Archive for the ‘leadership’ Category

9 Leadership lessons from War Leaders

June 3, 2014

fdr-and-churchillI watched the History Channel’s special entitled “The World Wars” about war leaders such as Mussolini, Douglas MacArthur, FDR, Winston Churchill, and Adolph Hitler.  I have counseled hundreds of small businesses and worked under several leaders over the course of my careers.  Often, the competitive nature of business development has been and can be compared to being at war.  Here’s nine (9) leadership lessons I learned from the war leaders:

  1. Have fast moving forces – Adolph Hitler was known for having fast moving forces that could punch a hole in the enemy’s territory and their speed would impact the enemy’s nervous system.  This was called a brain and heart assault.  I have witnessed many, many slow moving business leaders and equally slow moving troops that follow.  Being decisive and well trained to move out fast in business can help knock out the competition.  Leaders bear the responsibility to make judgments and motivate their troops to move out quickly.  The competition would not know what hit them!
  2. Be not a dictator in your business – On the History Channel program, Colin Powell explained that dictators think that they know best; they do not listen to others; and they do not keep anyone around them that will tell them otherwise.  Years ago, I worked for a dictator.   Many years ago, I worked for a dictator who was a small business owner.  He never listened to his staff’s ideas and if they did not agree with him, he would fire them.  I later found out that when I left, he had cycled through more than 60 professional staff people.  This is a ridiculously high turn over rate in his industry.  If you are guilty of this, then it is best to go see a psycho therapist and get some professional help fast!
  3. Know your competition’s, client’s, and prospect’s ultimate dreams – With respect to Adolph Hitler, his ultimate dream was to gain world dominance.  Trying to appease someone like this to avoid war and to negotiate diplomatic solutions is fruitless.  Very few small business leaders take time out to study their competition, client’s and prospect’s, get to know what makes them tick, and study their long term goals.  The more intelligence you know about what they need, want, and their mission, the better you can strategize what might work in business negotiations.

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By Clovia Hamilton, MBA JD President Lemongrass Consulting

(c) 2014. All Rights Reserved. Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

 

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Because we’ve always done it this way!

May 29, 2014

organization change management, leading change, leadershipWe offered a webinar in partnership with Atlanta Technical College awhile ago entitled “Leading Change”.  Someone on Facebook asked what is “Leading Change”… what is that all about?

Well, here’s my response:

“Business leaders must be prepared for constant changes in its people, technology, information processing, communication, and competition.  A business may be experiencing pressures of natural changes or may want to plan for change in its:

  • people
    • culture
    • structure
    • relationships
  • technology
    • need for better systems
    • social media tools
  • information processing
    • data collection
    • order handling
  • communication 

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By Clovia Hamilton, MBA JD President of Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

(c) 2014. All Rights Reserved. Lemongrass Consulting Inc.

12 BUSINESS LESSONS FROM “THE FAMILY” MOVIE

December 30, 2013

free business tips, training in business, Robert De Niro actor, Michelle Pfieffer, The Family movie, best Christmas movies, New Years movieI rarely get to sit still long enough to watch movies.  But, for Christmas, we bought “The Family” DVD from Walmart.  This movie features Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfieffer.  It’s a really, really funny movie about a gangster who is in the witness protection program.  If you haven’t seen this one, I highly recommend that you buy or rent it.

Robert De Niro plays the father and Michelle Pfieffer is his wife.  Well, the father decides to write his memoirs and outlines 10 rules he lives by.  If you following my blog articles, you know I love to cull business lessons out of movies.  I have written two (2) blog articles about lessons we can learn from The Godfather trilogy.   For fun, here are 10 business lessons we can learn from Robert De Niro’s character:

1. I don’t like to cause pain for no good reason because all of my sadistic urges are satisfied when I cause pain for a reason.

In business, there is no need or good reason to cause anybody pain (smile).  For example, there is no need to chase down your competitors’ clients and customers by pointing out negative things about your competition.  I have observed a lot of this ill will and bad behavior in the consulting arena.  Most of the people that behaved that way toward me in response to my entering the arena are now out of business.  Deliberately trying to hurt people in order to get work will rebound against you.

