Negotiating Your Way to a ‘Yes’

Negotiation is not something that is taught in school. Knowing how to negotiate your way to a “yes” can go a long way to benefit anyone – from employees to entrepreneurs. Sometimes it can be hard for people to see your vision. Without even giving you the chance, they may automatically tell you “no.”

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As a business owner, it’s important to learn the art of persuasion and how to negotiate for optimal terms. It will pay to master this craft. The following are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind, as described by Rebekah Epstein, founder offifteen media:

  1. Add a human touch: Don’t forget to personalize your interaction—it can be detrimental if people feel like they are unimportant or aren’t being heard. Remember to listen before you speak. This will give you a better chance to explain your product as per the needs of your audience. Create a win-win situation for both sides. A deal is long remembered and sustained if it keeps the interest of both sides.
  1. Be willing to walk away: It might look difficult to walk away from a negotiation but you have to know when to call it quits to keep the integrity of your business intact. If someone wants to work with you, they will figure out a way to do so.
  1. Know your non-negotiables: Know your deal-breakers before start negotiations. At some point, others will offer suggestions or even try to change what you are doing. It is good to listen, but you have to follow what others are suggesting. A compromise could also be made during negotiations.
  1. Work with people who don’t try to change you: As a startup (or employee), remember your worth and don’t let people take advantage of you. Find people who see value in what you do.

Have you used some of these techniques in negotiation? How do you ‘get the yes’?

For more information on the same, you can visit: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232735

Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!

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Networking and Educational Events: Part II – Plan for Success

In a previous post, I wrote about the important role networking and educational events can play in a woman’s professional development and how to choose the right events to attend. However, if you think simply identifying an event, registering for it and then showing up is enough, think again. It’s a mistake to attend events that do not align with your overall goals. So prepare any events you do attend a success by having a plan.

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Here are some things to consider:

  • You are there to learn. While this may be obvious for seminars and conferences, it is equally as true for networking events. Why? Because networking is about making connections—about discovering what other people need and can offer so that you build a mutually beneficial long-term relationship. The golden rule: listen more than you talk. Asking open-ended questions about a person’s business is a great way to convey interest.
  • You are there to make an impression. Dress appropriately and professionally. When you look your best you exude self-confidence—something that can translate into boosting your visibility and creating more opportunities. Also be prepared to describe your business or what you do in 10–15 words, and make sure that you have business cards and other materials you would like to share.
  • You are there to meet new people. Move around. Mingle. It’s okay to spend time with people you already know during walk-around networking time (there’s always room to strengthen relationships), but sit with people you don’t know for table discussions, breakout groups and dinners. Also, don’t spend too much time with any one person, and if possible, help other people make new connections by introducing them to your existing contacts. It will be appreciated.
  • You are there to grow. Whether you’re trying to win new business or develop new skills, events merely serve as an introduction. The meaningful work happens when you get back home or to the office. To apply what you learn, develop an action plan. Are there books you need to read, tactics to implement in the office or a schedule you need to create to help keep you healthier and more productive? To benefit from the connections you’ve made, send follow up notes within a few days of the event closing and make sure you personalize it with details from your conversation. Just as important as your initial follow up is staying in touch. Set a calendar reminder to check in with all of your contacts every couple of months to share news and see how they are doing.

Margaret Thatcher once said: “Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s when you’ve had everything to do, and you’ve done it.”

Chances are, if you really look around at the days when you’ve accomplished the most, you’ll find you probably haven’t done it on your own. You’ve done it with a little help from your friends—the personal and professional network of people you’ve surrounded yourself with who help you be a better you. The goal of attending events is to expand that network and find opportunities where you can do for others what they do for you—create opportunities for growth. That’s how we all become better.

Guest author: Rani Ristau, Manager, Nottingham Branch, KeyBank

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Women, Networking and Educational Events: Part 1 – Choosing the Right Events

As women in business, most of us have had the good fortune of working with a strong mentor. Many of us have also served as mentors ourselves, sharing what others have shared with us and what we have learned with others. In the process, we all become better—better professionals and better people.

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Networking and educational events that are developed to address the unique needs of women serve a similar function. In fact, in today’s wired world, events like the WISE Symposium are becoming more important than ever. They offer new ways for us to make connections, build skills and learn at a time when one-on-one opportunities to exchange ideas and experiences are harder to come by. You just need to make sure you’re spending your time at the right events and optimizing your time.

Asking yourself the following questions can help you choose the right events:

  1. Why am I attending? Do you want to learn new skills? Meet new people? Promote your service or product? Whether you’re spending 30 minutes at a coffee meet-and-greet or a day at a conference, you need to have a clear expectation of what a positive outcome will be. Is it a qualified lead? Finding a resource? Making a contribution?
  2. Who will be there? Effective events are targeted to meet the needs of a very specific audience. Review the event agenda and talk to event promoters to see who they are marketing the event to and what the audience demographics will be. Events with a proven track record are generally a safer investment of your time. Talk to other people who have attended the event to see if it was well organized, delivered on its focus and was worth attending.
  3. What is the event about? The WISE Symposium is about promoting entrepreneurship. However, it would be a mistake to not attend just because you’re not an entrepreneur. In addition to creating an opportunity for people to network with smart, savvy women in business, the breakout sessions offer great learning opportunities for any professional. So before investing your time and money into an event, learn everything you can about it and analyze how well it aligns with your goals.

