Tag-Archive for ◊ strategy ◊

• Monday, December 16th, 2013

Five Valuable Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Beyoncé

Beyoncé's surprise CD release holds 5 valuable lessons for entrepreneurs. Photo Credit: Invision for Parkwood Entertainment

Whether or not you like Beyoncé or her music, she has proven, yet again, that she is at the top of her game and a stellar marketing magnate.  The singer stunned music industry insiders and her fans alike with her surprise fifth studio CD release with no fanfare last Friday, and in the process, has taught entrepreneurs five valuable lessons they can employ, whether they run empires, or are just getting started. The singer’s self-titled compilation enjoyed the highest sales of a debut on iTunes in the company’s history, with more than 600,000 units sold within three days of the release.

Innovation is key

Mrs. Carter has shown us how innovation – approaching situations, projects, and challenges with a fresh eye and a bit of creativity – can help unleash ideas
that, if they are good ones implemented at the right time, can propel businesses and brands to the next level of success, or awareness.

Being stagnant is no fun for those in charge of running a business. Ideas don’t flow, and frustration ensues. What we can learn from Beyoncé in her evolutionary approach to her career is that innovation never goes stale, no matter how established you are in your industry.

Know and Respect Your Brand

If you followed comments in the Twitterverse about Beyoncé’s CD release, many people – including her colleagues in entertainment – opined that she is the only established artist who could take such a nontraditional, yet aggressive, risk and succeed.

A huge part of the decision to use iTunes as the conduit for her new music, I assume, was greatly influenced by Beyoncé knowing and respecting her own brand. When you know that your product or service is one that appeals to your target audience, and your brand is appealing to your followers, customers, or constituency, it gives you latitude to explore creative ways to share new products or services. As the adage goes, confidence is key. If you are confident about your brand, others will often take you
seriously, even if your company is relatively unknown.

Risk Can Be Gratifying

Most of us are averse to extreme risk in growing or expanding business opportunities, or in some cases, decrease or redefine products or services offered. Taking a risk, after all, can mean lost revenue, staff reduction, or unfavorable feedback from customers or strategic alliances. As in financial investment, a certain level of risk is a necessary element in eventually reaping a big reward.

Even for an established artist like Beyoncé, a surprise CD release in a unique format was a very risky move, but she  has proven that taking chances, research, preparation, and a stellar work ethic combined are the hallmarks of a successful entrepreneur. Whether or not the the end result is a roaring success, such as getting your product in a store that typically wouldn’t carry it, or launching a social media campaign that nets thousands of loyal customers, risk can help reduce the fear that keeps business owners and company decision-makers from evolving.

Plus, taking a risk and assessing its impact can be helpful in determining if timing, resources, or staffing influenced the outcome. Then, use that data to
retool the risk and try again, hopefully, with more success if it doesn’t go according to plan the first time.

Don’t Be Consumed By Public Opinion

In an age where people can berate you on social media, it takes a tough person to ignore the comments, harsh criticism, and opinions and get on with it. Without uttering a word, Beyoncé has let the recording industry and the world know that she is not consumed by what critics, or even her own record label, think of her music, and ultimately, the songstress’ strategy for how she wanted to distribute her music.

Great ideas or novel concepts aren’t always understood or appreciated, even though our guts, research, or soft promotions have told us otherwise. Hearing objections to our ideas, or being criticized because the time isn’t right, people don’t get the concept, or the idea has never been done before by the company, can influence our courage to boldly make the move anyway.

Feedback is essential from customers, strategic alliances, and collaborators; however, if harsh criticism is the sole consideration in deciding whether or not to move forward with an idea, you may need to ignore the contrarians and implement it anyway. Who knows? It could be the next Facebook, Amazon.com, or Trader Joe’s.

 

Keep Your Mouth Shut

I can only imagine how hard it was for Beyoncé to keep this historic entertainment move a secret. Confidentiality agreements aside, this is probably my favorite lesson from the songstress.

How many entrepreneurs have had ideas hijacked by people because they talked too much about their plans before all of the details were
in place and established in a way that no other person could lay claim to the concept?

While Beyoncé may not have worried about competition as the primary reason for keeping mum about the visual concept CD, great ideas
implemented at the right time can mean a financial bonanza, or priceless media coverage. She will undoubtedly enjoy both as the momentum continues.

