edge in the bidding process.
The Small Business Administration announced last week that it had finalized rules for its Women’s Procurement Program. This program gives female business owners access to an estimated $25 billion, 5 percent of the federal procurement budget. In some cases, it will give such businesses a slight advantage in bidding for federal contracts.

Women Impacting Public Policy is a nonpartisan group that helped bring about the changes. It has taken more than a decade to implement the program since Congress approved it in 2000, and the federal government hasn’t met its own goals for contracting with female-owned firms.
Read more here.  While you are at it, check out this piece which covers some good government contract advice (healthy dose of reality).

And please let us know when you land your first contract.  We want to report out to the Feds that this is working!

Monday, October 04, 2010

News of Interest: Background on the Small Business Bill

President Obama signed the Small Business Jobs Act, a bill that will give small businesses support and incentives to help them grow and hire.

And the bill includes eight new small business tax cuts – and applying to small businesses’ taxes for this year – providing an immediate incentive for businesses to make new investments and expand.

For example:
•  If you are a small business and you buy new equipment, you can immediately write off the first $500,000 of your investments;

•  If you are one of over one million eligible small businesses, key long-term investments in your company will be subject to zero capital gains taxes;

•  If you are an entrepreneur and take a chance on a new idea, you can deduct the first $10,000 of your start-up costs;

•  And if you are self employed you can deduct 100 percent of the cost of health insurance for you and your family from your self-employment taxes.
Read more details (including about tax cuts) here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Event of Interest: Women Presidents' Organization (WPO) and American Express OPEN Regional Program in Chicago on October 26

Here's what people have already said about the program:
"I own an advertising agency and have experienced many brand seminars, but Neeli's seminar was like an MBA-level crash course on branding -- amazing -- and I walked away with tools that can be integrated immediately to develop a company's brand." ~ Beth Bronfman, Leibler Bronfman Lubalin Advertising, WPO New York I & Platinum Member

"I attended both Neeli's workshop at our April WPO conference as well as a special half day workshop this summer she did with my Platinum group. Neeli's wisdom about marketing, brand development and customer service was tremendous, presented with great humor and insight. She gave me a better understanding about brand development and retention globally, as well as steps I might consider to help Adesso's business and brand recognition.
So I suggest you run, not walk, to Neeli's WPO workshops this October!" ~ Margaret A. Traub, President & CEO, Adesso Inc
Registration here ( Lunch is included. Seating is limited. Better grab your place at the table fast!

See you there!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Article of Interest: Marsha Firestone Quoted in The Wall Street Journal

Women Presidents' Organization ( President and Founder, Marsha Firestone, Ph.D. (pictured), is quoted two different times in The Wall Street Journal:

Portal Aims to Ease Contract Bids for Small Business

Marsha Firestone states:
In, Enterprise Dispatch, she states:
The new portal initially isn't "going to make a huge dent," because only six large corporations are so far involved, adds Marsha Firestone, president of the Women Presidents' Organization, a New York group made up of mostly small "B2B" companies. "But if it grows and a lot of contracts come out of that, it could," she says.
Further, she is quoted:

'Supplier Connection': a portal for doing business with large corporations - smartplanet by IBM

Posted by: Women Presidents' Organization Chicago

Monday, September 13, 2010

Article of Interest: Are You a TED Talk Person?

Do you have brilliant ideas (e.g., you are considered one of the best minds in business), know how to present well and like to share? Then you're poised to become a TED talk person.

Becoming a TED talk person can boost your business and brand's awareness on a grander scale than ever imagined. Plus, you'll be in good company with the likes of Richard Branson, Malcolm Gladwell, Julia Sweeney, Isabel Allende and Chris Anderson (owner of TED) -- to name just a few of the elite business people who have given TED talks.

We're talking radical openness here that the world can tap into. Are you ready? Then read all about the global education brand of the 21st century and see if you have what it takes to participate:

How TED Connects the Idea-Hungry Elite (Fast Company)

Sample TED talk: Sheena Iyengar on the art of choosing.

Illustration credit here.

