Three Techniques For Generating Publicity For Your Business

When your goal is to grow your business, one of the most important things you can do is spend time learning how to generate publicity for your organization. The key to getting publicity for your company is to develop and implement a sound public relations plan that focuses on activities designed to attract positive media attention to the activities of your business.

Three of the best techniques for generating publicity include:

1. Special Events

Hosting a special event is a great way to generate publicity for your company. There are many ways to generate free publicity for events that are open to the public. Many websites and newspapers have special sections dedicated to community events, and you can submit information about any events that you have scheduled for publication consideration.

For example, if you are opening a new location, you might want to consider holding a ribbon cutting ceremony. Even if you aren’t moving, you can schedule an open house event. While the news media aren’t likely to attend the actual event, any pre-event publicity that you generate can boost your business, and you will enjoy the added benefit of giving customers and prospective customers a good excuse to visit your business.

2. Public Speaking Engagements

Most civic and professional organizations schedule speakers for their weekly or monthly meetings. Come up with an idea for an interesting topic that is related to your business offer to speak to local organizations such as Kiwanis, Rotary, the American Business Women’s Association, and others.

The speaking engagement itself will give you an opportunity to make contacts and let a new group of people know about your company. You are also likely to find your name in print before the meeting, as most organizations distribute news releases announcing upcoming speakers to the local media and in print speaker bios in their own newsletters.

3. Cause Marketing

Pick your favorite non-profit organization and do something that benefits the charity. By aligning with a non-profit, you are able to do something for the good of the community. This positions you as a good corporate citizen in your area, which can have a positive impact on your image.

The news media in most communities tend to look very favorably upon activities that benefit charitable organizations. When you engage in promotional activities that directly benefit well-known, reputable nonprofit organizations, you may receive positive press as a result of your efforts.

By no means are these the only ways of generating publicity for your company. There are many different ways to generate publicity for all types of businesses. The first step in creating the perfect public relations plan for your company is to learn everything that you can about different means of garnering positive press for your company.

An Insight Into the Emergence of Women-Owned Businesses As an Economic Force in India

1. Introduction

During the last two decades, Indian women have entered the field of entrepreneurship in greatly increasing numbers. With the emergence and growth of their businesses, they have contributed to the global economy and to their surrounding communities. The routes women have followed to take leadership roles in business are varied. Yet, most women business owners have overcome or worked to avoid obstacles and challenges in creating their businesses. The presence of women in the workplace driving small and entrepreneurial organizations creates a tremendous impact on employment and business environments.

Indian women business owners are changing the face of businesses of today, both literally and figuratively. The dynamic growth and expansion of women-owned businesses is one of the defining trends of the past decade, and all indications are that it will continue unabated. For more than a decade, the number of women-owned businesses have grown at one-and-a-half to two times the rate of all businesses. Even more important, the expansion in revenues and employment has far exceeded the growth in numbers.

The result of these trends is that women-owned businesses span the entire range of business life cycle and business success, whether the measuring stick is revenue, employment or longevity. This strengthens the view that all governmental programs and policies should target at strengthening women’s entrepreneurship in their native lands.

Although, many of the earlier obstacles to women’s business success have been removed, yet some still remain. This has initiated the scholars of entrepreneurship and small businesses to study the influences of and the impact on business ownership by women. The number of these research studies are growing steadily.

2. What Are The Characteristics Of Women Entrepreneurs In India?

Indian women of today have taken many strides towards business ownership. The broad classification of women business owners include women who establish, inherit, or acquire a business; women who start businesses with spouses or business partners but are either at the forefront or behind the scenes; and finally, women who start fast-growing or part-time or slow-growing firms. Although earlier researches on women entrepreneurs have suggested that significant differences existed between female and male entrepreneurs. However, more recent studies have shown that there are far more similarities than differences between women and men entrepreneurs in terms of psychological and demographic characteristics. The dominant predictors of success in case of women entrepreneurs are work experience and years of self-employment.

Generally, women view their businesses as a cooperative network of relationships rather than as a distinct profit-generating entity. This network extends beyond the business into the entrepreneur’s relationships with her family and the community. Certain cross-cultural studies on women entrepreneurs have reported that their management styles emphasizes open communication and participative decision-making, and their business goals reflect a concern for the community in which the business operates.

The majority of women business owners operate enterprises in the service sectors, whereas the majority of male business owners operate enterprises in non service sectors, particularly manufacturing. Women are not only achieving economic independence and wealth creation for themselves, but through job creation, they are also providing opportunities for others, particularly for other women.