I am sure that other entertainers are taking notes and learning from Beyoncé’s innovative and creative approach to her career, which may
influence how digital music as a primary CD release platform is used in the future. Ultimately, Beyoncé’s fearless – and lucrative – move is a lesson for
all business owners to take notice of and create their own unique ways of promoting their brand, services, and products.

 

DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that highlights information on business, entrepreneurship, careers and the workplace, health, community, and women’s issues. Any content or advice dispensed through Ask The Strategist is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. All content is the property of Ask The Strategist and affiliated companies unless otherwise noted. We occasionally address questions from our readers and subscribers in posts. Send your question or conundrum  via video or regular email to ask@ksgsc.com. All submissions become the property of Ask The Strategist. Names and other identifying information may be changed to protect the person asking for advice.

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• Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Prosperity, Opportunity, and Freedom

1963 March on Washington, Wiki Media Commons

At 3:00 p.m. today, bells rang across the country to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the historic March on Washington, DC, and the stirring I Have a Dream speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Half a century ago, marchers flocked to the Nation’s Capitol to rally for civil rights, including jobs and economic opportunity.

Many still debate if the quest for the American Dream is reasonable, or attainable. Fifty years ago, despite challenges that impeded progress at the time, hopeful marchers believed fervently that all should have access to the pursuit of the dream,  in the workplace and beyond. While many meaningful strides have been made since the historic gathering in Washington, DC, there remain hurdles to scale. Women account for only 16% of corporate board leadership positions in Fortune 500 companies (source: Catalyst). Sixteen percent of the population - almost 50,000,000 people - live in poverty (source: U.S. Census Bureau), and, while the nation’s overall unemployment rates have decreased, almost 24% of teenagers are out of jobs (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Let us all continue to ring the bells of prosperity, opportunity, and freedom in our own lives by committing to:

  • Proactively seek opportunities to cultivate skills that bolster or benefit our professional expertise
  • Celebrate those who fought for progress during the Civil Rights movement and vow to make a difference for good in our individual communities
  • Enthusiastically mentor a teen or Tween and help him/her prepare for internships and career opportunities
  • Courageously confront barriers that block your progress, whether internal or external
  • Consistently and positively use skills, talents, and abilities to gain workplace promotion or establish a business

How will you pursue prosperity, opportunity, or freedom in your own life? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Related:

Declare Your Own Independence

New Year, New You

DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that highlights information on business, entrepreneurship, careers and the workplace, health, community, and women’s issues. Any content or advice dispensed through Ask The Strategist is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. All content is the property of Ask The Strategist and affiliated companies unless otherwise noted, and may not be reproduced without express written permission from the author(s).

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• Thursday, July 04th, 2013

Declare Your Own Independence

Today, we celebrate the brave efforts of our forefathers, who fought tirelessly for America’s freedom. Make a pledge to assert your own independence in your professional lives:

1. Proactively seek opportunities to grow: Desired change will never come to anyone who sits around waiting for it. In order to make a career or professional transition, start a business, or get a promotion, one has to work for it. Pledge to do one thing this week to help you grow, such as sign up for an online course in accounting, read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, take a Spanish class, or consider becoming an entrepreneur.

2. Update your resume: Always be at-the-ready with a resume that you can tweak for a particular position. Having an easily personalized resume for a job opportunity in which you are interested decreases the amount of time it takes to submit the finished product, and can reduce the stress that usually accompanies developing a resume.

3. Create a circle of influence: Create, or widen, your circle of mentors and supporters who can give you sage advice, listen when you want to share ideas with them, or just lend you a shoulder when you ware weary.

Are you declaring your independence today? Let us know how by emailing Ask@ksgsc.com.

 

DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that highlights information on business, entrepreneurship, careers and the workplace, health, community, and women’s issues. Any content or advice dispensed through Ask The Strategist is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. All content is the property of Ask The Strategist and affiliated companies unless otherwise noted, and may not be reproduced without express written permission from the author(s).

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• Friday, April 12th, 2013

 

The Power of No

Last week, Dr. Oz had a physician, Dr. Sue Varma, on his show who detailed the health challenges that befall certain personality types (What does your personality reveal about your health?). For example, Type C folks often bottle up their feelings, and potentially shave years off their lives because they refuse to say no to others because they want to please them. Saying yes to people or situations that warrant a “no,” can also have an impact beyond health.

