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September 29, 2008


Let’s say I am your average entrepreneur and I spend much of my time doing things that don’t add unique value to my business. These things are administrative and operational, and they take time away from the more strategic efforts I could be (should be) working on. So let’s say that I recognize this problem, and decide to off-load some of the task that I am unnecessarily doing. Good step, good progress.

However, the challenge is that I do things in my way, and my way is NOT efficient - it is just what I am used to. And now, I have the headache of trying to train someone else in the methods of my madness and that someone is remote no less. So, the incredibly productive breakthrough in thinking (hiring an assistant) has now been spoiled by the stress training someone in your own insanity AND trying to find new ways to share information – date sharing, filing, storing, etc…

Productivity and efficiency aren’t things that occur naturally. But like many bootstrapping entrepreneurs, getting the most of what you already have is a key success strategy. I am someone who often looks for ways to trim time and increase output (especially now in this economic climate). However, I also am guilty of going with what I know rather than investing the time that it takes to change a process or system…especially when that process seems to be more trouble than it is worth.

But this will be NO MORE, thanks to
Secretary in Israel !!

Ever since I got a call from Sarah Leah Gootnick in spring of 2008, I have been a big fan of her business. I love the social mission (creating well paying jobs for educated American women who are living in Israel and faced with a poor job market) and the innovative business model (connecting this talent with needy, time- and money-starved American entrepreneurs; the matchmaking element – which makes it easier to find the right person and get started; the low and flexible minimum usage – 5 hours a week; AND the productivity training that accompanies the service).

I don’t have a need for a remote assistant at this point (due primarily to our wonderful office manager Donna who keeps everything together and moving smoothly!!), so it is this last element – productivity training – which has been particularly interesting to me.

So, when Sarah Leah let me know that she also offers productivity training (which she will do for just you or for you and your in-person assistant), I jumped at the opportunity. She told me that there were probably tons of easy things that I could do that would save me lots of time each week, and that I might prevent grey hair if I learned these tings now! And, she was right, well, at least about the saving time part (grey hair delay is still TBD). In my hour with her, we focused on several things that I think take up a lot of time. Many of these new tricks are internal things, but one that you all will see right away is the new event RSVP system.

Here are some of the things that I liked best about Sarah Leah’s approach:

* One size doesn’t fit all! Sarah Leah wasn’t trying to peddle one right system, or the system that happens to work for her. She made several suggestions about each topic we discussed and listen carefully to my preferences.
* Focused on delivering immediate value. Sarah Leah asked me where I feel that I waste the most time and focused her energies there. I wasn’t learning about things that I would barely use.
* Budget conscious. Sarah Leah suggested services and products that were all free or very low cost
* Simple and straight forward. Sarah Leah’s suggestions and recommendations were all things that were easy to implement and maintain!! Who wants a system that makes things more complicated?

I began implementing my new system immediately and I am so grateful for the time saved. Now, time to focus on those things that are really important…

September 26, 2008


This week’s Consultants Connection meeting was fantastic. It was another very full room. Everyone’s enthusiasm about the group is wonderful. And, we were sad that we had had to turn folks away. Early RSVPs next time!

We spent much of the time talking about concerns for the economy and the impact the changing economy has on us as small business owners and entrepreneurs. And while the exact kind of impact seems to vary across industries and businesses, one thing is for sure: things are changing and we need to adapt. Some entrepreneurs talked about experiencing tightened budgets, reluctant clients, and slower sales processes. The group suggested creative ways to scale offerings, add value to existing clients, and engage new clients. We also spent some time discussing the importance of highlighting to your clients the business case for and importance of your service, especially when budgets are tight. Why is it important for your clients to invest now and what will they gain?

Others entrepreneurs, whose businesses are obviously differently positioned, talked about experiencing a boon of interest and recognizing huge client and project potential during the economic downturn. In response, we all suggested ways for them to position and package their services, structure their offerings, and streamline their efforts.

To all that attended, thank you for such lively dialog and for your rich contributions!

In addition, a member shared a helpful article, The Great Shakeout, by James Cramer from the latest issue of NY Magazine that discussed economic prediction for those of us in NYC over the next two years.