A series of researches have shown that the workforce of women-owned businesses tend to be more gender balanced than the workforce of men-owned businesses, although women business owners are more likely to hire women. Put simply, an investment in women’s entrepreneurship is an investment in the economic independence and well-being of all women.

In comparison to their women counterparts who established their businesses two decades earlier, women who have started their businesses sometime during the past decade are more likely to have the following:

o a higher level of education, previous professional and managerial experience, as well as executive level experience

o a greater appetite for capital, both credit and equity

o a strong motivation for autonomy and achievement

o a dynamic personality

o a passion for what they do

o creativity to innovate and implement

o independence and self reliance

o high self confidence

o willingness & ability to take risks

o alertness to opportunities

o ability to marshal resources

o ability to respond to market & environment signals

Thus, from the above discussion, we can conclude the following traits of personality of women entrepreneurs:

Risk taker Proactive Opportunist Visionary Inventor Tolerance of ambiguity Commercialiser Desire for independence Trader High energy Innovator Ability to bounce back Flexible Results oriented Need for achievement All rounder Internal control Decisive Self confident Self Motivated Pragmatic Flair

3. Why Do Indian Women Undertake Entrepreneurship?

In spite of the growing number of female entrepreneurs, the share of female entrepreneurs is still significantly low when compared to their participation rate. However, there are several factors responsible for increasing the level of female entrepreneurship in India:

1. Nature of Entrepreneurship: Women enter into entrepreneurial activity because regular employment does not provide them with the flexibility, control or challenge offered by business ownership.

2. Motivation : Several evidences suggest that women do not lack the motivation to enter into business ownership. They are often highly motivated than their male counterparts to overcome the barriers to business start-up.

3. Empowerment : Indian women are becoming more empowered now-a-days. Legislation is being progressively drafted to offer them more opportunities at various levels.

4. Social Conditions : Population growth results in a strong positive relationship on entrepreneurial activity. Across genders, the increase in demand and competition for jobs pushes more people into necessary entrepreneurship. For women, in particular, the relatively high involvement in necessary entrepreneurship indicates that self-employment is used as a way to circumvent institutional and cultural constraints with respect to female employment, as well as a way to provide supplemental family income.

5. Economic Conditions : Auspicious economic conditions favour the participation of women in entrepreneurial activity. The smaller amount of financial capital requirement and higher proportion of available bank loans positively correlates the level of female entrepreneurship to economic conditions. In fact, in a country like India, the relationship between the size of unofficial economy and entrepreneurial activity is positive.

6. Literacy & Education: Increased levels of education has played a crucial role in initiating the process of entrepreneurship. It is not only the illiterate that are starting the businesses but those with education & skills are also exploiting profit opportunities.

4. What Are The Needs Of Women Entrepreneurs In India?

1) More and better access to finance/credit is mentioned very frequently. Give a woman 1000 rupees and she can start a business. Give her another 1000 rupees and she will be able to feed not only for her family, but for her employees as well.

2) Access to business support and information, including better integration of business services.

3) Training on business issues and related issues

4) Better access to local and foreign markets.

5) Day care centres & nurseries for children, and also for the elderly;

6) Positive image-building and change in mentality amongst women, whereby women see themselves as capable achievers and build up confidence.

7) Breaking through traditional patrons and structures that inhibit women’s advancement.

8) Role modelling of women in non-traditional business sectors to break through traditional views on men’s and women’s sectors.

9) More involvement and participation in legislation and decision-making processes.

10) Removing of any legislation which impedes women’s free engagement.

11) Awareness-raising at the governmental as well as private level to truly and really create entrepreneurial opportunities and not just programs that stay on paper.

5. Which Important Problems Are Faced By Women Entrepreneurs In India?

1. Women hardly interact with other women who are successful entrepreneurs. This results in a negative impact on their networking skills.

2. The areas, where one can see women acting as entrepreneurs, is in the very typical women’s sectors of 3Ps. This is also the area, where women are accepted in society to be experts in and thus have the capacity for entrepreneurial activities.

3. It is clear, that women have the responsibility of getting children and taking care of them. Very few societies accept fathers taking over the role of staying home and taking care of the children. Once these children are old enough to take care for themselves, they have to bear an additional responsibility of taking care of elder parents. If they want to become entrepreneurs, the society expects them to be able to do both: take care of family and home and do business.

4. Women are very critical when it comes to themselves – can I really do this, am I good enough, maybe I have to learn more, others can do it better. It is quite interesting that many successful women have been educated in only girls colleges and schools, which often deliver a safe environment to try out ones personal strengths, learn to overcome weaknesses and be proud of oneself.