2. Anybody who doesn’t contradict me can expect nothing but good things from me.

This is actually a bad belief to embrace.  The best lessons you can learn will likely be from wise mentors and coaches that contradict what you believe and what you practice.  The good mentors and coaches will push you to think outside the box and to move outside your comfort zone.

3. When I ran the community, there was never a single robbery in the street.  People lived and slept easily.

Casting the mob boss role aside, it is indeed very important to be a part of the community and to try to make your community a better place.  Business owners can attend city council, county commission, and regional development meetings.  We can become active in civic groups like Civic Leagues, Rotary or Kiwanis.  We can also get active in church activities.

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By Clovia Hamilton, President

Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

10 More Business Lessons from the Godfather

November 29, 2013

business, business development, business strategy, entrepreneuralism, female entrepreneurs, leadership, women owned small business

Yesterday, I watched the Godfather movies for maybe the 50th time (smile).  Here are ten (10) business lessons I gleaned from the movies:

  1. If a prospective business partner behaves badly, hold-your-cool.  Be kind, shake his hand, compliment him, thank him, and be on your way.  Never lose your cool. Besides the Godfather, my favorite character is Tom Hagan.  He never lost his cool.
  2. Insist on hearing bad news immediately.  I’m guilty of not wanting to hear bad news or negative feedback.  It is best to hear it and act on it immediately.
  3. Never ask for a second favor is the first one is refused.
  4. Build a supportive business family around you.  Have folks on your team that are loyal and supportive.  If there is any inkling of disrespect, ill will, or backstabbing, then get rid of them quickly.  Hire slowly and fire fast.
  5. Only see business prospects if they are serious and respectful.  Otherwise, do not take the meeting.                                                      read more

Small Business Hoarders and Fear of Lost Control

March 3, 2012

I enjoy the television show Hoarders. I love it when the troubled folks’ homes are transformed for the better. My mom (now deceased) was a hoarder. My brother and I would clean and put things in the alley; and she would go behind us and bring the items back in. It did not matter that some items were full of mildew or had other issues. Our home never looked like the homes featured on the show Hoarders. But, we had stockpiles of stuff stored everywhere. There are a lot of reasons my mom held on to things closely. She grew up poor; suffered a lifetime of losses; and she was a housewife with very few things she could call her own. It was always about not wanting to lose anything; power and control. For my mom, to lose things would be to lose apart of herself.

Hoarders and their struggle to change remind me a lot of struggling business owners. Well, I recently read Deborah Jeanne Sergeant’s article “Fear Means Failure” for the Home Business magazine March/April 2012 issue. She interviewed author Tom Rieger about how fear impacts home businesses. Tom Rieger talked about territorialism and empire building. Tom stated that territorialism is when someone exerts excessive control over budget, information, or employees. He stated that the fear of loss of that control is what drives these business leaders. With respect to empire builders, when they feel their empire is threatened, there is conflict.

Tom Rieger explained that people will do things to prevent the loss by erecting walls or holding onto processes – no matter what. Rieger stated that success requires change and to change you have to give up something. The lost is fearful.

I have had several business coaches and mentors. The best ones have urged me to get pass denial, get at the root of what fears me, and to be about making improvements. Change is tough. I have counseled business owners at the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center. The struggling businesses are led by folks that are in denial and are unwilling to make changes.

Some struggling business owners need to give up entirely. Some need reinvent themselves. Either way requires change.
What gets in the way? Some of the folks featured on the show Hoarders have stated they fear they will lose everything.

Here are some of the traits that hoarders have. If you are a small business owner, these are traits to beware of. Do a self assessment. Do you exhibit any of these traits?