After we left, I found another helpful and relevant reading that relates to utilizing an economic downturn for strategic advantage. Specifically it states a strong business case for initiating marketing efforts during a time when your competitors are probably tightening their budgets and laying low. The article, The Best Global Brands in Business Week Magazine, not only highlights the “Top 100”, but also cites specific iconic brands that, during previous times of economic challenge, have bucked the conventional wisdom to cut marketing budgets and instead used the slow down as an opportunity to stand out from the crowd and really make an impact.

We are really looking forward to the next meeting (November 11; 2-4pm) but in the meantime...
Remember, agility is a benefit of entrepreneurship. So is agency. You are nimble enough to make the changes necessary to succeed amidst a changing environment. What is your strategic advantage? What can you do to adapt?

posted by Adelaide

September 22, 2008


"So, What Do YOU Do?" Workshop Recap at IGC
guest blogger: Laura Allen, of 15SecondPitch.com

You couldn’t fit another person in the conference room for the “sold out” In Good Company 15SecondPitch workshop on 9/16/08. I had such a great time and was so inspired by all of the amazing women in the room that I didn’t sleep at all that night!!

Whenever I present my workshop, I’m struck by how many women hold themselves back in business and fail to ask for the sale. I don’t want that to ever happen to any of my clients and I don’t want that to happen to you. Here are a few of the juicy secrets I revealed in the workshop, incase you couldn’t join us.

1. If I don’t know exactly what you do, I can never do business with you.
How many times have you been at a networking event and you’re talking to a woman who says she “helps people turn their dreams into reality” and you’re thinking to yourself, “I have no idea what this person is talking about.” It happens all the time and it’s one of the reasons why women don’t close as many sales as they could. I’ve heard financial planners, life coaches and interior designers tell people that they “help people turn their dreams into reality.” If you’re a financial planner, I’d love to know that right up front and then I’d be very excited if you told me something like, “on average my clients only lost 2% in the most recent Wall Street flame out as compared to many people who lost up to 50%.” That’s a completely made up example, however, with a little brainstorming, you can come up with the perfect one for what you do.

2. You need a pitch for Every Niche
If you are a Renaissance Woman—meaning you do several different things for fun and/or money—you must have what I describe as “a pitch for every niche.” For example, my client Karineh came to the IGC workshop and took some great photos of me and the group. Karineh is an incredible photographer who works with clients like Versace and Kenneth Cole. However, Karineh is also very passionate about baking her own home-made Biscotti. So I worked with Karineh to create a 15SecondPitch that is all about photography and another pitch that is all about biscotti. As a result, she’s getting more sales and has no fear cold calling. You can see more of her work at: http://www.karinehnyc.com/

3.The Power of the Third Party Pitch
Most people have a much easier time recommending their hair stylist, doctor or lawyer. Team up with someone that you know and trust. Agree to send business to them and they will send business to you. Make sure that they are crystal clear about what services you provide and why you are better than the competition. Be sure that you know how to promote their services effectively too. I call this system, The Third Party Pitch System. This is one of the fastest and easiest ways I know of to increase business. Just make sure you are working with people that you truly respect and admire.

I bumped into a woman recently who attended the very first workshop I taught when I started 15SecondPitch.com in 2002. She reminded me that I wrote “FUN WINS!!” on the dry erase board in BIG, BOLD, LETTERS. I was amazed that she remembered this because I had long since forgotten. “Fun Wins” was an little idea I came up with on the way to the workshop and I just put it up on the board to get people thinking about it. After seeing the crash on Wall Street last week, I think I may have been onto something with that ‘fun wins’ idea. When people are worried and they want to be sure that they are spending their money wisely, show them that you are the best person for the job, that you’ll give them 110% of your effort and also remember to show them that it will be FUN to work with you.

I’d love to hear what you are doing to have more fun and make more money in an uncertain economy, so please take a moment and leave your comments here!! I can tell you that teaching my workshop for such an amazing group of women at IGC was the most fun I’ve had in a long time!

September 15, 2008

Having a "Growth" Mindset

A friend recently recommended a book called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. Although I have not read the book in its entirety yet I like what I have read so far!

