Tag-Archive for ◊ tips ◊

• 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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• Monday, December 09th, 2013

Staying productive while snowed-in

You can stay productive while snowed-in today!

Many of us along the Eastern seaboard are stuck inside after a brutal snowfall over the weekend, resulting in slick streets, icy roads, and general weather yuckiness. Sure, we would like to go out and make snow angels with the kids, or catch up on some guilty pleasure TV (cue the Housewives of whatever city), but the truth of the matter is that we still have to work.

So, here are five tips to keep you focused and productive while you are stuck indoors working.

Play first, then work

If you are like me, snow is actually a welcomed friend that I’m happy to see. So, to shake off the excitability and get focused, allow yourself time to revel at the winter wonderland for a few moments, including calling your loved ones to commiserate, and then get your workspace ready and operational. Having satisfied the kid inside of you before getting to work, you can reduce the urge to stray away from work.

Prioritize your day

You probably prioritize work responsibilities anyway, so tweak your agenda to include unanticipated interruptions, scheduling a play date for the kids because school is closed, shoveling the sidewalk, impromptu office teleconferences, and altered project due dates. If you are the most productive early in the morning, work on the most complicated tasks, or the assignments that take the most time to complete, at the beginning of the day.

Give yourself a break

For some people, working solo at home means that they can work nonstop with little interruption. That means progress, right? Sometimes, it can lead to burnout, brain freeze and frustration. So, schedule brief reprieves during your home-day workday. Take a coffee or tea break, make sure you have a bite to eat for lunch, and give those fast fingers a break from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

Stay connected

Staying connected with co-workers and team members while working from home during bad weather creates camaraderie, and keeps you on task. Checking in also helps you stay in touch on project updates, gain management input, and inspire collaboration through trading ideas in a more relaxed environment (your home!) and one-on-one conversations that may not happen during a normal day at work.

In addition, if snowy weather gets you down, staying connected to co-workers can help ease the effects of cabin fever.

Establish a routine and stick with it

Discipline can be tough in the best of circumstances. Staying on task when working alone at home can test your resolve, so it is a good idea to establish a work routine – especially if you anticipate being at home for more than one day – to help you keep on track with expectations from your supervisor, client, and colleagues on your project team.

Do you have any tips that help you productive during a wild weather shut-in? Share in the comment section below, or Tweet us @CareerConnectDC using hashtag #CCSnowDay.

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, November 21st, 2012
Be the reason this Thanksgiving

Be the reason this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is, hands down, my favorite holiday. It’s the one day that most people actually pause collectively to appreciate others – family members, friends, employees, and those who have shown acts of kindness – and spend quality time, often over dinner, to connect with loved ones and associates.

My pastor offers a different view for Thanksgiving 2012. He suggests that in addition to being thankful for life’s blessings, we should strive to be the reason why others give thanks. By giving of ourselves to the needs of others (a kind word, encouragement, selfless action, compliment, etc.), we are taking Thanksgiving to a higher level.

Five things you can do:

  1. Become a mentor to a high school or college student
  2. Babysit for a co-worker who needs a break to do Christmas shopping
  3. Volunteer for an hour at a nonprofit organization whose mission you admire
  4. Invite a Veteran who is just returning from overseas for holiday dinner at your home
  5. Pay one month’s mortgage or rent for someone who recently lost his/her job

On behalf of Ask The Strategist/KSG Strategic Consulting/Career Connect USA, we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving and hope you become the reason why others give thanks!

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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• Sunday, August 12th, 2012

 

Workplace Primer for College Students (Part I of III)

Begin your career the right way!

This week, thousands of students will enter the hallowed halls of colleges across the country. For many, once the excitement of moving into dorms and registering for the requisite classes has subsided, collegians will settle into pursuing job opportunities. Whether a necessity, or a means for generating work experience for their resumes, entering the workforce – from searching for jobs to the on-boarding experience – can be a daunting task for rookie employees.

For college students, there are some key imperatives to help them become successful job seekers:  streamline the job search; create a flawless cover letter and resume; prepare for the interview; ask the right questions before you accept the position; give an award-winning performance at work; and, treasure your mentors and advocates.

 

 

Streamline the job search

Applying for any-old-job is a strategy that can lead to a disappointing workplace experience. Streamlining the job search is the first step in gaining temporary or long-term employment. Job seekers typically visit online job sites first to find opportunities. In addition to surfing popular sites, such as DCJobs.com or Career Builder, there are a number of websites tailored to specific industries. For example, CareerMD is an online career source for physicians and residents looking for jobs in the health care industry. The American Marketing Association job site lists thousands of opportunities in marketing and communications. Another site, the American Institute of Architects, lists architecture opportunities spanning internships to project managers.

Paid jobs, apprenticeships or internships in a desired field, such as technology, marketing, and business, are often advertised at the campus career services office. Recruiters who advertise jobs and internships with career services typically have a pre-existing relationship with the office, which can be an advantage to college job seekers because of that rapport. Many campus career centers allow students to register for online alerts for posted positions, workshops, and campus job fairs.

Create a flawless cover letter or resume

Before applying for an internship or job, students should create detailed, flawless cover letters and resumes. These documents are an introduction to potential employers, who critique the applicants’ experience, soft skills, and specialized skills before deciding if they even want to bring candidates in for interviews.

