Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Women making history and their traits for success.

 Women making history!

If you read about the failures and successes of each woman that made history, you will notice trait similarities among all of them. Reviewing their achievements encourages personal evaluation of ourselves in order to develop the same traits. This can lead to success and potentially develop us into impactful trailblazers.

So what are the traits that make a woman a trailblazer?


People with this trait are not afraid to take risks. Risk is associated with a gamble. With a gamble, there is always a chance that things may not develop the way you planned. To develop this trait, one must understand the need to take a chance and accept that risk. If things do not develop as planned, then one will learn how to improve from their failure. Everyone has an opinion and may even judge others. People with this trait move past the chatter that does not empower them and continue in the direction they are focused on. Fear does not control their decision-making.


Dealing with the unpredictable can cause stress and everyone deals with stress differently. People with this trait understand that everyone deals with stress in their own way. They know the strengths and weaknesses of their team and understand how each of them deals with stress. People with this trait are unwavering by the unpredictable, and accept the challenge to develop solutions.


We always need more knowledge to improve and develop. Gathering knowledge from a diverse group of intellects, who can contribute a mix of skills, knowledge, ideas, and creativity, can lead to positive business outcomes. People with this trait are able to bring together people of different cultural backgrounds, ages, genders, disabilities, religions, sexual backgrounds, and varying levels of professional experience. Bringing together diversity creates a diverse workforce that is essential in encouraging and motivating your team to work together and achieve success.


Having this trait means one is flexible to change. Adaptability opens the mind to new ideas, makes one question the status quo, and helps one embrace future challenges. Those with this trait will develop a plan that encourages change and they will stand strong during the change process.


Developing this trait will help one to tap into their passion and perseverance for long-term goals. Success always comes from passion! Developing this trait will allow one to tap into their resilience in order to see the opportunity versus the limitations.


This is the trait of being persistent and never giving up. Tenacity is the commitment to success because failure is not an option. Developing this trait will strengthen your mindset and enable you to accept rejections. Most leaders possess this trait, because the leader keeps the team going, even when they may want to give up.

We can learn from the women that made history! Their achievements did not come quickly and easily. They took the risk to develop change, even when doubters questioned them. They accepted the unpredictable and developed solutions. They developed a new plan caused by failure. They tapped into their passion which was the fuel for their need to succeed. And they surrounded themselves with a diverse team that provided knowledge that they could use in their decision-making. We are not born with these traits. They must be developed. Developing these traits will empower trailblazers for success and enable them to make an impact and possibly history!

Written by Susan Miller - The Serial Entrepreneur
President and Coach with Steer Business Consulting
President of the Women's Small Business Association

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Taking is easy but giving back is complicated. Why?

So someone said to me last week, "No one cares about your business until you care"

So the phrase above means to me: "how do you expect me to care about your business if you don't care about my business?"

I receive many requests from people asking for things that will help their business. I will gladly consider this because I remember that struggle very clearly. For every person that has helped me during my struggle, I did focus on giving back and helping them. That is the right thing to do.

But nothing frustrates me more than when someone asks for help, and they don't know anything about my business or they don't ask how they can help my business.

Here is my rule for helping other business owners asking for help: If they don't know anything about my business and offer ways to help my business, then I can't help their business.

Don't misinterpret this. It is rewarding to help others even if they cant give back. But there is a difference between TIME OF NEED and BEING STINGY. So I am selective in the charity work I offer others.

So here are some tips to consider when asking others to help your business.
- Research their company!! Learn who their customer is, and come to the table with ways you might be able to help them.

- Identify immediately a common thread to work with to develop a collaborative relationship. Then offer to HELP THEM FIRST, and ask them to consider helping you in exchange.

- If someone asks for you to help their business, then clearly express how they can help you in exchange for the purpose of developing an ongoing working relationship. If you don't ask, then you may not get it.

- If they offer nothing or can't commit to helping your business, then you must consider if you want to invest your valuable time building their business versus yours and how that will impact your business. If you don't want to make that kind of investment that does not help your business, then it is okay to graciously say "NO".

