Monday, November 28, 2016

How to Translate Your Vision Into Concrete Actions

How do you translate your vision into concrete actions your people can identify with and get excited about? Here are seven proven techniques for building a solid team.
One of the most insightful tips I [Nido Qubein] learned about leading others is that people do things for their reasons, not for your reasons or for mine. So the goals, the plan of action and the strong conviction have to be communicated in a way that directly answers the question, “What’s in it for me?”
7 Ways Leaders Can Inspire Commitment to Goals

Monday, November 21, 2016

Unlocking Entrepreneurial Potential in Women

Women entrepreneurs face significant obstacles to growing and scaling their businesses, especially with accessing capital, education and resources.  They don't always have the same opportunities as men.  This is why Tory Burch started the Tory Burch Foundation, which empowers women entrepreneurs and provides programming designed to level the playing field.

Read more:  TB's Top Business Advice for Women

Screenshot courtesy:  Tory Burch Foundation

Monday, November 14, 2016

Effecting Change and Inspiring Others

Our U.S. election has been simultaneously inspiring and deeply challenging for women.

Chicago Inno reached out to several women founders, tech executives, and organization leaders to hear their reactions after the election. While many expressed frustration and fear, women also expressed resolve to push forward, and the importance of entrepreneurship and tech as a means to equality.

Here's what they had to say.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Entrepreneurs: The New Face of the Uninsured

Read the story of a 58-year-old entrepreneur who, over the past 20 years, had two bouts of breast cancer, is now cancer-free, but due to the change in the health exchange marketplace, is in a position of being wary as to who will insure her next.

Learn more:  Are entrepreneurs the new face of the uninsured?

Monday, October 31, 2016

It Ain't Easy Growing a Business Past the $1 Million Mark

According to Small Business Trends, entrepreneurship among women is on the rise. Women own 36 percent of all businesses. Yet, women get 33 percent less capital for their ventures.  Those numbers are according to the American Express report.

Women who start and run businesses, especially past the $1 million mark, do not let roadblocks get in the way.

Learn more:  The Truth About Women-Owned Business

Monday, October 24, 2016

How to Overcome Your Biggest Challenges

There are three (possibly four) primary lessons for small-business growth.  It starts with how to stay in business and revitalize the communities around you.  In addition:
  1. Know your numbers
  2. Engage in smart marketing.
  3. Ask for help.
Read more:  Robert Herjavec's 3 Lessons for Small-Business Growth

Monday, October 17, 2016

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

You're a CEO.  How do you decide whether to give an employee a raise or lay them off?  The article below reveals the arithmetic companies typically use to access employees' value.  Just remember, value and compensation are inextricably connected.

Read more:  I'm a CEO -- Here's How I Decide Whether to Give You a Raise or Lay You Off

Monday, October 10, 2016

In Building a Business, Keep It Honest

Jessica Alba (pictured), founder of The Honest Company, may have earned her first fame and fortune on TV and in blockbuster films over the past decade, but her true talent seems to lie in building a business.

Unilever started to express interest in buying The Honest Company, Alba’s five-year-old purveyor of plant-based diapers, organic dishwashing detergent and other “green” household products, but ended up acquiring Alba's rival Seventh Generation for as much as $700 million.

But the fact a multinational conglomerate would consider buying Honest is being cheered as a victory for women entrepreneurs. After all, Alba and her company may have turned down a 10-figure offer for their baby.

Read more:  Billion dollar baby:  Jessica Alba's Honest Company is her real entrepreneurial star vehicle

Monday, October 03, 2016

Where the U.S. Candidates Stand on Business Ownership Issues

Karen Kerrigan (pictured), president & CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, says:
"Entrepreneurs are critical to getting the economy back on a strong growth track, and successfully starting and growing a business is an important path that helps individuals achieve financial security and prosperity. Small businesses are responsible for the bulk of job creation, and their innovation and dynamism is what makes our economy so unique from the rest of the world." 
In the article below, she outlines the candidate's known or new positions on taxes and tax reform, health care reform and Obamacare, regulation and regulatory reform, trade, immigration, and energy.

Read more:  So, where do the candidates stand on small business issues?