5. Discrimination – it is hard to believe but women are still treated differently in our society. Women do get lower salaries compared to men doing the same job, women do not have access to men dominated networks who take their decisions about successors in the company during golf plays or sauna meetings….

6. Missing networks – through centuries business men have build up their networks but women still have to learn to catch up.

7. A lot of women tell stories about not being taken serious by bankers, when they wanted to get a loan for their business. Often enough, they have to bring their husbands or fathers to be able to be heard and receive financing. So, the domination of men in the banking world is a problem.

6. What Are The Challenges Faced By Women Entrepreneurs In India?

One of the major obstacles faced by women entrepreneurs has been that they are not taken seriously. Even though women have achieved credibility as competent entrepreneurs in areas such as retail, personal services and business services, perceptions that women-owned businesses are less successful, credit worthy & innovative continues to be a barrier.

Besides this, there are several other challenges being faced by Women Entrepreneurs:

1. Lack of Visibility as Strategic Leaders: Changing the perceptions about the likely success of women-owned businesses depends on increasing women’s visibility in leadership positions within the greater business community. In an assessment of women’s presence as CEOs or Directors of large business enterprises, it has been anticipated that the exodus of women to entrepreneurial growth firms might be because women believe that have greater representation in strategic leadership positions in privately-held or family-owned firms as they provide better opportunities for leadership than available to women in publicly-traded companies.

2. Differential Information and Assistance Needs: Another significant need of many women business owners is obtaining the appropriate assistance and information needed to take the business to the next level of growth. In a study conducted to gather information needs of women entrepreneurs, those who were just starting their ventures, requested assistance and training in implementing the business idea, identifying initial sources of financing, and advertising/promotion. The entrepreneurs who were already established, had a somewhat different set of needs including financing for expansion and increasing sales. Another conducted study had identified ten most desired needs of fast growth entrepreneurs:
(a) using cash flow to make operational decisions
(b) financing growth
(c) increasing the value of the business
(d) compensation for self and associates
(e) hiring, training and motivating for growth
(f) succeeding in a rapidly changing world
(g) successful selling
(h) sales force management
(i) management success
(j) problems and pitfalls of growth.

Unfortunately, this differences in information and assistance needs can be found across cultures as well.

3. Family Influences on Women Entrepreneurs : The overlapping of the family and the firm is not significant for women business owners. Unfortunately, little research has been conducted on the dynamics of family-owned firms headed by women. As the boundaries between the firm and the family tend to be indistinct, women operating family businesses face a unique set of issues related to personal identity, role conflict, loyalties, family relationships, and attitudes towards authority. Additionally, family businesses owned by women are at a disadvantage financially and are forced to rely on internal resources of funding rather than outside sources. The critical role of family in business, also emerges in cross-cultural studies which show a women relying heavily on the family for start-up capital.

7. What Steps Need To Be Initiated For Women Entrepreneurial Development In India?

A possible set of three inter-linked and inter-dependent clusters of recommendations can be aimed at “pushing” a larger number of women entrepreneurs towards growth opportunities, unlocking their potential as creators of wealth and jobs, and providing a more conducive legal and regulatory framework. These recommendations can also ensure the proper positioning of “pull mechanisms” to enable the growth-oriented women entrepreneurs to expand and grow in terms of investments, markets and profits.

1. Prioritizing and Pushing at the micro-level : There is a large and seemingly ever-increasing number of women entrepreneurs operating in micro-enterprises and in the informal economy. They can be facilitated to grow into sustainable, formally registered & large enterprises with the help of following actions:-

o Conducting gender analysis for all entrepreneurial support programmes

o Gathering data on women and men entrepreneurs

o Applying “target group segmentation” to women entrepreneurs

o Using targeted approaches for priority categories in order to provide additional “push” to women entrepreneurs to the next level of growth

o Promoting mobilization and organization of representative associations

o Examining differential impacts of governmental policies, programmes and actions

o Promoting development of demand-led supports for women entrepreneurs

o Promoting more flexible and innovative financial products by banks

2. Unlocking and Unfettering Institutional Framework: Policies, laws and overall regulatory environment are frequently seen as barriers and disincentives to expansion and growth. However, they need to be promoted in such a way that women entrepreneurs see the advantages of and benefits that come with compliance.

o Reviewing impact of existing and new instruments on women entrepreneurs

o Identifying those instruments that act as barriers to expansion and growth

o Modifying or dismantling these instruments

o Taking account of the social and cultural contexts affecting policy implementation and redress inequalities and abnormalities

o Making use of IT and associations so as to minimize the administrative burdens on women entrepreneurs

o Holding regular consultations with key factors like women entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs’ associations, financial institutions, etc, to review progress and identify new bottlenecks.