Posted by: Women Presidents' Organization Chicago

Monday, September 06, 2010

Cool Tool of Interest: Twitter as a Daily Newspaper

A great way to stay on top of all that is shared by the people you follow is through, which organizes links shared on Twitter into an easy to read newspaper-style format. Newspapers can be created for any Twitter user, list or #tag.

Samples for review can be found at: The Twitter Fast Company Daily, The Twitter The Economist Daily, The Twitter Entrepreneur Mag Daily and I just created an account under my own name here (as shown above).

It's as simple as 1-2.3 to get started and can be used to get the word out on your business online in a whole new way, especially if you click on the "promote it" button.

Start your business daily newspaper now. Go here.

Posted by: Women Presidents' Organization Chicago

Monday, August 30, 2010

Cool Tool of Interest: Google Realtime

In case you've been too busy to catch the latest and greatest from Google, they just released a new and improved version to their Updates with Realtime Search (, which lets you see up-to-the-second social updates, news articles and blog posts about hot topics worldwide.

Getting public response or a reaction is getting speedier and more efficient all the time. WPO members can use this tool to their competitive advantage by utilizing instant knowledge of what people are thinking, instead of waiting for polls, studies or reports on what the public wants.

Use the results to power up and strategically grow your business.

Give it a try here. We did and found all sorts of interesting real-time news on the Women Presidents' Organization!

Graphic illustration source here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Article of Interest: Build a Better Whatchamacallit

What does your business have in common with creators of products that grill a burger, catch varmints, and save the earth? Design excellence.

Learn more here:

Build a Better ... Mousetrap

Pictured: Guaraná Jesus is a Brazilian soft drink produced by bv0, a Coca-Cola bottler based in São Luís and one of the winners of the 2010 International Design Excellence Awards.

Monday, August 16, 2010

News of Interest: 7th Annual WPO Chicago 2010 Summit a Huge Success

We are happy to report that our 7th Annual WPO Chicago 2010 Summit held August 12th at Carnivale Chicago and sponsored by Harris N.A. and Wm. Wrigley, Jr. Company was a huge success.

Program presenters were as follows:

• Andy Busch, Global Currency and Public Policy Strategist, BMO Capital Markets, Harris, N.A., talked about how the global economic environment can and has influenced small business in the United States and how to use this information to better position your business for future success.

• Donna Westerman, Director Supplier Diversity and Social Responsibility, WW Procurement, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, spoke on the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to WBE’s, why it is relevant and what corporations are expecting of their suppliers.

• Barry Moltz, expert on how to get your business unstuck, talked about how your business can thrive during any economy.

• The Riot Act showcased how improvisation can be used in business to explore serious issues in unconventional ways.

The highlight of the day was a surprise appearance by WPO President and Founder, Dr. Marsha Firestone, who spoke about the global growth of the Women Presidents' Organization. We were honored that she could participate in the most important event of the year for WPO Chicago.

Throughout the program, which ran from 11:00 a.m. until 9:30 p.m., we had the opportunity to learn, network, be inspired and grow together. It was in line with our theme: "NEW DECADE: Finding Inspiration, Innovation and Pro$perity." Our long-time friend and colleague, Hedy Ratner, co-founder of the WBDC Chicago, joined us for lunch.

Thank you to our presenters and sponsors for supporting and participating in our program this year and special appreciation to our WPO Chicago Steering Committee Members for their help in putting together this fantastic program. We also wish to thank our national sponsors for their continued support to WPO.

Pictured (top): Room setup before members and guests arrive. Center photo: Lunch part of program. Bottom photo: Dr. Marsha Firestone, President and Founder, WPO, speaking during the Summit lunch.

Photo credits: Laurel Delaney at WPO Chicago Summit, Carnivale Chicago 8/12/10.

Posted by: Women Presidents' Organization Chicago

Monday, August 09, 2010

Article of Interest: Embrace of Power

As more high-achieving women -- such as the entire WPO membership base spanning across four continents -- grow their businesses to multimillion dollar + levels, they will continue to embrace power to get things done.