Monday, September 26, 2016

Why Diverse Teams Perform Better

According to Harvard Business Review, "diversity — both inherent (e.g., race, gender) and acquired (experience, cultural background) — is associated with business success."

Find out why.  Diverse Teams Feel Less Comfortable -- and That's Why They Perform Better

Monday, September 19, 2016

Follow Your Heart For Your Next (Ad)venture

Birchbox co-CEO Hayley Barna (pictured) decided to walk away from the influential beauty-subscription-box startup that she cofounded in 2010 (she remains on the company’s board).  Why? She says:
"I loved it, but it turned out the beauty industry is not my lifelong passion. It’s [exploring] innovative business models."
You never know where your next adventure will take you.  Follow your heart.

Read:  Birchbox Cofounder Hayley Barna On New Ventures, Glamping, and Her Filthy Fridge

Monday, September 12, 2016

13th Annual WPO Chicago Summit a HUGE Success

We were delighted to have the following speakers at our 13th Annual WPO Chicago Summit held on Thursday, September 8th and hosted by Foley & Lardner.
  • Paul Leinwand, PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory
  • Sandy Marsico, Sandstorm Design
  • Joanna Sobran and Karen Burneister, MXOtech
This year's theme was Create a Winning Business Strategy and all speakers knocked it out of the park on substance and delivery.

Thank you to all who participated and until next year's Summit, keep growing!

Photo credit:  ©Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.

Monday, September 05, 2016

From Homelessness to Running a Multimillion Dollar Enterprise

For more than a year Arlan Hamilton (pictured) had been pursuing her dream of starting a venture capital fund focused on female, minority, and LGBT entrepreneurs. But she realized early on that it is tough to get a fund going when you don't have any money to invest.

For months, she'd been homeless, making ends meet in whatever away possible, when she finally got the oxygen she needed:
"I'm in," read the text from Susan Kimberlin, a tech veteran who made a name for herself at Salesforce and PayPal. Kimberlin was ready to bet on Hamilton to bring more diversity to tech--and her check was the lifeline Hamilton needed to get Backstage Capital up and running.
Read more:  How This Woman Went From Homelessness to Running a Multimillion-Dollar Capital Fund

Monday, August 29, 2016

More Women of Color Are Starting Businesses

It's time for all women to see themselves in a new light.  Consider the following:
For every 10 women-owned businesses launched since 2007, eight were started by women of color, according to the 2016 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report. In the past nine years, there’s been a 137% increase in Latina-owned businesses, a larger rise than that among any other demographic group in the U.S., the report found. (3.5 million women-owned businesses were founded during that period, according to the report, compared to 1.6 million firms owned by men.)
Read more:  Why More Women of Color Than Ever Are Starting Their Own Businesses

Monday, August 15, 2016

Reshaping the Contemporary Global Economy

The drive to produce more women-owned enterprises is not just to develop women from an economic perspective, but the bigger picture of reshaping the contemporary global economy. This is the case for South Africa.
“Women are underestimated powerhouses of an economy. This is not a fact that is relevant only to South Africa, but it is a global phenomenon. South Africa needs to not only build entrepreneurship, but to encourage and develop female business owners. 
WPO operates four vibrant chapters in South Africa managed by Anni Bodington (bottom) and Miranda Isaakidis (top).  We are well on the path of helping women business owners grow there.

Learn more:  Small Business Friday aims to produce more women-owned enterprises

Monday, August 08, 2016

Pathways to Success

According to Javier Palomarez, President and CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, women are leading in corporate America, not only in title or position, but also through collaborative, purposeful actions that influence the state of women in America and around the world. When it comes to commerce, it’s clear that women are good for business.

Here's a look at a few (e.g., one is Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox, pictured) who are changing the landscape of corporate America for the better.

Read:  10 of the Most-Influential Women in Corporate America

Monday, August 01, 2016

How To Bring Your Best Selves to Work

If you haven't discovered HBR Press at Harvard Business, now's the time to take a moment to learn about their Insight Center, “Building Resilience."  They explore how you can bring your best selves to work and how you match the demands on your time with your ambitions to succeed.