- Invest your time into the person that appreciates collaborative networking. They are out there and they will help your business! If you're going to do business or support a business, do it with someone that is supporting yours.

If someone helps your business, then you SHOULD be working on giving back. That means, if it is not immediate, put it on your task list.

So what does giving back mean?

- Consider using the products or services they offer.
- Give a referral that actually produces business for them.
- Is there any resources their business needs that you can give them?
- Commit to getting them a referral at the next networking event (virtual or in-person)
- Give them a discount or gift them your products or services.
- Allow them to tap into your resources.
- Support and share their endeavors. You can start by sharing their social media posts.
- Leave a positive review for their business.
- Give a "Thank You" gift and say "THANK YOU"

Just an FYI: It is not good business to only contact people when you need something.
Susan Miller - The Serial Entrepreneur Business Development Consultant, Speaker, Small Business Advocate
"We offer SUPPORT that will STEER your business towards SUCCESS!"


Friday, April 10, 2020

Control what you can control during a pandemic.

In my previous blog entry, I mentioned how small business owners need to focus on using their products and services to help those most affected by the pandemic versus hitting hard with sales pitches. 

During a coaching session, I reminded a small business owner of this concept, because he was stressed over the lack of sales and how his social media advertisements were getting little response. I suggested he redirect his focus to help others. So he created "Thank You" gifts for 1st responders, which was his product packed with goodies. Then he encouraged the community to SPONSOR a 1st responder. The 1st responder would receive a "Thank You" gift from the sponsor. 

This concept engaged the community, allowed them to give thanks to others working endlessly during the pandemic, it introduced his company to new customers, put his product in the hands of potential new customers, and helped him to reach his sales goals for the week within 24 hrs. His customers and potential new customers appreciated his time and the convenience he provided to help others. 

This is a time of crisis. Shopping is a luxury that many people may limit themselves during a pandemic. But they will invest in helping others. If you are unable to provide products or services to help those during a crisis, then use your new-found time to strengthen your business so you are ready for the increased flux of business when all of this is done.

This is the time to experiment with new business concepts.
This pandemic has created a new demand for several businesses.  Are you fulfilling the new demand? What does your audience currently need during a crisis? If you are not fulfilling the current demand, then think about developing new products and services for people in crisis. Doing this may carry you long enough until you receive the influx of business. If you are unable to cater to the new demand, then use the time to develop new products and services you never had time to develop. These new updates will be well received by your loyal and potential new customers, through your social media communications. Your competitors are in the same boat as you! You can strengthen your industry by connecting with your competitors and collaborating for the purpose to develop new products and services that will reignite the industry.

This is the time to clean up your dirty little messes in your business. Every business has them! Those weak areas that have low performance. This is the time to evaluate, change, or improve those weak areas. Treat your business as your house. Many of us are getting our homes organized and cleaned during the extra time we have on our hands. We are also getting rid of the clutter. This same mindset should also transfer to your business. Get organized, clean up the mess, and get rid of the things you don't need or that are not working.

This pandemic will come to an end. So during this moment of business pause, prime your business so you're ready for the business above the usual. 

#TheSerialEntrepreneur #SmallBusinessMatters

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

It's not about your business right now!

It's not about your business right now!

People are not working. The mortgage or rent is still due. Car payment and household expenses are due. There is a need to budget and cut back on spending until....when??? It is not clear when this will be over and when things will be back to normal. It is not clear when a paycheck will come, so the past dues continue to grow. There may not be a saving account to tap into, or another option to generate income. Emergency budgeting is creating additional stress as they may need to focus on making sure the family has food. And if there is not enough budget for food, then what? Then add the possibility of getting sick with a potentially life-threatening virus every time you step out of the house.

Sound familiar? If not, then pay attention!

Your audience could be dealing with these stresses. This is the time to stop and listen.