Read this controversial piece, "Women and the Uneasy Embrace of Power." Share your comments at the origin site and report back to us with your insights because we always like to hear from you.

The comments (33+) are worth a look.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Article of Interest: Make Changes That Last

Growing your business is not a sprint. It's a marathon that requires a plan and a process involving trials, errors and successes.

After analyzing decades of scientific research and case studies, best-selling authors Chip and Dan Heath have discovered that there are simple things you can do to snap the cycle of busted resolutions (things you should be doing that you are not for whatever reason) which can get in the way of making progress with your company.

Here's a snapshot (adapted from "Switch: How to Change When Change Is Hard,” by Chip and Dan Heath):
  • Stop procrastinating.
  • Make better decisions.
  • Give yourself crystal-clear directions.
  • Handle big changes.
  • Keep yourself motivated.
  • Make your environment support your change.
Go here for the entire article.

Are you practicing any of the above as you build your business? If so, we'd love to hear from you on exactly what you are doing and how you are doing it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Article of Interest: Jump Your Business Ahead

Many business owners feel that summer is typically a slow time of year for their business. Is that you too? Obviously a lot depends on where you live, your firm's sales cycle, whether you market seasonal products (locally and globally) and what else is going on in the industry and economically.

According to Tom Hall, co-author of "Ruthless Focus: How to Use Key Core Strategies to Grow Your Business," with leadership expert Wally Bock:
Summer is a great time to jump your business ahead. If your clients and customers are all taking a break, take advantage of the slow market and get yourself ready for the fall.
How do you get ready? He offers a couple of fun recommendations here.

And be sure to review his thoughts on how to remedy the "I must do it all" mentality for business owners.

What are you doing this summer to stand out from the crowd with your clients and customers? We welcome hearing from you.

Posted by: Women Presidents' Organization Chicago

Monday, July 19, 2010

Article of Interest: What To Do When Your Company Makes a Mistake

What do you do when you or someone in your company makes a mistake -- whether it be in producing a product, launching an advertising campaign or making an inappropriate off the cuff statement on a national television network?

If you follow the path of Apple's iPhone's debacle, the first thing you do is admit you made a mistake and then claim that you are not perfect.
"We're not perfect," admitted Steve Jobs, the boss of Apple, at a press conference today at which he discussed the firm's new smartphone, the iPhone 4. To people who have long ascribed almost God-like powers to Mr Jobs, that may come as a shock. But the ham-fisted way in which Apple has handled a fuss over connectivity issues with its new device has shown that even one of the world's most admired companies can get things wrong every now and again.
Read more here.

According to WSJ's blog Digits, here are five things Apple (or any business that finds itself in a similar situation) should do regarding its flawed iPhone 4:
  1. Apologize
  2. Put Steve Jobs (President/CEO) front and center
  3. Explain what went wrong
  4. Offer a real fix to consumers now
  5. Explain whether the phone will be changed later
What approach do you implement to recover from business missteps every now and then? We welcome hearing from you.

Related article on the ability to learn from mistakes.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Article of Interest: Are You Rebalancing Your Businesss?

In view of the notion of a potential double-dip recession coming to our economy very soon, whether it happens or not, how do you prepare for such an event?

Are you rebalancing your business in anticipation of a period of greater risk? If so, what steps are you taking to ensure a "steady as she goes" sort of approach to growing your business?

We do know this to be true:
Economic growth is not likely to return in a sudden and massive way. The “New Normal” is viewed as an economy of much tighter regulation, much higher taxes for the wealthy and for corporations, higher government spending, and consumers living with less and enjoying far less opulence than in prior years. It is even arguable that the recovery was merely a stimulus and stability recovery matched merely by an inventory replacement cycle with no follow-on gains.
The Huffington Post defines 'Double-dip' recession here.

As always, we welcome hearing your views and insights on this hotly debated topic.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Article of Interest: Should Your Business Be in the Cloud?

At a recent WPO Chicago downtown II chapter session, one of the questions that came up was: "Will cloud computing impact your business model now or ever?"