Tin addition, they look at motivation, work-life balance, and knowing when you're approaching your burnout thresholds.  All good and important stuff.

Here's a sampling on some of the articles featured at "Building Resilience:"
  1. 5 Ways to Boost Your Resilience at Work
  2. Resilience Is About How You Recharge, Not How You Endure
  3. Battling the Physical Symptoms of Stress

Monday, July 25, 2016

Innovative and Tenacious Women Entrepreneurs

In addition to WPO members the world over, there are other innovative and tenacious women entrepreneurs.  The producers of ABC’s hit business reality show Shark Tank hunted down 12 of them below who are under the age 30 who’ve pitched on the show. They all share a talent for finding niches of unmet needs and an unabated drive to succeed.

Take a look.  If they are not already WPO members, they will be, soon.

12 Of The Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs Under 30 from Shark Tank

Monday, July 18, 2016

Are You a Good Listener?

If I were to make a bet with you and ask whether you are a good listener with my bet placed on you not being a good listener, who would win?  That's not a trick question.

Most people when asked whether they are a good listener typically say "yes."

But, according to Harvard Business Review, here's how you really access whether you are a good listener.

Read more:  What Great Listeners Actually Do

Now, tell me, who would have won our bet :-)?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Businesses Owned by African-American Women Are Soaring

The number of businesses owned by African-American women in the United States has been soaring, according to a new government report.
In fact, the number of such [referencing several different business owners in the San Jose, CA area] businesses in the United States has more than tripled since 1977 to 1.9 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2012 Survey of Business Owners, released last December. Of those, about 12,000 are in the Bay Area counties of Santa Clara, Alameda and San Francisco. Few other groups of minority women are starting businesses at a faster clip, according to the report, which is updated every five years.
Black female entrepreneurs are determined to fill a neglected niche and choosing to invest in themselves.

Learn more:  Black women take lead in starting new businesses

Monday, July 04, 2016

WPO Has Been Leaning In Together Forever

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, after encouraging working women everywhere to lean in, now wants you to lean in together.

Sheryl and her LeanIn.Org nonprofit's newest campaign, Together Women Can, is dedicated to women helping other women in the workplace.

Note:  The Women Presidents' Organization has been helping women business owners lean in, work together, and grow businesses for more than a decade.

Read more:  Sheryl Sandberg's new message to women:  'Lean In Together'

Screenshot courtesy:'s Together Women Can

Monday, June 27, 2016

Women Make Significant Contributions in Our World

Women have been starting businesses at a higher rate than men during the past 20 years.
Forecasts indicate that by 2018, there will be more than 9.72 million new small business jobs created and women are expected to create more than half of them. This is a remarkable increase since 2010, when women-owned businesses created only 16 percent of U.S. jobs.
Our friend and colleague, Dr. Sharon Hadary (pictured), former executive director of the Center for Women's Business Research, said that successful women business owners tend to share some characteristics that set them apart.

To find out what those characteristics are, visit:  Women business owners:  What sets them apart?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

What Fathers Teach Us

Does father know best?  I'd like to think so.  In honor of fathers celebrating Father's Day, we feature nine things CEOs and business leaders learned from dads.

Read more:  Nine Business Leaders Share the Best Lessons They Received From Their Fathers
My own father taught me to always be myself and to stand up for myself, which would teach people how to treat me.
What did you learn from your father?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Dr. Marsha Firestone Helps You Get to the Next Level in Business

How do you reinvent yourself?  Keep your team motivated?  Get to the next level with your business?  Dr. Marsha Firestone, founder and President of the Women Presidents' Organization has your back.
Dr. Firestone [as we know her] is a visionary who works tirelessly to bring together the best minds to inspire the members. She is very passionate about the quality of the organization and what it delivers.
Read:  Women Entrepreneurs Find Their Place Thanks to Dr. Marsha Firestone

Monday, June 06, 2016

How Safe Is Your Business?

Is there a straight line to success?  According to Harry Red, not quite. He says:

Just like on the Titanic, look out the window and you will spot icebergs, dead ahead. Tough problems which can deplete your time, energy and capital.