1. Obsessive Compulsive behavior

a. Compulsive shopping

i.      obsessive need to acquire and keep things (in business it can be inventory, supplies, or tech toys)

ii.      keeps collecting

iii.      too attached to objects; believe that the stuff is apart of themselves

b. Hoard busy work

c. Hanging onto stuff – not delegating, not letting go

d. No limits are set

e. Think that all things have unsurpassable value

2. Depressed, Unhappy, Discouraged, Disappointed

a. Feeling let down
b. Letting others down
c. Use anger to control others and to get what you want
d. Have intense sadness

3. Confused
a. Lack direction
b. Lack focus
c. Lack clarity
d. Lack structure
e. Lack stability
f. Indecisive
g. Poor judgment

4. Babied
a. Don’t want to take responsibility
b. Not doing for self; looking to others to take care of them
c. Looking for others to say “clean that up”
d. Surrounded by enablers
e. In perpetual victim role blaming others

5. Overwhelmed
a. Under a lot of pressure, stressed
b. Have a lot of weight on your shoulders
c. Feeling that it is just too much to handle
d. Allowing things to get too out of control
e. Taking on too much
f. Completely disorganized; so cluttered (mentally and/or physically) that even the most basis tasks have become impossible

6. Low self esteem
a. Not caring enough about appearances
b. Not caring enough about hygiene
c. Minimize their own care, standards, and needs

7. Avoidance
a. In denial and do not see anything wrong; thinks everything is fine when it is not
b. Delusional, Desire to escape reality, living in a fantasy
c. Alienates oneself from the world of criticism
i. Lonely
ii. Isolated; little interaction with others
d. Not wanting others to see what is really going on
i. Ashamed
ii. Embarrassed
e. Not wanting to deal with tough issues
f. Showing no emotions, no responses about the bad situation
i. Keeps a tight leash on emotions
ii. Don’t allow themselves to have their emotions; push emotions away
iii. Avoid painful emotions
g. Just go with the flow; don’t get excited about things
h. Just don’t want to think about it
i. Don’t realize you are in a state of crisis; don’t realize how bad things are

8. Stuck, not moving forward
a. Emotional paralysis
b. Lost inside their own head
c. Don’t care anymore
d. No energy

9. Fear of losing memories of the good times

10. Hard and ugly
a. Hard to handle
b. Hard to take
c. Hard to be around, drives people away
d. Abusive, antagonistic
e. Extremely stubborn

Besides the show Hoarders, we see these traits in the business owners featured on shows like Tabatha and Kitchen Impossible.

Hoarders hoard control. Fear keeps them enslaved. They cannot picture someone coming in and telling them what to do. If you are a struggling business owner and you suffer from any of these characteristics, get help. You may not have a home or business establishment that looks like the extreme cases we see on the show Hoarders, but most struggling business owners exhibit some of the characteristics of hoarders. They need a business coach or mentor to help them push pass their fears. They may also need an organizational assessment, direction, clarity, leadership and organizational skills.

Our businesses are our babies. Our babies deserve the best. On the show Hoarders, when children are involved, the hoarder may be threatened with a call to child protective services. In a failing business, there is no such agency to call.

The struggling business owner may need to let go and cut losses by selling or closing the business. They may need to reinvent and make some changes. In business, we have to be able to feel distress and be able to push through distress. There is a lot of rejection in sales. Rejection is painful. You have to be willing to go through the anxiety. Connecting to people is what’s important – not to objects. You have to be able to focus on the big picture.

By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with nearly 30 years of government work experience and has served as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including organizational assessments, government contracting strategic marketing plans, intellectual property, social media marketing strategic plans, and other services.

Contact Clovia at:
■ Web: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com/
■ Follow us on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/lemongrass-consulting-inc.
■ Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/lemongrassplans

■ LIKE us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LemongrassConsultingInc

9 Business Lessons from the Green Lantern

June 19, 2011

This weekend, I watched the Green Lantern movie. It was awesome! Here are nine (9) business lessons I learned from the movie:

1. Green Lantern operates on green energy and the color green represents a species’ will. Our will allows us to create what we imagine. Anything the Green Lantern could see in his mind, he could create. He just needed to focus. We are only as strong as our will. The business lesson here is that every business leader needs to utilize laser focused creativity and imagination to develop a vision for what the business needs to look like and for strategies the business can use to overcome barriers. This is where a sound business plan and strategic planning comes into play. To stay creative, business leaders also have to overcome getting into ruts and feeling burned out.