I am an unabashed optimist who believes in embracing opportunity, which usually comes from saying yes to something: a last-minute speaking engagement, guest blog post, or a chance to submit an article. The problem is that we sometimes say yes to others, when we would gain more power (personal and professional) from just saying no.

Recently, I had two opportunities, one professional and the other personal, presented to me. Let me address the work-related one, which would have allowed me to practice my professional strengths. There is no doubt that I would have enjoyed my work. I ultimately decided not to pursue the opportunity because my intuition signaled that it would interfere with other professional opportunities that may have presented themselves after committing to the engagement.  Making the decision to decline was initially a hard one, but one that I did not regret because another, better opportunity came along one week later.

I am not suggesting that you turn down opportunities, willy-nilly, that could potentially lead to great experiences.

The point of the Power of No is that when we take time to think decisions through thoroughly, peacefully, and with a sense of clarity, we sometimes realize that saying yes to something that we should really decline could interfere with better opportunities that are more beneficial for us.

That’s the Power of No.

 

DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that highlights information on business, entrepreneurship, careers and the workplace, health, community, and women’s issues. Any content or advice dispensed through Ask The Strategist is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. All content is the property of Ask The Strategist and affiliated companies unless otherwise noted, and may not be reproduced without express written permission from the author(s).

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• Monday, September 03rd, 2012

 

September is Wealth & Wellness Month

30 ways to improve your wealth and wellness

Initially, we declared September 2012 Wealth & Wellness month in honor of our upcoming summit for college students to help them develop positive strategies for creating optimal wealth (career planning, exploring entrepreneurship, and reducing debt) and health (stress reduction, positive emotional health, and healthy relationships); however, I’ve decided to issue a clarion call to adults and students, alike, to use September to actively reflect upon and take action to improve access to wealth and healthy living.
So, here’s a list of 30 things you can do each day during Wealth & Wellness month in September:

1. Swap out one sugary food for a healthy one during breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack time

2. Make an appointment for a dental cleaning

3. Organize a girlfriends (or guys!) group walk, hike, yoga, or Dance Trance class

4. Pack a homemade picnic and invite your beloved to dine with you

5. Go stargazing with a friend or spouse

6. Update your resume and ask a mentor or friend to review it

7. Open a savings account

8. Make an appointment for a pedicure or manicure

9. Have your blood pressure checked

10. Join a support group if you have lost a loved one recently

11. Introduce your child to a new vegetable (roasted carrots and red bell pepper are healthy, sweet, and delicious)
12. Engage a mentor to help you build a business

13. Pay off a credit card (start with the one with the lowest balance)

14. Talk to your child, Godchild, or young family members about money

15. Donate gently worn professional attire to Dress for Success

16. Talk to an experienced, licensed financial planner about investing in stocks, Roth IRAs, or CDs

17. Draft a will or living will

18. Get a mammogram

19. Tell your loved ones you love them

20. Eat dinner with the family, at the table, and not in front of the television

21. Disengage social media for 1 day

22. Donate your time or money to a worthy cause

23. Make an appointment to have your hearing or vision tested

24. Spend quality time with your pet(s)

25. Do 1 good thing for 1 person today

26. Try a vegetarian meal

27. Put on sunscreen – use an appropriate SPF

28. Substitute your drink full of spirits with a non-alcoholic option

29. Take an elderly parent or neighbor to the doctor

30. Tell someone else about Wealth & Wellness month. Better yet, share this list with others.

How have you celebrated Wealth & Wellness month? Let us know if any of these suggestions worked for you or your family, by emailing us, or comment below.

 

DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that addresses business, career, workplace and etiquette issues. Any advice dispensed by Ask The Strategist is purely for informational and entertainment purposes. Take the advice and opinions at your own risk – and betterment! Follow @KesiStribling or @CareerConnectDC on Twitter. Post your questions/email your conundrum/send your question via video to ask@ksgsc.com. All submissions become the property of Ask The Strategist. Names and other identifying information may be changed to protect the person asking for advice.

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• Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

 

Workplace Primer for College Students (part II)

In part I of the Workplace Primer for College Students, we detailed the importance of tailoring the job search and preparing a flawless cover letter or resume. Part II focuses on the interview, specifically what collegiate job seekers should do before, during, and after the meeting with prospective employers.

Prepare for the interview

You're hired! Interview preparation can score big points for your career.