What do you struggle with?  See if it falls into these three buckets:
  1. Hiring the right team.
  2. Picking the right priorities.
  3. Serving the right customers.
Find out how to tackle some of these challenges here:  How Safe Is Your Small Business From These 3 Icebergs?

Monday, May 30, 2016

Philly Is Open to Women Business Owners

According to a new report published by Small Business Trends, Philadelphia is a top city for women entrepreneurs. Small Business Trends finds Philadelphia among the top cities for women entrepreneurs.
There are about 40,906 women-owned companies in Philadelphia, according to the report, primarily in health care, construction, technology and staffing services.
Learn more:  Philly is a top city for women entrepreneurs:  Small Business Trends Report  Are you based in Philly?  Consider WPO membership, for we have a chapter in Philadelphia.

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Q&A with Christina Ochs, President of Corporation for Interest Rate Management

Our very own WPO Chicago member Christina Ochs (pictured), President of Corporation for Interest Rate Management (CIRM), a Chicago-based advisory company, is interviewed by Real Estate Finance and Investment (REFI).
Ochs gives some excellent insight into the advisory company’s business of working with real estate developers and corporate borrowers to mitigate interest rate risk since 1981 and explains how it functions as an extension of its clients’ treasurer or chief financial officer functions. 
Read:  Q&A:  Christina Ochs, Corporation for Interest Rate Management (requires free trial registration)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Do You Assign More Tasks to More Competent Employees?

According to The Atlantic's, "Being a Go-Getter Is No Fun," people do, in fact, assign more tasks to those they perceived as more competent.
In a survey, participants read statements about a fictional employee “Sam[Sally]”—different groups read different statements about Sam[Sally] indicating how much self-control he[she] had (self-control was used as a proxy for competence). When Sam[Sally] was presented as someone with great self-control, participants expected much more of Sam’s[Sally's] performance at his[her] manufacturing job. In a separate experiment, undergrads were asked to delegate essays for proofreading to other students with varying levels of self-control. Unsurprisingly those with more self-control ended up with more work assigned to them.
Read more:  Being a go-Getter Is No Fun -- The Atlantic

The lesson to learn from this article?  If someone is doing more than his or her fair share, compensate him or her for it. If not, he or she may ultimately leave and seek recognition elsewhere.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Tips On Starting and Growing a Business

Several hundred women who've launched their own businesses gathered at Manhattan's new One World Trade Center for the Women's Entrepreneur Festival, and co-founded six years ago by angel investor Joanne Wilson and NYU tech professor Nancy Heckinger.  The following are some of the best tips from the female entrepreneurs at the event.
  • Show people why the world needs your company. 
  • Know when to say no while growing your business. 
  • Sell people on your vision — but also on yourself. 
  • Flip your thinking about setbacks. 
  • Use copycats to your advantage. 
  • Use your passion to get through the hard times. 
Read the article:  6 Things Women Should Know About Starting a Business

Monday, April 25, 2016

Factors to Consider Before Starting a Business

According to SCORE, there are currently 9.1 million woman-owned small businesses employing 7.9 million people and generating $1.4 trillion in annual revenue.
From creating jobs to making capital investments and contributing to our local community, women entrepreneurs are an incredible force in today’s economy. As the number of women-owned businesses grows, there are more opportunities for women to succeed in business ventures today than ever before.
Before you start your business, answering the four questions outlined in the following article will make the process smoother, less stressful, and go a long way towards ensuring your business thrives.

Read more:  Four tips for women opening a small business

Monday, April 18, 2016

Women-Owned Businesses Thriving

According to the, between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned firms nationwide increased 45 percent, compared to just a 9 percent increase among all businesses. Nebraska saw a 34.4 percent growth in women-owned firms over the past nine years, placing it 23rd among all states for growth in that area. Nebraska also saw a 12 percent growth in women-owned firm revenue between 2007 and 2016, placing it 46th among all states.

That's why Christy Nelson decided last year to start her own craft studio, one of the first places she looked was at her neighborhood’s business district just west of Union College. A consignment clothing shop had recently closed its doors, and though the retail space was larger than she needed, Nelson decided to consider it.