Scott Gerber, founder of the Young Entrepreneur’s Council recently wrote a Huffington Post article on how entrepreneurs can get back to being creative and productive. The answers included: 1) taking on a hobby other than the startup; 2) delegate and outsource certain functions; 3) take time to recharge and get away; 4) focus on activity that gives you energy; 5) find a business partner; 6) read about art, literature, history; 7) mentor others;  8) work out; 9) pick a company that is getting it right to emulate and track; 10) conquer a fear with sky diving, mountain climbing or some other adventure; 11) invest in something creative or different for your business; 12) turn to your mentors; 13) network with folks in other fields; 14) take up creative writing; and 15) change your routine.

2. Your will is what makes you take action.
3. The Green Lantern Corps is only as strong as its weakest link.
4. In the movie, the villain Parallax had the color yellow and fed on the fear of others. This is actually the color I associate with cowardice. Fear stops you and makes you weak. Ignore your fear. Last year, Karen Klein wrote a BusinessWeek article about Nell Merlino and what holds women business owners back. Nell Merlino advocates that women business owners need to hire. However, Nell acknowledged that many feared doing so because they were afraid they would not be able to make payroll or would cede and lose control and management of their brand. In Nell Merlino’s self help memoir entitled “Stepping out of Line”, she advocates that whatever you can imagine for yourself, you can achieve – and imagination and dedication are the keys.
5. The Green Lantern ring chose the character Hal to be the Green Lantern. In the movie, it was stated that the “ring” chose Hal; and the ring never makes a mistake. I think the ring is symbolic of a higher spirit or God. Just as Hal was chosen to serve as the Green Lantern, I think God chooses individuals to be business leaders.
6. In the movie, the villain was an evil power of darkness that fed on fear. In business, our enemies are naysayers or competitors that block the market entry of newcomers. It was stated in the movie that the will is the sole weapon against the enemy of fear.
7. One of the Green Lantern Corps members wanted to fight fear with fear. The Green Lantern disagreed. The business leadership lesson here is that we do not have to become like our enemies in order to succeed. I have observed this time and time again. When I first opened my business in 2005, several competitors wanted to meet and talk. Some wanted to find out my weaknesses and fears. Some were really ugly about blocking me from entering their arena or space. I thought this was awful – they were fighting fear with fear – trying to make me be afraid about moving forward with my plans. I also encountered loved ones (friends and family members) that really did not want me to be “that” successful. So, they tried to play on my fears by telling me how hard it would be; how costly; how foolish.
8. Parallax is generally defined as the displacement of an observed object due to the change in the position of the observer. In the movie, the villain Parallax could see your memories and read minds. This is how it could feed on the fears of others. In business, you have to be careful sharing certain memories, thoughts, and fears to prevent enemies from preying on your fears. Guarding the business position is important.
9. The Green Lantern had to recharge his ring; i.e. recharge his will. I think this is analogous to prayer and having faith. I think we need to take time to pray, meditate to recharge and gain strength to overcome barriers.

By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.
Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans, intellectual property, and social media marketing strategic plans.

Connect with Clovia :
■ Phone: direct – 678.235.5901
■ Web: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com/
■ Blog: https://cloviahamilton.wordpress.com/
■ LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/cloviahamilton
■ Twitter: http://twitter.com/lemongrassplans
■ Email: chamilton@lemongrassplanning.com

Top 5 Leadership Lessons

October 19, 2010

This article reflects on my 27 year old career as an engineer, strategic planner, and attorney. It lists 5 traits of strong leaders that I have had the pleasure to work with.

(1) Be organized

One of the first lessons I learned was from Ronald Collins who led the Georgia Department of Transportation’s (GDOT) Materials Research Lab years ago. Ron taught me to act on it, file it, or trash it. That was in 1990. I still act on every piece of paper in this manner to this day. It keeps down clutter and chaos. Taking action simply entails making the decision to delegate it to others or respond to it yourself. The key is to not linger. You have to read it and make the decision as soon as it arrives in the mail or hits your desk.