Read the Publishers Weekly Review:

[Mindset is "an established set of attitudes held by someone," says the Oxford American Dictionary. It turns out, however, that a set of attitudes needn't be so set, according to Dweck, professor of psychology at Stanford. Dweck proposes that everyone has either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

A fixed mindset is one in which you view your talents and abilities as... well, fixed. In other words, you are who you are, your intelligence and talents are fixed, and your fate is to go through life avoiding challenge and failure.

A growth mindset, on the other hand, is one in which you see yourself as fluid, a work in progress. Your fate is one of growth and opportunity.

Which mindset do you possess? Dweck provides a checklist to assess yourself and shows how a particular mindset can affect all areas of your life, from business to sports and love. The good news, says Dweck, is that mindsets are not set: at any time, you can learn to use a growth mindset to achieve success and happiness. This is a serious, practical book. Dweck's overall assertion that rigid thinking benefits no one, least of all yourself, and that a change of mind is always possible, is welcome.]

I am particularly intrigued by the applications of this “mindset” to entrepreneurs. Come to think of it, in many ways, having a growth mindset may be a key ingredient to entrepreneurial success. If you are an entrepreneur, whose ultimate goal is to yield business success, using a fixed mindset approach in response to business challenges will likely result in greater challenge and failure.

For example, if you have a conflict with a client, you could just say that the client is difficult and therefore the conflict is the client’s fault. That would be a fixed mindset approach, which may prove to be detrimental if you loose the client’s business. A growth mindset would be to take responsibility for your part of the conflict, see how you can fix the situation, and learn from it so that you may avoid similar conflicts in the future.

To learn more about your current mindset and tips about how to change a fixed mindset to a growth mindset – check out Dweck’s website

Posted by Amy

September 5, 2008

Catching Clients

Starting this fall, we have decided to focus on a particular theme each month and reach out to our fabulous community for their thoughts, ideas, experiences and stories about those topics. Since many of us are experiencing the 'back to work' mentality that the end of summer often brings, and many of us are thinking about Q4 numbers as we stare down the end of the year, we decided that September's focus should be innovative ways to land or "catch" clients.


Here are a few of the stories that our members have shared with us: Lynn Berry, Field Manager of Atlantis Health Plan (646-421-8717) stood outside the Union Square movie theater while "Sicko" was playing, handing out flyers and wearing a backpack sign. A man and his two boys stopped to talk, and she ultimately signed up the family.

Sarah Leah Gootnick, Founder Secretary in Israel LLC considered ALL of her connections and resources when looking for new business. "When I launched my business I sent an email to my Rabbi asking him if he would email his synagogue about our virtual assistants. I got an unexpected email back from him letting me know that he needed a virtual assistant for his congregation! Not only has that worked out great, but he introduced me to some of his other Rabbi colleagues, too. So you just never know who might be a potential new client!"

Galia Gichon, Founder of Down-to-Earth Finance was trying to reach a few strategic large organizations to present seminars to their employees. She didn't have any contacts so she cold called them. When she reached one Executive Director, she was not able to bring Galia in on to present seminars at her organization BUT she signed up for my individual services right away! A few years later, the Executive Director brought Galia in to present seminars to the organization!

Christine Janssen, denken Research & Consulting just developed and launched "The Recession Special" to enable entrepreneurs to keep moving forward with their businesses despite the crazy economy. She is offering 25% off all of her services during September and October, plus if you refer a new client to Chris during that same time period and they also subscribe to her services - you will BOTH get 30% off any services that commence between Sep 1 and Oct 31!


And, how about us?

Well, Amy met delightful IGC member Dages of Delicious Dialogues at a sample sale last August. And we also recently began working with a fantastic video producer who was tasked with shooting IGC for a clip on Current TV (yet to be aired). Another of our members, Christine Courtney of C3 Agency, represented the drink sponsor for the launch of Galia Gichon's My Money Kit.

Moral of the story? Shop and go to sample sales. Well, more to the point...be open to meeting people and talking about your business whereever you go. You never know where new clients may maternialize but resourcefulness, creativity and persistance can pay off! So, think about what creative outlets YOU can use to find your next client.