She opened her shop, Lincoln Craft Studio at 4720 Prescott Ave., in March, making her the newest addition to a business district that has largely become defined by the many female business owners who call it home -- the business district just west of Union College.

Read the entire article:  Enclave of women-owned businesses thriving in College View

Screenshot:  Megan Hasselbalch, owner of Paper Kite (photo credit:  Kristin Streff/Journal Star)

Monday, April 11, 2016

WPO 19th Annual Conference in Baltimore a Huge Success!

©2016 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
The WPO 19th Annual Conference in Baltimore 2016 was a huge success.  The above photo captures the closing ceremony acknowledging all the WPO staff on a stage.  Big thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make the WPO conference a winner, including Betty Hines and her chapter members!

Next year's conference will be held in Orlando, Florida May 4-6, 2017.  Mark your calendar now.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Scaling Your Business For Growth

©Women Presidents' Organization.  All rights reserved.
According to the Women Presidents' Organization, addressing business growth in a highly systematic and strategic way is an important consideration for today's successful women-led and owned companies.

"Scaling for Growth" is the theme of the 2016 Women Presidents' Organization Annual Conference in Baltimore, MD on April 7 – 9 at the Baltimore Waterfront Marriott. From growing a brand to effective crisis management and the power of disruptive business ideas, the three-day conference offers total immersion in important aspects of scalable growth.

I'll be there.  Will you?

Read more:  Successful Women Entrepreneurs From Around the World Focus On How to Scale Their Businesses For Growth

Monday, March 28, 2016

Step Away

Most business owners want to grow their businesses. But for that to happen, the person at the helm has to be able to step away and know things will run smoothly while they are gone.
Decision-making can’t be totally dependent on one person, as that person may not always be in the capacity to make the best decisions.
What's a business owner to do?  Develop a process and be systematic about it.  After all, you want to not only scale your business for growth but also be able to take a vacation once in a while!

Read:  Scale Your Business:  How to Systematize for Success

Monday, March 21, 2016

Two WPO Chicago Rockstars

The Edward Lowe Foundation rocks but not just because they feature some of our WPO Chicago members on their website.  (Yes, that's nice too!)  Rather, it's because they offer a wonderful program for second-stage business owners that helps them create empowering workplaces.

Below are two recent Rockstar interviews.  One on Alison Gutterman (top left; Jelmar) and the other on Michelle Vondrasek (Von Technologies).

•  On the same wavelength:  Von Technologies
•  Green, clean dynasty:  Jelmar LLC

Monday, March 14, 2016

Women Making a Dent in the Universe

Below are five (5) unstoppable female entrepreneurs making their dents on the world.  If they are not already a WPO member, they should be.
  1. Sophia Amoruso (pictured), founder of Nasty Gal
  2. Katia Beauchamp, co-founder of Birchbox
  3. Hayley Barna, co-founder of Birchbox
  4. Erica Nicole, founder and CEO of YFS Magazine
  5. Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest
Read more here.

Photo credit:  Sophia Amoruso of Nasty Gal Facebook

Monday, March 07, 2016

Meet the Millennipreneur

According to the 2016 BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report, successful women entrepreneurs are not only matching their male counterparts – in several ways, they’re outperforming them.

About the report:
Conducted among 2,600 entrepreneurs based in 18 countries, in Asia, Europe, and the United States, the study led by Scorpio Partnership reveals the emergence of a new generation of entrepreneurs under 35, "The Millennipreneurs."
Read the entire article:  Women Entrepreneurs Are 'More Ambitious and Successful' Than Men

Monday, February 29, 2016

Do CEOs Need to Use Social Media?

According to a Fast Company article, more than 60% of Fortune 500 CEOs have zero social media presence. That may be a problem.  But what about CEOs of privately owned businesses? Your guess is as good as mine but the article below states:
Social media is where your customers are—shouldn’t you be there, too?
Yes, Even CEOs Need To Use Social Media -- And They Need to Do It Well

Monday, February 22, 2016

Together Everyone Achieves More

Is it possible for a multimillion-dollar woman business owner to learn something from Taylor Swift (pictured)?  In the article below, the author discusses six things women entrepreneurs can learn from Taylor Swift.