The answer: What is cloud computing?

According to Wikipedia:
Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand.
Think along the lines of Google Docs (particpate in our test here), Google Gmail or Scribd (example of how I use it for my business) but take it further to consider the implications of its use in other aspects of business.

For example, consider cloud workplaces, cloud research projects or cloud peer groups (we already experience this among WPO Chicago chapter members by using common links through Google Docs where everyone can share, network and edit critical documents).

Needless to say it's something to track and monitor closely as it grows in popularity. You don't want to be caught off guard should our world become more cloud-driven.

The big question we will leave you with is this: Should your business be in the cloud?

Learn more here.

Posted by: Women Presidents' Organization Chicago

Monday, June 28, 2010

Event of Interest: Edward Lowe Foundation at Big Rock Valley

Having just completed an enlightening business leadership retreat at the Edward Lowe Foundation (ELF) with WPO Chicago downtown III chapter members, it only seems fitting to bring attention to what ELF at Big Rock Valley is most known for: helping business owners reach second-stage growth.

How do you define second-stage growth?
Second-stage companies are those that have grown past the startup stage but have not grown to maturity. They have enough employees to exceed the comfortable control span of one owner/CEO and benefit from adding professional managers, but they do not yet have a full-scale professional management team.

A business typically begins to enter its second stage when it approaches $1 million in total receipts. The transition process can continue until it hits $100 million in receipts, although for most companies $50 million represents the upper limit of second stage. By $100 million, a firm will have to be professionally managed in order to continue to thrive and grow and be in its third stage of development. Employee numbers and revenue ranges vary by industry, but the population of firms with 10 to 100 employees and/or $750,000 to $50 million in receipts includes the vast majority of second-stage companies.

Beyond this, there are other signs that indicate to a CEO that second stage is at hand.

Read about them here.

Where is your business at? What have you done lately to take yourself out of your business and reflect on "next-level thinking" with your peers?

Photo credit: Laurel Delaney, WPO Chicago Chapter Chair

Monday, June 14, 2010

Article of Interest: How to Create an iPhone App for Your Business

Let's face it, we all like to stay ahead of technology plus save money at the same time. Here's a nifty little article, "Why and How To Create an iPhone App for Your Business," that helps you understand the power of providing a useful service to your customers. Remember it all starts with a good idea.

Read more here.

Related resources:

Monday, June 07, 2010

Event of Interest: The Senior Businesswomen's Forum

On June 3rd, many of us from WPO Chicago had the great pleasure of attending Foley & Lardner's event, "Getting Your Message Out In An Over-Messaged World," -- hosted by Miki Vucic Tesija (pictured and a WPO Chicago downtown I chapter member) and Mary Kay Matire, partners at Foley & Lardner Chicago office. They were responsible for the content of this program along with co-sponsor Huron Consulting Group.

We heard from award-winning journalist Anne Kavanagh and award-winning producer Maria Dugandzic on how to make yourself heard in a world consumed with noise.

Foley & Lardner is a national sponsor to the Women Presidents' Organization and also hosts our WPO Chicago downtown II chapter meetings. We are very proud of this amazing relationship -- so "thank you" to everyone at Foley & Lardner for your continued support to the WPO! We appreciate it.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Article of Interest: Making Sense of Twitter

Many business owners are still trying to figure out how to use Twitter to benefit their business. Is that you too? This article, "Reach Customers in 140 Characters, All of Them Free," helps you make productive use of the service.

A couple of highlights on how to get started:
  • First of all, listen.
  • Do not be boring.
  • A live version of a FAQ.
  • Create a focus group.
  • Soapbox for thinkers.
  • Starting small is fine.
Read the entire article here.

Follow us on Twitter @WomenPresidents
Use hashtag #WPO

Monday, May 24, 2010

Event of Interest: Women's Leadership Breakfast 5/25/10

The Executives' Club of Chicago Women's Leadership Breakfast, "Personal Board of Directors: Building Your Powerhouse Network" will be held Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at the The Hilton Chicago, Grand Ballroom (720 South Michigan Avenue) from 7:00-9:00 a.m.