Also keep in mind your personal style and comfort level. Do you prefer smaller, more intimate gatherings or do you thrive in the energy of a large crowd. There are plenty of events that can offer you everything you need, provided you do your homework and have a plan for making the event an effective use of your time.

Guest writer: Rani Ristau, Manager, Nottingham Branch, KeyBank

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12th Annual WISE Symposium to Feature Expert Women Entrepreneurs as Keynote Speakers

Speakers include Jessica Herrin of Stella & Dot, Melinda Emerson of SmallBizLady, Amy Cosper, editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur Magazine, and Good Morning, Beautiful Business author Judy Wicks; and many more.

Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (WISE) is bringing powerhouse entrepreneurial guest speakers to the 12th annual WISE Symposium on Tuesday, April 8, to inspire an anticipated audience of 1,000 at the Oncenter in Syracuse, NY. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and features a full day of activities, speakers and opportunity for networking.

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Jessica Herrin will deliver the afternoon keynote address, “Achieving Success and Balance through a Career You Love,”in which she’ll unveil her entrepreneurial journey designing a career that fit with her family priorities.

Melinda Emerson, known as SmallBizLady, America’s #1 small business expert, CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, and author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works, is the morning keynote speaker. Emerson’s presentation, “How to Reinvent Your Business and Become a Social Media Ninja” aims to inspire attendees to achieve their potential by dreaming big and then making it happen through tools, resources, and social media.

Another highly anticipated speaker is Entrepreneur magazine Editor-in-Chief Amy Cosper, who will give a “State of Women in Business” update to kick off the morning of the event.

Additional 2014 WISE Symposium speakers include:

  • Jennifer Howland, leader of IBM’s Pathways Program, a worldwide initiative to develop bold actions aimed at increasing the representation of women in STEM-related leadership positions
  • Judy Wicks, author of Good Morning, Beautiful Business and buy-local advocate
  • Karen Hough, Founder & CEO of ImprovEdge, and the author of The Improvisation Edge: Secrets to Building Trust and Radical Collaboration at Work
  • Alicia Marie, CEO of People Biz Inc., a coaching and training company
  • Gayle Carson, Spunky Old Broad
  • Renata Mutis Black, founder and executive director of Seven Foundation, which posits a new blueprint for philanthropy away from donor dependency into sustainable business models
  • Local women entrepreneurs and business/leadership experts who will be sharing their experiences, challenges and insights on a variety of topics

“It’s a great opportunity for attendees to make new connections and deepen their overall knowledge about cutting-edge business and leadership topics,” says Lindsay Wickham, events and communications manager for the WISE Symposium. “This continues at the WISE Women’s Business Center, which strives all year long to support start-ups and the growth of successful and passionate entrepreneurs in Central New York.”

RegisterNowButtonOther key opportunities and attractions at the Symposium include an Interactive Business Expo, networking with fellow delegates and exhibitors throughout the day, breakout sessions, Social Media Lounge, Connections Café, WISE Reads Library, roundtables for special sessions such as WISE Latinas and WISE Veterans, and also the post-Symposium Leadership Development training seminar “Coaching Skills for Managers” offered by People Biz, Inc. Preceding the Symposium will be the first annual Be WISE, Buy LOCAL Spring Fling, hosted by WISE and Syracuse First, on Monday, April 7th from 5-7 p.m.

Attendees may register for an all inclusive all-day ticket for $99. Registration for full-time students is $20. Other ticketing options are available. To register, visit https://wisesymposium.eventbrite.com or contact Lindsay Wickham at lwickham@syr.edu, or (315) 443-3550.

The Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship, located in the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, has provided critical support and services for the event since its inception in 2003.

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Is Your Business Eligible for a Government Grant?

Nonprofits are not the only businesses eligible for grants. For-profit companies also receive grants based on their idea and work. For example, a company called Canopy Apps received $2M in grant funding from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to develop translation technology for medical professionals working with patients who don’t speak English.

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Of course, it is not easy to find (and receive) local, state and federal grants. It involves a lot of time re-working your business plan to put into an application format. “You have to have a revolutionary idea, incremental ideas don’t work,” says Jerrit Tan, CEO of New York City based Canopy. It has to be almost a crazy idea but within a reason.

If you can quantify the impact of your idea, it makes it easier. “Make it clear how big the impact of the problem you want to solve is,” says Amy Baxter, an Atlanta pediatric emergency doctor who in 2009 scored $1.1M in NIH funding for Buzzy, a pain-blocking device used for administering injections to children.