Your cover letter and resume have passed muster and the company you eagerly want to work for has contacted you for an interview. There are several tips to help you prepare for the face-to-face meeting (or telephone screening, as is the trend these days). From selecting an appropriate wardrobe to asking a potential employer the right questions, interview preparation requires a lot of thought – and action.

Look the part: It is essential to select appropriate attire for the interview; and, the accessories that make the outfit, which complete your overall appearance. Ultimately, the interview wardrobe should be professional, and make you blend in, rather than stand out, from the company employees. The reality is that companies want new employees who reflect the current corporate culture, and that includes attire.

Men should wear slacks, a crisp shirt, and matching blazer. Of course, the tie completes the look – not a clip on! Freshly shined shoes and simple accoutrements, such as a watch, sans bling, and conservative cuff links complete the professional look. Interviewees can look stylish, no matter the budget constraints.

Related: professional attire for men

Women do not have to sacrifice style when preparing for the interview.  A modest length and well-fitting (not too tight) skirt or dress is appropriate, with a conservative shirt and blazer. If suiting seems a bit boring, or if the industry has a more relaxed approach to dressing in the workplace, it is okay to pair trousers or a skirt with a cardigan set. Moderate heels or sling backs should be clean and not scuffed. Understated jewelry rounds out the interview outfit.

Related: professional attire for women

Even if the industry usually calls for khakis in the workplace (think technology), you can wear the corporate style once you land the job. For your interview, avoid the casual Friday look.

Women's professional attire on our pinterest page

Research the audience: Knowing one’s audience is imperative. Conduct research about the company in advance, including reviewing the corporate website, Facebook fan page, and Twitter account. Being armed with information about the company helps during the interview. Potential employers will appreciate the initiative, and will view the well-informed candidate as one who possesses a can-do attitude.

Before the interview, practice responses to potential questions that may be asked. Ask a trusted mentor, friend, or family member to conduct a mock interview, and assess your performance. Pay particular attention to the use of fillers when responding to questions  (um, ah, and you know), so that you can avoid them. Record the mock interview, and look at it a few times to improve your delivery. Doing so will help nervous candidates  ace the interview by being ready to talk about tasks undertaken in the current job, or skill sets and special talents that can translate to the job being applied for at the company.

Arrive early for the interview: One of the most important aspects of the interview is arriving on time to the meeting. Even if you’re familiar with the geographic area of the company, identify a preferred and alternate route to get to the interview. If there is an accident, detour, or water main break, taking an alternate route may be the difference between getting to the interview on time, or missing out on the opportunity by being an hour late. Drive to the location, if possible, the same day of the week and time the interview is scheduled, beforehand.

Professional attire for men on our pinterest page

Arrive early (not more than 30 minutes ahead of time), or on time, but never late. Companies often ask candidates to complete applications prior to the interview. Remember, the interview actually begins as soon as you arrive at the location. Be pleasant when speaking to or interacting with anyone in the office. Do not be haughty, put off, overly friendly, or flirt with the staff. By the way, waiting patiently until called in for the interview means no texting, listening to your iPod, or talking on your cell phone with or without your Bluetooth.

Ask the right questions: Be sure to ask at least one question during the interview. It should be one that is of genuine interest and not something that the interviewer has already covered. After the meeting is over, send a thank you note. Conventional thought is that a handwritten note to the interviewer is the way to go, it is also okay to send a brief, error free email thank you note.

Once the company has offered you the job, there are a number of questions to ask, not just those related to salary. Detailed questions include those related to annual and sick leave, retirement contributions by the employer, corporate culture, employee expectations, and other details about the position that may not have come up during the interview (i.e. the position’s funding is contingent upon grant money received).

 

Next: Part III (final) of the Workplace Primer for College Students

© Copyright 2012 Ask The Strategist™

 

DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that addresses business, career, workplace and etiquette issues. Any advice dispensed by Ask The Strategist is purely for informational and entertainment purposes. Take the advice and opinions at your own risk – and betterment! Follow @KesiStribling or @CareerConnectDC on Twitter. Post your questions/email your conundrum/send your question via video to ask@ksgsc.com. All submissions become the property of Ask The Strategist. Names and other identifying information may be changed to protect the person asking for advice.

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• Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

 

What successful people do with the first hour of their workday

How do you begin your day?

ASK THE STRATEGIST: When people conjure up images of successful business moguls, we often envision them waking up in the morning, reaching across a sleeping spouse to check their iPhones, and thus, the power plays begin. Kevin Purdy, blogger for Lifecompany, says that truly successful people take a moment to be reflective, and that surely does not include compulsively checking email first thing in the morning.