With all of the downsizing and diminishing job opportunities, we are in a climate that cultivates an "every woman for herself" mentality. In these tough economic times, you can experience bad behavior from BOTH sexes. But there is some heartening news, women are helping women and are concentrating on a new type of networking. This panel will discuss alternatives to hiring a career coach like cultivating your own personal board of directors. Learn how convening individuals from past jobs and professional associations can bring a fresh perspective on individual strengths, values, goals and next steps.

Moderator: Maria Bartiromo (pictured), Anchor, CNBC's "Closing Bell," Host and Managing Editor "The Wall Street Journal Report with Maria Bartiromo"

Carol Bernick, Executive Chairman of the Board, Alberto Culver Company; Christy Carpenter, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, The Paley Center for Media; and, Michele Coleman Mayes, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer, Allstate Insurance Company
The Women Presidents' Organization Chicago is a proud partner of this empowering high-level women's program.

Registration is 7:00 a.m. Seated Breakfast, 7:30 a.m. Panel Discussion, 8:00 a.m.

For more information and to register, visit here.

I hope to see you there! Feel free to contact me to arrange a meeting in advance (ldelaney(at)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Article of Interest: Values-Driven Companies

Whether you run a Fortune 500 company or a vibrant small business, the values you put forth play a vital role in managing and transforming a company.

According to Harvard Business School Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter ...
A new type of 21st century company is emerging that is transforming how business is conducted. These are values-driven companies that define a core set of values and rely on these values in making all strategic decisions. Such companies are transforming themselves, their industries, and the world.
A snapshot of the key concepts includes:
  • Ability to change themselves and the world because they put values at the center of their company.
  • Gain tremendous advantages.
  • Hold true to core values.
  • Identify, understand, and stay true to values.
  • Operate a business that brings value to the world.
  • Influence the behaviors of other corporations and leaders.
For more in depth knowledge, go here.

Are you willing and able to change and bounce back quickly from challenging situations? As always, we welcome your comments.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Article of Interest: Are You in Pursuit of Perfection?

As you grow your business, are you in constant pursuit of perfection, new opportunities and new possibilities?

Then this little BIG article will fuel your desires.

Read: Steve Jobs: Master of Innovation

Find out how he changed the way we work, play and communicate -- with the best yet to come.

Are you stirring the pot to build a business of common good and lasting value? Let us hear from you. We welcome your thoughts and ideas.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Article of Interest: Powerful People Are Better Liars

Once in a while we have to take a chance at provoking (challenging) our readers. This is one of them. We read, "Defend Your Research: Powerful People Are Better Liars," by Dana Carney, published in the current Harvard Business Review and thought: Is this true?

Read it for yourself and let us know what you think. We all know the "type." They exist, unfortunately, everywhere but how do you deal with such a person, especially if they work for you or you work with them in some capacity at your business?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

News of Interest: A High Five to the WPO High Fliers

Just returned from the WPO Annual Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida at The Westin Beach Resort and I feel good -- inspired and ready to take on the world! What about you? Share your successes, powerful moments and learning lessons with us. How do you plan to use the information you received at the conference to grow your business? We welcome hearing from you.

In the meantime, check out some of the amazing media coverage we received during the conference:

The Wall Street Journal
High Fliers: Top Women-Led Companies

Marsha Firestone, WPO's founder and president, says the group began compiling the rankings three years ago in an effort to dispel the notion that female-led companies are primarily mom-and-pop operations in "retail, cookie-making or crafts." Most on the list are business-to-business companies, many in traditionally male-dominated fields such as transportation, construction, manufacturing and distributing, she says.
Trailblazing Women Business Owners Achieve Rapid Growth Despite Challenging Economy

"The Top 50 list exemplifies the vital role women business owners have on boosting the economy and enhancing job growth overall," says Marsha Firestone, Ph. D., president and founder of the WPO. "We are pleased to partner with American Express OPEN to honor these powerful women and recognize their triumphs."
Female Executives Share Secrets of Success

A woman CEO may not want to ask for help to be successful, but the Women Presidents' Organization breaks that mindset in order to take women-owned businesses to the next level.And one more! "There's a perception out there that women grow and run very small mom-and-pop operations and that they are mostly crafts or retail or cookies, and that's not true at all,'' said WPO founder and President Marsha Firestone.