(2) Help pre-professional buds grow into professional blossoms

Carl Spinks was one of the coolest cats I ever worked under. Carl led Statewide Planning at GDOT. Carl delegated program management and projects to his team members and he gave us our space. If we needed insight or help, he would be there for us. But, he let us do our thing. He did not micromanage, sweat us, or be-little anyone. He was always cool, calm and collected. I recall only one time that he got irate with me. I did not want to go present the status of the Transportation Enhancement Activities program. I shared management duties with another young lady. We were both pointing to each other, telling Carl that we each did not want to do it. Carl said we lacked discipline and we could both use some time in the military. Seeing him upset was enough for me to straighten up.

Carl allowed us to complete management training courses. Some of us attended graduate school in civil engineering or law. Continued education was supported and appreciated.

(3) Hold “everyone” accountable

In every organization, there are heavy producers and there are slack folks. I have always been a heavy producer. I can multi-task and wrap my brain around a myriad of different ideas and data simultaneously. It would upset me when others did not do the same. I worked under the direction of Fernando Costa at the City of Atlanta that on the one hand was extremely organized and seemed to hold folks accountable in staff meetings. He had a cool system of using sticky notes.

For example, we would have a staff meeting of functional area urban planners on Friday. On sticky notes, our director would list each of our tasks that we needed to accomplish during the week. If the task was complete, the sticky note would get balled up and tossed. If the task did not get completed he would inquire further.

While I loved this system, the truth was that not everyone was held accountable for their responsibilities. If someone routinely did not get their work done, eventually their work would end up on my desk. That was annoying and over time I felt burned out. We had an assistant director that gave me the questionable advice to slow down in getting work done so that it would appear that the director would not give me so much work. Wow! What a solution?! I resigned instead.

(4) Share the limelight

I think one of the worse things a leader can do is take all of the credit for program implementation, project completion, or events. If the leader has a team to lead, then the entire team should get the credit. Published photos should not be of the leader only. The photos should show the entire group and behind the scene action. All professionals want acknowledgment and recognition. After all, they are trying to establish themselves. Many deserve it.

(5) Have the ability to envision outcomes and guide others

To lead is to guide. You cannot guide or direct anyone if you are doing it all yourself. Here is a Webster’s Dictionary definition of lead: “To go with or ahead of so as to show the way”. If you do not have a clear vision or way, then you cannot lead. If you are not willing to walk alongside or ahead of your team members, then you cannot lead them.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o

Re-engineering: Balancing Patience with Time Management

October 10, 2010

I am writing this on 10-10-10. I once read that the number ten (10) means being “One with God” in Egyptian Numerology. If that is true, I am getting a triple dose today. The Godly virtue of Patience has been a common theme for me recently. I have been trying to re-engineering and rebrand my firm away from an emphasis on working with land development teams and more toward offering services that translate to and are helpful to a wider variety of industries.

Rebranding and Re-engineering requires patience. I was once told that one of my great grandmothers was a slave named Patience. I sometimes think of what she could have looked like and how she behaved. I think she was tough, strong, reserved, and quiet. Slaves were often named for a virtue their parents had or wanted them to have. Being patient is to bear misfortune and pain without complaint or irritation. Patient people have quiet, even tempered perserverance.

I have a healthy dose of patience in my fabric. Others have told me so. I also see it in myself. But, I have learned that the real challenge is time management and working with others that may not be so patience.

Here’s a case in point. You may need to hire help with rolling out sales campaigns and prospecting. If you cannot afford to hire, you solicit help with the terms and conditions (TCs) that when you get paid, they get paid for helping you. If “you” have patience, you can live with these TCs. But, if they cannot patiently await compensation, you are in trouble. Here’s a solution: hire folks that have other sources of income or compensation. For example, ideal assistance can come from retirees; married stay at home moms; and students that can earn course credit for helping you.

I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I think I inherited it. Although my parents and family members never labeled themselves “entrepreneurs”, we always found innovative ways to make ends meet to survive. We sold chicken plates, sold items at flea markets, home renovations, and home cleaning. When we would hit a stumbling block, the perspective that it was minor and needed a solution. So, if you cannot afford to hire, do not give up. Just do it. Find an innovative way to just do it.