 - How do you think they will respond when you try to sell services or products to them while there are dealing with pandemic stresses? Is shopping online as important as paying the rent? If they have to cut back on spending, is your product or services essential? If they are budgeting and cutting back on spending, have you considered offering, "I understand what you are going through and I can offer a discount to help you out" discount?

 - The pandemic has changed the current demand of your audience. What is the current demand of your audience? Do they need smaller product sizes to carry them through? Options narrowed down help out right now? Do they need a delivery service to reduce shipping expenses? Do they need specific services to help with the stresses they are currently dealing with? Do you offer options that enable them to unwind, forget for the moment, and have fun! With mandatory social isolation, social media is the new norm.

There is no better time to get connected with your audience than through social media! Use the time to provide them with content or education they can benefit from or even entertained. Pay attention to their posts. Can you get a feel for their stresses at the moment? What is important to them right now?

Instead of selling right now, use the time to strengthen your relationship during a time your audience may need some support.

Look for Ways to Help
For example, if you are a financial institution, you might produce content that addresses ways that your audience can save money during this time or how their small business can adapt to decreased customer numbers and purchases. If you sell products, you can provide content on how to make their products last longer during a time they need to budget. You can even do an online PARTY, where everyone comes together to use the products or services they enjoy and have fun at the same time.

If you can't help your audience at the moment, then look for ways to help your community who have been affected by this virus. Right now there are people within the community that is working hard to get ahead of the pandemic. Limited resources keep them beyond the pandemic versus ahead of it, which extends the impact. Can you provide their resources to help them? Can you use your products or services to get them the resources they need? Your customers will appreciate everyone that does their part to help provide resources to those on the pandemic front lines, including your business.

Whether it’s with resources, technology, or skill-set content, ask yourself what you can do to help during this stressful time. This might not be a traditional marketing tactic, but it’s the right thing to do and will be appreciated by your audience. This can help earn their trust, which is important right now. You need to communicate how you’re doing everything possible to give them safety and security.

During this difficult situation, that EVERYONE is going through, you can be sure that people will remember how you treat them now, and how they can feel they can trust you during one of the most stressful times of their life.

#TheSerialEntrepreneur #smallbusinessstronger #RamblingsofanEntrepreneur #SmallBusinessCoaching

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Everyone loves a good story!

We are dealing with people every day as business owners. So human to human connections are important and vital for your business. When people hear your business story, then they hear your purpose.

Developing and telling your company story allows you to connect and interact with your customers, potential investors, and employees. There are several ways to engage with your audiences, but you can engage on a deeper level with your compelling business story that encourages relationships. Your business story is more effective than other marketing strategies because they are memorable and lasting. Your story will build trust and will reassure the customer that you and your business are worth investing in.

When developing your business story, be authentic and consistent with your story. Customers will connect with the truth versus a fabricated story. Transparency gives insight to you being human and you have faced challenges that were not always easy to overcome. You will earn the trust of your customers when you can emotionally connect with them. Your consistency should be shared in all channels of marketing and reflected in your brand. Your business story is the underscore of your online presence.

Here are some tips to develop your compelling business story.

1. Alleviating pain. What encouraged you to start the business? This should be focused on the need of the customer. What makes you wake up each morning? This is not your mission statement. This part of your story should NOT relate to making money, but about prioritizing your customers.

2. Solving problems. What direction are you headed because of the lessons you have learned? Give insight to your outcome.  Provide a hopeful, thought-provoking message with actionable points that compel your audience to connect with your brand.

3. Customer experiences. Allowing customers to be a part of your story will allow you to provide a positive customer experience and build relationships. If you develop ways for them to get involved in your story, then you will keep them engaged. It’s about positive engagement at this point. Ask questions. Ask for their opinions on products and services you offer. Create customer curiosity on your social channels.
Your business story is a vital part of your marketing plan and should not be overlooked. Storytelling is a big voice for start-up and small business owners. There is no better strategy to capture the attention of your audience than your business story that makes your brand stand out. Stop selling and start sharing your values, strengths, and weaknesses. Customers will connect with a REAL HUMAN before a business promotion.