3. Projecting and Pulling to Grow and Support the Winners : The first two sets of recommendations are aimed at trying to “push” more women entrepreneurs into growth situations as well as ensuring that laws & regulations do not stand in their way. The third possible recommendation relates to facilitating and “pulling” the women entrepreneurs into situations where they can actively pursue growth strategies.

o Providing incentives for expansion and growth after removing barriers and disincentives

o Encouraging and rewarding dynamic representative associations of women entrepreneurs

o Promoting strong links and synergies with existing major economic players

o Profiling the economic and social contributors among women entrepreneurs to the national economy

o Promoting and rewarding programmes that serve women entrepreneurs

o Making full use of data gathered to inform new policies, programmes and supportive actions

o Ensuring synergies between (a) women related ministry (b) economic ministry (c) welfare & social development ministry in the government.

8. Conclusion

With relevant education, work experience, improving economic conditions and financial opportunities, more women around the world are creating and sustaining successful business ventures. This will not only have an impact on the economies of the countries in which women own their businesses but also will change the status of women in those societies. It is likely that, as we begin this millennium, this will be the century of the entrepreneur in general and of the women entrepreneur in particular.

Women In Business – The Right Move At The Right Time

The Art of Making the Right Move at the Right Time – Manipulation at its’ finest!

How do you know when to make that very gutsy move; the one that wins it all, or you go home broke? There are a few checklist type questions that you can ask yourself when you take the final deep breath at the moment of decision, but first a personal story.

When I was twenty-one, I interviewed for teaching positions at the top paying, suburban, Chicago public schools. In those days, there were literally two thousand applicants for every open position. I was getting married and moving to Chicago and my betrothed family (who were all teachers) arranged for me to enter into the interview process. Although interviews are a subject for another column, these interviews were grueling; first interview with three separate committee members, second interview with the entire committee and the third with the decision maker on the committee.

I had been in the pursuit of three jobs and I was sitting at the final interview along with the line of the other final applicants. They all looked a little older and that meant “experience” which is the nemesis of first time candidates. After my interview at this school, I was headed for my third call back at another school.

I was the last one to enter the room at the final one-on-one and I felt that I had an edge on the others in every way except for the category of experience in public education. The interview went fine although there seemed to be an emphasis on the fact that I had never taught in a public school. I remember feeling that one of the other candidates would prevail and in that moment I felt that, I had nothing to lose.

I said, “When do you anticipate a decision?”

Answer: “In a week or two.”

I said, “Oh that’s too bad I am going right now to your neighboring school for my third interview and I am sure they will ask me to sign a contract today.”

No answer (good sign).

I said, (trying to be humble after my bold statement) “It’s too bad, this is my first choice, but there just aren’t a lot of jobs and I have to take the first one offered. I was hoping you would make a decision today.”

Answer: “Could you give me a minute?”

I looked at my watch and waited a second, “Sure.” I left the room and knew that I was one of the final candidates; I thought that at least I had smoked that information out of them. I was in the process with two other schools and knew I had back up choices.

It was a long five minutes, but within ten minutes, I was on my way over to the School Board office to sign a contract.

I did not plan that strategy (I wish I could give myself that much credit). Now in my later years, with accumulated experience, I do understand the game and why I evolved as the winner on that day.

I put it all on the line that day. If I had not been offered the job that day, they would have likely offered it to another person assuming that I had withdrawn myself by considering another position or the fact that I was pressing where I should have been more conforming. (I made over $60,000 a year at my first teaching position.)

That day I learned something and I have used the technique repeatedly. Women have it tougher then men in this arena; it is easy to judge a female as a whiner or worse, the “b” word. Men play these tactile games everyday to show the rule of the roost. If you are going to play “balls to the wall”, consider this checklist.

1) You should have nothing to lose, why? You should have a back up. This means that the game you play is not really the “real” game. If you do not have a back up then you must be prepared to accept the consequences (like one of those game shows to go on to win more money). This is the only way you can “play.”

You have to realize that once you throw it back at them, you have not control. It is the “ball in your court” syndrome; the next move must be theirs.

2) You have to detach from the outcome you can push with a different set of reasoning. In other words, you are giving it a fifty-fifty chance and the thought that it is likely to “not” happen. When you have to achieve a certain outcome, you set yourself up like a victim who “needs” something.

3) You have to be willing to lose everything pertaining to this particular decision. If you are going to stick with a low-ball bid on a piece of real estate, you have to be prepared to walk away without the property.

When you play “balls out”, give an undesirable consequence as the other option; always attempt to take something away from the person in power. This may be as simple as taking their choice away.