Firestone said some of the fastest-growing women-owned companies are in industries that aren't traditionally women dominated.
Catch us if you can! And if you'd like more information about WPO, please contact our headquarter office at 212-688-4114 or email In Chicago, call 773-381-1700 or email ldelaney(at)

We look forward to hearing from you.

Photo credit: Starwood Hotels, The Westin Beach Resort, Fort Lauderdale, Sky Terrace where we had our "dessert" reception on the last evening of the conference.

Added 4/27/10 at 9:39 CDT --
WPO Conference: 90+ Guru & Salsa Dancing, Too (hat tip to Karen Barnett for the info).

Monday, April 19, 2010

News of Interest: A New Kind of Company

When you started your business, you most likely went through the process of determining which type of entity best suits your short and long term needs. For example, some of your options might have been to form a limited liability company (LLC), C corporation or S corporation. Hopefully your attorney guided you along the way by asking the right questions about how you envision operating your business five, ten or twenty years out.

For those of you who are considering new business initiatives, especially if it is caused related or a socially responsible enterprise, you might want to take a look at this new type of business that redefines the very purpose and meaning of a business.

It's called a B Corporation. What are B Corporations?
B Corporations are a new type of corporation which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. B Corporations are unlike traditional responsible businesses because they:
  • Meet comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards.
  • Institutionalize stakeholder interests.
  • Build collective voice through the power of a unifying brand.
Check it out and find out why it matters here:

Certified B Corporation

Monday, April 12, 2010

Resource of Interest: Google AdWords: Keyword Tool

We recently had Internet Marketing Consultant Amanda Bury from ReachLocal give a talk at our WPO Chicago downtown I chapter meeting and she did a very good job educating us on what SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing) do for your online business, what the difference is between the two and how to use both effectively to bring greater attention to your business on the Internet.

One tool I always use for my business, and this is outside of the bounds of what Amanda spoke about, is Google AdWords: Keyword Tool. It's a free resource that lets you see what folks are typing into Google. I access great competitive information from it, use it to determine the best choice of words for blog titles and even determine the name(s) of new businesses that require a catchy domain name.

Tips for using Keyword Tool:
  • Find keywords based on your site content. Instead of entering your own keywords, try using the Website Content option. It lets you enter the URL of your business website, or of any site related to your business. The AdWords system will then scan your page and then suggest relevant keywords.

  • Create new, separate ad groups with similar keywords. We recommend creating several ad groups in each campaign, each with a small, narrowly-focused set of similar keywords. Use the Keyword Tool to discover relevant keywords, then divide them into lists of 5 to 20 similar terms. See examples of ad groups promoting a single product or service and multiple products or services.

  • Identify negative keywords. The Keyword Tool can help you identify off-topic keywords that users may be thinking about. Suppose you sell cut flowers and you give the Keyword Tool the keyword 'flowers.' It may suggest the related term 'gardens,' and you may want to add that term to your ad group as a negative keyword. That will keep your ad from showing on searches for 'flower gardens' or similar terms. This helps make sure only interested customers see your ads.

  • Specify a language and location. If you're using the Keyword Tool while signed in to your account, you can modify your keyword search with advanced settings and tailor results to a particular location and language. If you happen to be targeting Spanish speakers who live in France, make sure you set the Keyword Tool to that language and location.

  • Start broad and then get specific. Try broad terms like 'flowers' in the Keyword Tool first. Then try specific terms like 'red roses' or 'miniature cactus.'
On our own, we did a test (as illustrated above) using keywords: 'women presidents' (clicked the box to use synonyms) and found these keywords related to the term(s) we entered that were searched regularly:

women college presidents
women presidents in the world
women university

What does that mean? You have to factor it in when you create, for example, blog post titles or designate choice paid search listings with keywords for your business. There's so much more -- so spend some time reviewing and learning about how you can use this tool to grow your business.