Although it takes patience to re-engineer and rebrand your firm, it also takes balance. I am learning that you cannot attribute a lengthy amount of time to “just do it” to your having the Godly virtue of patience. You could easily take your sweet time and tell others that it is alright to saunter because you have patience. Well, is your patience paying the bills? Will your patience save your company?

The balancing act is balancing having the patience to see things through with having a clear strategic plan with set goals and deadlines to have things completed. Time management is a key skill. What works for me is calendaring everything. If I want to hire help, advertising and outreach has to be put on the calendar. Now, the pressure is on. The start and end dates are set. I can tell myself that I have the patience to await responses, but I have to balance that with the reality that the responses need to come in and be acted on by a certain deadline. I put myself under a little pressure. It will not break me. If I do not get the responses I need, I find a solution. I cast a bigger fish net.

Just do it. Do it with style, class, and patience. But, do not use that virtue as an excuse to watch your vision and dreams disintegrate before your eyes. There is an old saying that if you do the same thing with the same bad results, you are insane. Well, you may call it having patience. Others see it as a mental disorder. To truly persevere and be diligent, you have to achieve real change and real results.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o

Women small business owners and “Shopping” for new hires

July 18, 2010

In 2008, I won a Sams Club Entrepreneurship award through the Count Me In program. Part of the award package included free attendance to the Count Me In Leadership Institute at the Office Depot headquarters in Boca Raton last year. I heard Nell Merlino, Executive Director of the Count Me In program, speak about the need for women owned small businesses to hire.

This year, there have been several articles published related to this topic:

 The Work Life Balancing Act, Cindy Krischer Goodman, Miami Herald, September 29, 2009
 Women Business Owners: It’s time to be called ‘boss’ by Rhonda Abrams, USA Today, March 12, 2010
 Want to Grow, Hire Some Help by Eve Gumpel, WomenEntrepreneur, March 15, 2010
 Why are Women-Owned Firms Smaller Than Men-Owned Ones by Sharon G. Hadary, The Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2010
 Nell Merlino on What Holds Women Entrepreneurs Back by Karen E. Klein, Bloomberg Businessweek, July 2, 2010

However, I have yet to read and learn what is at the core of the problem. Why are women small business owners less reluctant to hire than men? What is it about us? I think if we can reflect on why we are not hiring, perhaps we would be more inclined to hire.

There is a more pressing reason why women business owners should get on the band wagon. A 2002 study by Richard DeMartino and Robert Barbato entitled “Differences between women and men MBA entrepreneurs: exploring family flexibility and wealth creation as career motivators” (Journal of Business Venturing, Rochester Institute of Technology) cited that women-owned businesses make up 40% of all businesses and women continue to start businesses at twice the rate of men.

The Kauffman Foundation released July 2010 study findings by Dr. Tim Kane that concluded that when it comes to creating new jobs, startup companies are the source. The study is entitled “The Importance of Startups in Job Creation and Job Destruction”. We can look at it this way – if women did not start new businesses, women would not contribute to the very source of new job creation.

Mark Levit, Managing Partner of Partners & Levit Advertising and a Professor of Marketing at New York University wrote an article entitled “The Difference between Men and Women” with a focus on how marketers can strategize to appeal to women. Well, why not look at these differences and apply them to the question of why women are business owners are reluctant to hire. Here goes…

Mark Levit cited a University of Wisconsin study which found that:

 Women notice and recall 70% more detail in their environments than do men.

This may explain why it might take women longer to come around to hiring. Perhaps women business owners are too detailed oriented and get bogged down in the details. They would then be slower to hire.

 Men tend to see life as a series of contests they must conquer to maintain personal status.

Perhaps women small business owners are less competitive and less interested in boosting their personal status. Women business owners may be motivated less by competition and more by creating a nurturing environment – rather than expanding and profiting more. DeMartino and Barbato found that a higher proportion of women become entrepreneurs in order to balance work and family and a higher proportion of men do so to seek wealth creation and personal economic advancement.

 Women have a greater affinity for shopping.

Perhaps women business owners should think of hiring as shopping for help. If women business owners looked at hiring as a shopping extravaganza, then maybe hiring would be a more pleasurable experience.