 

What successful people do with the first hour of their workday

by Kevin Purdy – Lifecompany – August 22, 2012

How much does the first hour of every day matter? As it turns out, a lot. It can be the hour you see everything clearly, get one real thing done, and focus on the human side of work rather than your task list. Read the entire post>> >

 

Talk back to us: How do you start your day? Tell us in the comments section below.

© Copyright 2012 Ask The Strategist™

 

DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that addresses business, career, workplace and etiquette issues. Any advice dispensed by Ask The Strategist is purely for informational and entertainment purposes. Take the advice and opinions at your own risk – and betterment! Follow @KesiStribling or @CareerConnectDC on Twitter. Post your questions/email your conundrum/send your question via video to ask@ksgsc.com. All submissions become the property of Ask The Strategist. Names and other identifying information may be changed to protect the person asking for advice.

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• Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Dealing with your ‘in the meantime’ malaise

Make good use of your time while climbing that mountain!

It’s pretty hard to focus on the world around us when we are going through a challenging time, including lacking luck in finding a job. Whether it’s a job search, stagnant sales, or any of life’s challenges, we can be heavily burdened by our fear, stress, and uncertainty.

Therefore, I challenge you to alter your way of thinking, embrace the challenge, and be proactive in the meantime. You know, your in the meantime – time spent in your holding pattern until you achieve your goal. So, here are some tips for springing into action, whether you feel like it or not, to endure and thrive during your in the meantime.

1.         Volunteer

If you are looking for a job and having no luck, continue to improve your skill set by identifying volunteer opportunities. You may be involved in your home owner’s association, place of worship, or children’s school lunch volunteer program.

Participate in your high school’s career day, and speak to youth about your career successes and challenges. If the school does not have a career day, start one! You never know if it will lead to a new career opportunity hand delivered to you by a high school alumnus who has an opening at his job that matches your qualifications and interests. Even if it does not, at least you have developed organizational and interpersonal skills planning the career day that you can reflect on your resume.

2.         Improve your community

One of the best ways to shake off the sullenness is to focus on others. Use your energy to help improve your community. Whether hosting a neighborhood watch program with the local police, or encouraging neighbors to participate in a community clean up, your efforts will benefit those around you.

 3.         Educate yourself

Education does not have to be in the form of a four-year degree. You can sign up for a certificate program in your career field, or general interests. Your in the meantime allows for you to participate in a class you never made time to take while you were working, including website design or learning a foreign language. Your leisurely classes can also be an added benefit to your knowledge, skills, and abilities.

4.         Improve yourself

Your in the meantime can lead you to explore ways to improve who you are. There is now time to explore your purpose and connectedness with others. It is a great opportunity to reinstate family dinnertime, reading a book, and building relationships with loved ones.

Developing your In The Meantime Plan

No matter how you choose to make the best of your in the meantime, there are three steps to help you make the best of your decisions: conceptualize, strategize, and implement.

Conceptualize what it is you want to do or pursue, like organize a book drive for the local library or joining a board of directors. What is it you want to do? Is it a benefit to your in the meantime? Next, strategize your approach. Who should you talk to in order to get started? How much time do you want to spend on the in the meantime activity? Finally, implement your plan. It is great to identify positive ways to occupy yourself in the meantime; however, all will be for naught if you do not follow through with your endeavors.

How have you dealt with your in the meantime? Let us know in the comments section.

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• Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Media Training Guidebook

 

I am pleased to announce that yours truly is one of the contributors to the Media Training Guidebook, published by Access Intelligence and PRNews. The article, 4 Strategic Methods for Building Successful Media Relationships, appears in chapter 7, page 183.

Read the announcement

The guidebook, which was released yesterday, features insight on crisis communications, camera-readiness, and engaging the media.

Joining other contributors, including Bank of America, Google, Microsoft, the National Association of Asian Journalists, and more, I am in awe to stand among such giants.

Due to an agreement, I can’t yet release my article to the public (darn those pesky proprietary rules!). As soon as I am able to share, I will impart some of those tips to you.

For those ASK THE STRATEGIST subscribers who are publicists, handle marketing and public relations for your company or organization, or are responsible for media image preparation for your clients, you really should consider getting the Media Training Guide (disclaimer: I get absolutely no royalties from the guidebook for promoting it).

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