One thing is for certain in searching for an obtaining grants—you will need to put in time. For large federal grants, expect to spend several months preparing an application. It’s not a fast process, and it might take time for payments to arrive. Be sure to seek out the right opportunities for your business. Some grants may be more trouble than benefit. Some big payouts have restrictive stipulations on how the money can be used.

Don’t discount the smaller grants. They might have less stringent application and spending requirements.

One important aspect of application is to get external feedback. Run through your application with as many people as you can. As more eyes look at the proposal, they can find hidden flaws in the application which you might miss.

Have you ever applied for a grant? If yes, do you have tips for those considering applying for a grant? Share your thoughts and feedback here!

For more information, visit: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/230830.

Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!

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Choosing Your Business Structure

One of the most important decisions when starting a business is the type of legal structure you select for your company. This decision has a long-term impact not only on the taxes you owe, but it will also impact the amount of paperwork your business is required to do, the personal liability you face and your ability to raise money. The question is – what structure makes most sense?

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It is important for business owners to seek expert advice from business professionals when looking at the pros and cons of business structure. The advice can come from a variety of sources, ranging from the no/low cost, such as the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) or the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). Other options which will most likely cost money include attorneys and accountants who are also valuable source of information.

Examining three primary factors of your company can help you decide the type of entity you want: liability, taxation and record-keeping. The following is a list of common forms of entities:

Sole Proprietorship: This is the easiest form of ownership and offers complete managerial control. However, the owner is personally liable for all financial obligations of the business.

Partnership: Involves two or more people, who agree to share the profits and losses of a business. The main advantage is that the partnership doesn’t bear the tax burden of profits or the benefit of losses-profits or losses are ‘passed through’ to partners to report on their individual income tax returns. The primary disadvantage is that each partner is personally liable for the financial obligations of the business.

Corporation: This is a form of business entity that is separate from those who founded it. It can be taxed and can be held legally liable for its actions. Corporations can also make a profit. The key benefit is avoidance of personal liability. The primary disadvantage is the cost to form a corporation and the extensive record keeping required. The double taxation, seen as a drawback of C-corporation is avoided by S-corporation (a popular variation of regular C-corporation) by allowing income or losses to be passed through on individual tax returns, similar to partnership. The only limitation of S-Corp is that the stocks must be held by US Citizens or permanent residents.

Limited Liability Company (LLC): This type of business entity is a hybrid form of partnership that allows owners to take advantage of the benefits of both corporate and partnership forms of businesses. Profits and losses can be passed through to owners without taxation of the business itself while owners are shielded from personal liability.

There are several criteria you need to evaluate when forming a business entity including, but not limited to: legal liability, tax implications, cost of formation and ongoing administration, flexibility and future needs. The business structure you start out with might not meet your needs in years to come. This is not a decision to take lightly or based on a decision made by an outside individual. Consider the unique needs of your business and seek expert advice before setting up your business format.

For more information and details about types of entities, visit: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/38822

Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!

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Top 5 Industries for Entrepreneurs

As the rate of entrepreneurship continues to rise, many Americans try to identify what industries offer good prospects for employment. Patrick Hull, a serial entrepreneur has helped launch or fund a lot of companies in varied sectors. Based on his experience, he talks about industries that are hot for entrepreneurs.

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Internet and Data Services: While an obvious choice, it is still worth mentioning. The growth in mobile technology continues to fuel online growth and need for data services. The online revolution has created immense opportunities for entrepreneurs. Data analysis and advanced metrics has created a new food for thought for entrepreneurs. This is a top industry to start and grow a business.

Computer System and Software Services: Big data and software dominate and data technology has become significant. Software services is a growing segment, and a great aspect of software services is the need to create more software. The growth of cloud-based services means more software. The role of software is everywhere and new uses are emerging every day.

Accounting Services: With the implementation of new banking and financial regulations, the need for accounting and audit services will rise. According to a recent article in Entrepreneur magazine, private accounting firms have seen profits rise 20.9% in the last year.

Business Consulting: As the economy rebounds, businesses need more management and technical consultants. Many businesses will need help drafting business plans, strategies, marketing campaigns and budgets. The creation of more complex businesses and return of advanced manufacturing will increase the number of logistical consulting firms. Businesses will also need consultants specializing in government compliance to help navigate the federal government’s complex web of regulations.

Home Health Care: Employment in health services is expected to grow steadily, and the employment in the specialized home health care industry is expected to increase even faster. As per the National Association for Home Care, each year 12 million people receive health care services. As the baby boomer generation continues to age, the need for home health will rise considerably.

As per Patrick, these are the five hot industries to watch out for. These lists are pretty subjective and open to debate. What is your point of view? In what industries do you see opportunities?

For more information, please visit: http://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickhull/2013/09/12/top-5-industries-for-entrepreneurs/.

Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!

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