Give it a whirl here:
Google AdWords: Keyword Tool

Stuck? There's always an online classroom.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Article of Interest: Total Virtual, Is That Your Business?

Have you fantasized about ditching your office space, saving a boatload of money (rent) and taking your entire enterprise virtual? It's in line with the expression: If you can dream, it, you can do it! We know for a fact that many WPO members are already running thriving virtual companies. Technically, your office is wherever you are.

If you want a practical look at the why, the how, and the why not of going virtual, think of it as your blueprint for your officeless future, read:

"The Case, and the Plan, for the Virtual Company"

While you are at it, check out: "How Virtual Offices Work."

Let us know what you think of this glimpse at the future of work.

Monday, March 29, 2010

News of Interest: Get Ready For the Next Big Gamechanger

Oftentimes it's the little things that sneak up on us while we run our businesses. Suddenly, out of nowhere, we find ourselves shaking our heads wondering how or why we fell behind, especially concerning the powerful capabilities of the Internet.

Take blogs, for example, remember when people questioned why in the world anyone would start a blog? Pause for a moment to appreciate the explosive growth in blogosphere. Blogs increased from 4,000 in 2004 to currently more than 133,000,000 (is anyone still counting?). Note: the Women Presidents' Organization launched its blog in 2006!

Then came Linked In, Facebook and Twitter. Many of us could not comprehend what these new media platforms meant for our businesses. Now we get it. As a result, we're racing ahead to catch up and leverage the digital revolution in a way that drives positive results for our businesses.

And now, along comes still another new magical and revolutionary device. It's called the iPad (a lightweight screen meant to move). Think it won't change the way we do things? Guess again.

The iPad has all the signs of a global gamechanger. Ready yourself and your business for it now (official release date is April 3). You want to win the race this time around.

Read: 13 of the Brightest Tech Minds Sound Off on the Rise of the Tablet

Photo credit: Apple

Breaking news: Well what do you know ... just in via online by the king of tech reviews, Walter S. Mossberg, WSJ (April 1, 2010):

Laptop Killer? Pretty Close

iPad Is a 'Game Changer' That Makes Browsing and Video a Pleasure; Challenge to the Mouse

Monday, March 15, 2010

Article of Interest: Reconsider Your Hiring Practices

USA Today columnist Rhonda Abrams challenges women business owners to change the way we think about hiring if we want to grow — really grow — our companies.

She highlights:

Here's a startling fact: nearly 7% of male-owned businesses gross more than a million dollars a year, but less than 3% of women-owned businesses do. In fact, there are only about 250,000 women-owned businesses that generate $1 million or more in sales a year. One reason: women's reluctance to hire.

Abrams also emphasizes it takes a confident women to be in charge of others.

Read the entire article here. Agree? Disagree? Weigh in with your comments. We always enjoy hearing from you.

Photo credit here.

Monday, March 08, 2010

News of Interest: U.S. $6 billion a Year in Export Financing for Small Businesses

For those already running a global small business or thinking about taking a business international, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke pledged U.S. $6 billion a year in export financing for U.S.A. small businesses through the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

What does this mean for you and your business? If you haven't looked overseas to build sales for your business, you should now.

The National Export Initiative is focused on three key areas:
1. A more robust effort by this administration to expand its trade advocacy in all its forms, especially for small- and medium-sized enterprises. This effort includes educating U.S. companies about opportunities overseas, directly connecting them with new customers and advocating more forcefully for their interests.

2. Improving access to credit with a focus on small- and medium-sized businesses that want to export.

3. Continuing the rigorous enforcement of international trade laws to help remove barriers that prevent U.S. companies from getting free and fair access to foreign markets.
As Commerce Secretary Gary Locke says:
“Increasing the export of American products and services to global markets can help revive the fortunes of U.S. companies, spur future economic growth and support jobs here at home."
Discover how you can put the world in your hands and use the power of the U.S. government to increase your export sales here.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

News of Interest: Two WPO Chicago Members Inducted Into Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame 2/25/10

We are thrilled to report that not one but two Women Presidents' Organization Chicago members have been inducted into the prestigious Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame (through the Coleman Foundation Entrepreneurship, Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago).