 Women take pride in their ability to shop skillfully, prudently, and well. Women tend to evaluate the pros and cons of every purchase. Men make impulse purchases. No coupons. No lists.

Mark Levit cited British psychologist David Lewis’ study which explained the nature-over-nurture concept that prehistoric women are “homebound gatherers of roots, nuts, and berries, rather than roaming hunters of game”. Now, we are back to the dilemma of getting bogged down in details. It takes more time to be more skillfully, prudently, and well. Perhaps women business owners put off hiring until they are able to be trained in how to properly hire and protect themselves and the work environment they nurture. Are women business owners less likely to just place an ad, interview, and hire? Are they less likely to know how to do this skillfully? What about time? Is the time consumption the problem?

 Women want to feel cherished, whereas men want to feel needed.

Perhaps it is the prospect of having to reject poor candidates or having to fire poor performers that prevents women business owners from hiring.

 When men shop, it’s usually for themselves, when women shop it’s for themselves and their families.

Sharon Hadary advocates that women owned firms need to be taught – esp. by other women leaders – to think big from the start. There needs to be a change in the women business owners’ mindset. In 2008, Dr. Susan L. Reid wrote an article entitled the “Similarities and Differences between How men and Women Excel in Business”. Dr. Reid wrote that one mistake women entrepreneurs make is that they make excuses. Another mistake cited by Reid is that “too many women have a mindset of scarcity when it comes to their businesses. They believe they lack time, money is scarce, and there aren’t enough customers.”

Having the Right Mindset – Heed to Nike and Just do it!

Remember the 1998 Nike Just Do it ad campaign? ALL women businesses need that competitive, can do attitude.

If women were to take clues from the male mindset, women business owners would:
 View their businesses as more like a contest or competition …grit down, compete, be passionate, be determined, and just do it!
 View from a mindset of plenty – there is plenty of time, customers, and help.
 Not over evaluate and get bogged down in details. I will have a quick strategic plan for hiring (list of tasks to delegate, job description, job ad, job interviews) and hire by set deadlines. I will just do it!

In a very unscientific humorous HubPages article entitled “The Differences Between Men and Women”, Ryan Kett jokingly wrote that “Women take 20 minutes to choose food from a takeaway menu, Men will take 1 minute.”

It is time for women small business owners to get help. If cash flow is a concern, hire volunteers. No excuses! Just do it!

Here are some daily affirmations for women business owners:
o There is plenty of time. I will manage my time. I will just do it!
o There are plenty of customer prospects. I will go prospecting daily. I will just do it!
o There is plenty of help and if I cannot afford them now, I will hire on commission or hire volunteers! I will just do it!
o I will shop for new hires. I will just do it!
o It is ok to be motivated to grow my business and create wealth because with more wealth, I will have more flexibility to balance work and family.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o

Advice from Business Founders

January 10, 2010

I love the following advice from the Dec 2009 Businessweek slideshow entitled “Advice from Renowned Business Founders – Lessons from Women and Minority Entrepreneurs”:

“[T]hink of yourself as a brand. It is important to gain a realistic view of who you are and what you offer the company. What do you offer that no one else or very few people can offer? How can you tailor those things so the company gets value from that?” – Lynda Resnick, Roll International Vice Chair, Owner of POM Wonderful and FUI Water

“About the sixth year, [investor Herb Wilkins] pulled me aside and said: “You’ve got to stop doing negative PR on yourself. When people ask you how you’re doing, you’ve got to say things are looking up. The first person who believes that is you’. You have to give [people] a certain comfort level. If they don’t feel good about you, if they don’t trust you, they’re not going to fund you.” – Catherine Hughes, Founder and Chair, Radio One

“You can work harder. You can push yourself to the limit. You have to if you want to succeed. I know you could put more hours in. Whatever you think you can do, you can do more. You can do more and you can do it better. Whatever standard you set, you can exceed your expectations and you can be your harshest critic.” – David Chang, Founder, Momofuku restaurants

These are “very” inspirational for me. I updated our website….striving to do more!

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o