Written by Susan Miller – The Serial Entrepreneur TM.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Challenge yourself to do better and be better!

If it doesn't challenge you, then it won't change you. The change will make you a stronger entrepreneur.

The success of your business will come from how sharp and current you are within your business. Business trends and technology constantly change. So it is important to stay consistent with the changes within your industry by staying active in your business, mentally fit, and current.

When you do these things, it will help to challenge you and keep you competitive. If you become comfortable within your business, then you will lose your competitive edge. If you lose your competitive edge, then your competitors will pass right by you and your customers may follow!

Here are some techniques I use to challenge myself:

1. Hang out with the old and the young. I love learning things from seasoned entrepreneurs because they have made mistakes already! And if they share their experiences with you, then you are receiving a gift that will streamline your efforts! If you hang out with the young, then you will get insight on the newest trends and the newest technology that can help your business. This insight will keep you fresh and new!

2. READ and RESEARCH! Always keep in mind that trends and technology will forever change within your industry. So make time to read from experts within your industry and research the internet for new information in other areas and cities. Being aware of the changes will validate your expertise within your industry, and it will reassure your customers that your business is worth investing in.

3. Ask your customers. Your business was based on the needs of your customers. Have their needs changed? Have you taken the time to ask them? If they appreciate your business, then they will tell you what their consumer needs are.

4. Hire people smarter than you. This will open your eyes to products and services that you may not be offering. We like to think we know it all, but in reality, we do not. Don't be afraid to admit to that, and open yourself to new information and ideas!

Challenging yourself will sharpen your entrepreneurial skills, and strengthen your business. You are the driving force behind your business, and success will come if you continue to challenge yourself.

Monday, August 1, 2016

The "Eye of the Entrepreneur"

There are small business owners and there are entrepreneurs.

Small business owners can successfully run a business and make it profitable.

But an entrepreneur will jump in, develop the business, take a small business to the next level, or restructure the business during adverse times.

I believe that if you don't have the "Eye of an Entrepreneur", then you may not have what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Having the "Eye of an Entrepreneur" means being able to see opportunities, even when they may not be right in front of you.

I have always said to my colleagues, "I see opportunities EVERYWHERE!" 

I was an entrepreneur at the young age of 8. My need to "EAT" pushed me to find a solution. I was hungry, and I needed to find a way to make money to buy food. So my first business venture was selling fruit at the entrance of our neighborhood community, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

A small business owner would buy fruit wholesale, mark up the price of the fruit, and then sell it. Quality fruit, good customer service, and competitive pricing would make this a successful business.

I had no money to buy fruit to resell. So how do I sell fruit with no start up money?

It was not uncommon for residents to have fruit trees growing in their yards in South Florida. I started to take notice to the types of fruit trees growing in my neighbor's yards. I noticed they had: mango, papaya, oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and avocados. I also paid attention to how often the fruit would drop from the tree(s). It was not uncommon for a neighbor to have more than one fruit tree in their yard. Anyone that had fruit tree(s) growing, then had the task of picking up the fruit that had fallen from the tree(s). This became a bigger task if a resident had more than one tree. Rotting fruit in the hot Florida sun is something most people do not want in their yard. I then talked to these neighbors, and offered them the service of "picking up the fallen fruit". I offered this service and tipping was ALWAYS appreciated. The tips I received usually grossed more than minimum wage. This service that I now offered, then provided me with the fruit I needed to sell. My service was offered daily, so I always had fresh, ripe fruit to sell.

So here is an overview of my strategy.

- I offer a daily service of picking up the fallen fruit.
- Receiving tips paid me for this service, and I was fulfilling the need of my neighbors.
- Selling fresh fruit at the entrance of my neighborhood community, then fulfilled the need of my customers, by providing them with convenience and affordable pricing.

Tips + Fruit sales (- cost to operate which was $0) = pure profit

My "eye of an entrepreneur" saw an opportunity to make money, and meet the needs of others.
And that my friends, is the difference between an entrepreneur and a small business owner!

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