1.  She makes it her own
2.  Always on her A-game
3.  Create a custom experience
4.  Backed by a SQUAD
5.  Collaborate
6.  Haters gonna hate ...
    As for No. 4 -- Backed by a SQUAD:
    Yes, you can go at it alone but that's no fun. At all.  Especially if you own an online business, where you work from home. What we do know is:  Together Everyone Achieves More.
    I can't help but think that's where the Women Presidents' Organization comes in handy too.  We serve as the SQUAD -- helping women business owners stay on top their A-Game and be the best business owners possible.

    Read more:  Six Things Modern Women Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Taylor Swift

    Monday, February 15, 2016

    Calling All Sensational Women Business Owners

    If you are not yet a member of the Women Presidents' Organization, now is your time to join.  Our annual conference is coming up in Baltimore April 7-9th (2016).
    The conference encourages WPO members to share business strategies and experience with other successful women from all over the world, as well as learn from interactive seminars and speakers. Additionally, it will provide potential members who qualify a unique opportunity to experience the impact the WPO has on women business owners professionally and personally.
    Discover whether you pre-qualify for WPO here.  If you do, complete the application, and join us at the conference!

    See you there!

    Monday, February 08, 2016

    Starting Your Own Business? Plow Ahead With Strong Support

    When  Jennifer Windsor, the CEO of Women for Women International, a nonprofit that works directly with women who are isolated and displaced in post-war regions of the world, was asked what advice she has for women launching their own businesses, she said it’s important to plow ahead — with the right type and amount of support:
    Go for it! Surround yourself with people who will support you and encourage you to keep going. Be prepared to work harder than you ever thought possible but always remember what inspired you in the first place.
    And when you get the to the one-million dollar mark in revenues with your business (if it is service-based), the Women Presidents' Organization is just the support you will need so you will never feel alone with your challenges and can grow at a fast clip.

    Read more:  Advice for Women Business Owners

    Monday, February 01, 2016

    Women Are Strong Tech Users

    Women control $20 trillion of annual consumer spend in the U.S. What's more, women are strong tech users—outnumbering men on all major social media sites (except LinkedIn), for instance. It's safe to say that women are spending at least a sizable chunk of their purchasing power on tech products. So it makes sense to look at who's designing them.

    It's a simple answer:  Men.

    Many people and organizations have spent a lot of time pushing girls toward computer science degrees and into coding bootcamps, advocating for more women in technical roles, and trying to improve the diversity in the industry's upper ranks.

    Find out the three biggest challenges facing women in the technology world, which includes the one about who happens to be designing tech products.

    Read:  What Closing The Gender Gap in Tech Would Mean Outside the Industry

    Monday, January 25, 2016

    How to Foster Creativity at Your Business

    Is there a business out there that doesn't want to be more creative or innovative?  How can you make creativity a way of life?

    In the article below that I authored for the Import and Export site, I talk about six ways to tap into a bountiful source of creativity that might be right in front of you.  And, yes, I also cover how to make creativity a way of life.

    Read the entire article:  From Chaos to Creativity:  How to Foster Creativity at Your Business

    Monday, January 11, 2016

    How to Expand Your Business Globally Without Abandoning Your Roots

    In the article below, I talk about the importance of growth for a business, how to focus on one or two influential cores within a business and why you shouldn’t go after every hot thing that comes across your desk.

    Note:  This article was originally published on the Import and Export site where I serve as an Expert.

    Expand Your Business Globally Without Abandoning Your Roots

    Monday, January 04, 2016

    The More Ads You Do Online, the Less Newsworthy It Becomes

    As we surf the Web, we get hit with ad after ad -- whether it be videos that pop up and play automatically or newsletters that force you to sign up before you can continue reading an article.  As one reader of the article featured below comments:  "I stop visiting sites that cross the boundary of reasonable on advertisement, but even the reasonable sites are losing their minds."

    What's the future hold for the Web?  Find out but I'll give you a hint:  More ads will migrate from web-dependent publishers to platforms (e.g., Facebook and LinkedIn).  Something to think about strategically for your business in terms of where you put your marketing dollars in 2016.

    This Was the Year the Media Started Doubting the Web (via WIRED)