Category: Classic Start-up and Lifetime Entrepreneurs

The new members are:

• Francine Manilow, President (pictured left), Manilow Suites (downtown I member)
• Jennifer Bertoglio, Founder, President & CEO (pictured right), LawyerLink (downtown II member)
Those inducted into the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame embody the entrepreneurial spirit of Chicago area businesses: a determination to succeed, an unsurpassed commitment to excellence, and the rare ability to meet challenges and recognize opportunities through innovation, proactiveness and risk taking.
The Judges and their world-class sponsors, American Chartered Bank, Grant Thornton, Allscripts, MarketM and Crain's Chicago Business welcomed Francine and Jennifer as members this evening, February 25th, at the Chicago Hilton and Towers.

Of the many thousands of entrepreneurs in the Chicago area, the students, faculty, sponsors, and Judges select very few winners each year so this is quite an accomplishment for Francine and Jennifer.

We are very proud of them; congratulate them on this great achievement and wish them continued success. More importantly, we are very proud that they are WPO Chicago members.

Also note: Crain's Chicago Business, Enterprise City, "UIC adds names to entrepreneurs' Hall of Fame"

Photo credit: Laurel Delaney, WPO Chicago

Monday, February 22, 2010

Articles of Interest: POWER Your Business Out of the Recession

Harvard Business Review Magazine is a good resource to refer to from time to time. And in this case, it might help POWER you and your business out of the recession.

Here is a sampling of complimentary articles for your use.

March 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

Event of Interest: Women Presidents' Organization (WPO) 13th Annual Conference April 22-24, 2010

Register now for the Women Presidents' Organization (WPO) 13th Annual Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on April 22nd-24th at the Westin Beach Resort.

To view the Conference schedule, registration (for both members and non-members who qualify), and all Conference information, click here.

This year's theme is:

Thriving in the New Economy

Keynote speakers: Professor Neeli Bendapudi, Ph.D., Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University; Jean Chatzky, Best-Selling Author and Financial Expert; Professor Rebecca Henderson, Harvard Business School; and Frances Hesselbein & Marshall Goldsmith, Chairman and Founding President of the Leader to Leader Institute, former CEO, the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. (1976-1990) and Best-Selling Author and Executive Coach.

There will also be five substantive workshop programs, and our closing session on Saturday is Salsa Away your Stress.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Seeking: 50 Fastest-Growing Woman-Owned or Woman-Led Companies

The Women Presidents' Organization is in search for the 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned or Women-Led Companies in North America! Applications are now being accepted through Wednesday, February 10th. Yes, that's right. Only two days left to make your move.

To be eligible, companies must be:

  • Privately owned
  • Women-owned/led
  • Must have generated $500,000 in annual revenues by the first week of 2005
  • Must have reached revenues of $2 million by year-end 2009
You do not have to be a WPO member to apply. What are you waiting for?

Click here to access the application form. Any questions can be e-mailed to fastgrowth(at)

Monday, February 01, 2010

Article of Interest: 11 Ways to Create Great Online Content

Are you trying to snag new clients for your business with the content you produce on your website, blog, Facebook or Twitter platforms?

Then take a good long look at these magnificent ideas on how to WOW your readers, actively engage them and integrate the material across all online media channels.

Snippet (which begs me to ask you: Are you a silo-buster?):
11. Bust silos. Do you have a print newsletter? Do you produce a regular podcast? Run a version of a print article on the blog, upload the best headlines to Facebook, post transcripts of your podcast online, and chat everything up on Twitter. A lot of the ideas here reinforce the notion that you should not silo your content. Rather, sprinkle it freely across any of your platforms. It's important to think like a publisher, and leverage any publishing platforms you've created.
Read more here.