Recruiters typically spend less than a minute to peruse a cover letter or resume, so it is important to structure your cover letter and resume, list only relevant information, and proofread everything. Structuring your cover letter or resume covers everything from ensuring your documents are the appropriate length to layout and font.

Visit specialized career sites for jobs

The cover letter expresses the candidate’s interest in a position. It also details a few highlights that complement the position for which a college job seeker is applying, and lists specialized skills, such as web design, HTML code, certifications, and foreign language proficiency. It should also include the person who recommended that the job seeker apply for the position, if applicable.

A college student’s resume should be one page – the average person does not have enough relevant job experience to justify a two-page curriculum vitae.  Highlight the principal tasks (primary work responsibilities) for each job or internship. Do not use informal fonts and large pitch for your resume. Stick to fonts like Times New Roman or Arial in 12 pitch. Ask a trusted friend, parent, or mentor to proofread your cover letter and resume before submitting it – errors will almost guarantee that a potential employer will not call you for an interview.

Finally, be sure to follow applicant instructions the company lists. If candidates are asked not to call the company about the position, respect the recruiter’s process. If candidates are allowed to call the prospective employer, only ask questions that are not covered in the position announcement. For example, if the job announcement states that travel is required, do not ask (before or during the interview) if traveling is expected.

Next week: Part II 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. Send questions, your conundrums, or questions 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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• Saturday, July 14th, 2012

LifeLock shares tips on protecting your identity on The Strategy Sessions radio show ( 7/17/2012)

 

Computers affected globally by Malware Monday and 400,000 leaked Yahoo! passwords were the leading headlines over the past week.  Clicking on bogus websites, leaked email passwords, and stolen credit cards are some of the issues that can easily lead to identity theft.

 

Tami Nealy of LifeLock

On the next episode of The Strategy Sessions radio show, Tami Nealy , Senior Director of Corporate Communications for LifeLock, shares how listeners can protect their online identities and minimize damage if sensitive information is stolen, and highlights what listeners can do if their online or personal information has been compromised.

Tune into The Strategy Sessions radio show on Tuesday, July 17, 2012

LISTEN LIVE at 11:00 a.m. ET:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thestrategysessions

 

Questions for LifeLock?

Call into the show: (347) 539-5143

Email talkback@ksgsc.com

Tweet @KesiStribling

View Tami’s bio and get more LifeLock resources on our website at www.ksgsc.com/thestrategysessions.

 

ABOUT THE STRATEGY SESSIONS

A radio show featuring industry leaders who share tips and strategies on business, careers, travel, health, and more, The Strategy Sessions airs live on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 11:00 a.m. ET. Prior guests have included Internships.com; DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency; American Express OPEN; Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship; AAA; the National Urban League, CommonHealth ACTION, Dress for Success – Washington, DC; and, Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA). For more information, or to listen to archived radio shows, visit www.blogtalkradio.co/thestrategysessions.

 

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• Friday, April 22nd, 2011
 
 

5 Things To Do In the Workplace on Earth Day

Earth Day 2011

Today is Earth Day, an annual reminder to be a little kinder, gentler to our planet and the communities in which we live. Following are five simple things you can do in the workplace to commemorate Earth Day, while taking steps to incorporate green activities on a daily basis.

 1. Say goodbye to paper

Help Mother Earth by eliminating unnecessary paper in the office. Whether discarding old memos, outdated company procedures, or decades old personnel files, eliminating the deluge of paper can have a positive impact in the workplace. By scanning and electronically storing essential documents, offices can decrease paper use resulting in cost saving, the preservation of trees, increased storage space, and the reduction of mold and spores. 

 2. Turn off the lights

 Turn off the power in rooms at work – unoccupied offices, the restroom, and cafeteria – that are not in use. Energy efficient light bulbs, including those operated by automatic sensor to turn lights on and off, are easy to use and cost-effective. Conserving energy helps the planet, and reduces your office electric bill. Use those saved dollars for employee bonuses instead!

3. Ditch the plastic

Replace plastic utensils with silverware and bring your own coffee cups to work – ditching the Styrofoam and plastic cups. Using cutlery can eliminate waste and save corporate dollars. Some health experts believe that Styrofoam and plastic have a negative impact on the body. So, ditching the plastic may not only help the planet; it may benefit your personal health as well. 

4. Take on telecommuting

With gas prices on the rise, telecommuting is a money-saving and efficient way to better our planet. Telecommuting reduces traffic, emissions, and saves energy usage in the workplace. Working at home also has great health benefits, reducing stress that comes from driving to and from work during hefty traffic, being at home when the children arrive after school, and fostering a bit of peace and quiet that is not always present in the workplace.

5. Convert your coworkers

The best way to sustain green activities in the workplace is to engage your coworkers. Make your efforts to conserve energy a contest, work on projects together, and encourage other businesses in your work complex or community to join forces. Organize Earth Day activities, including initiating a recycling plan, planting trees, forming teams to present innovative ways to conserve energy during staff meetings once a month, or bring in an expert to help you and your coworkers implement a strategic green effort at work.

 Have a green tip that you have used in the workplace? Let us know in the comment section.

Article courtesy of KSG Strategic Consulting, and cannot be reproduced without express written permission.

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