4) Your back up is your “need” situation and you should put it aside once it is established. Now you go after what you “want.” Negotiating from this position is self-empowering.

5) The piece of advice is once you make your move; sit still, stand still and be quiet. Wait until you are called upon for the next move. Do not make it for them. This is probably the most nerve wracking and it requires discipline.

Lastly, practice. This sounds weird, but here is a game you can play. Try to get someone to do something that you have no concern over the consequence; in other words, it does not matter if the answer is “yes” or “no”, but you are trying to achieve yes or convince someone to do something that they may or may not take your position. (You have added the element of detachment.)

On being an entrepreneur – NOT – “If you don’t do this we’re through!”

-TRY – “If I can’t convince you then, I will do it myself.” (You took away their power to argue against you.)

On being a mom – NOT – “You are going with me to the store, or else!”

– TRY – “You don’t have to go to the store with me; I’ll pick all the treats myself.” (You took away the power of decision or choice.)

On being a spouse – NOT – “We never go out to eat anywhere nice.”

– TRY – “We don’t have to go out to dinner. What ingredients do you want me to pick up so you can cook dinner?” (You took away the expectation that you were going to do something for someone else.)

On being a coworker – NOT – “I have to do everything around here.”

– TRY – “Don’t worry; I can do it by myself. I need the credit anyway.” (You took away their power to achieve credit or accomplishment).

On being a friend – NOT – “Can you just do this for me one time?”

– TRY – “I wouldn’t expect you to do that.” (You took away your high expectation of that person.)

The right decisions are decisions of manipulation and the right time means that you have forced the choice now or put yourself in a position to choose another consequence. Remember that it does not always work either and that losing does not feel good. If you are going to play the delicate game of manipulation, you will experience both sides of the coin; winning and losing.
You truly have to practice these techniques with words to manipulate as it is called so deviously, or convince as it is more commonly accepted or coined. Another important point is that not all negotiations are equal and that everyone has their breaking point and this is where the Sassy Executive has to use her intuition.

Inspiring Women in Business

Although women have come a long way in the business field in the past fifty years, the vast majority of business people (approximately 85% in 2008) are still men. Catalyst, the not-for-profit New York-based women’s research organization, performed a study in 2009 and discovered that in 1998 11.2% of corporate officers in Fortune 500 companies were women; this percentage rose to a peak of 16.4% by 2005. It has since fallen, and in 2008 it rested at 15.7%. Although this is progress, at this rate, it would take 40 years for the number of female corporate officers to match the number of male officers.

Fortunately, there are women who have played a significant role in industry, and continue to invest in businesses and become entrepreneurs in all fields. There are women in business who have achieved great success, made millions of dollars, and have strived to make the world a better place.

Leslie DeeAnn, owner and co-founder of the Trivani Foundation and Trivani International is an incredibly successful entrepreneur and a prime example of a strong business woman. Leslie DeeAnn started her first company, an industrial chemical business, in the 1970s and was soon supporting over 20 salesmen and manufacturing over 400 chemicals and products for some of the largest hotels, restaurants, universities, and grocery chains in the western United States. After having researched the use of the chemicals her company was producing, she was appalled at how many toxic and harmful chemicals were being placed in everyday products such as cosmetics, household cleaners and personal care items. This mis-use of chemicals motivated Leslie DeeAnn to form a new business in hopes of spreading the message about harmful, toxic chemical ingredients in common consumer products.

In an effort to educate the public and provide a solution for families, in 1987 Dee and her family started a new business in the network marketing industry making safe, effective personal care products. By 2000, Dee’s company was competing with the major companies and bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars. Dee was honoured as the first woman to be featured on the cover of Tycoon Magazine. In 2006, Dee sold her company and decided to devote her energies to creating a revolutionary new type of philanthropic venture, one that turned consumption into compassion. Dee and her sons built the Trivani Foundation which supports humanitarian projects all around the world. All of the financial backing for the foundation comes from the sales revenue generated by Dee’s new line of eco-friendly, toxin-free personal care products and nutritional products-all backed by Dee’s “Do No Harm” guarantee. The business side of this operation is known as Trivani International.

Trivani International’s multi-level marketing structure gives people an opportunity to build a prosperous income for themselves while helping to generate significant funds for charitable giving. Dee and her sons have created the world’s first Purpose Marketing┬« company. Not only is Leslie DeeAnn a successful business person, she is also concerned with women and children’s issues, and she encourages other women in business. Her charitable organization is dedicated to helping save children around the world, and also donates money to women in low income countries so that they can start their own businesses and generate incomes to help provide for their families.

As a leader in business, Leslie DeeAnn encourages women to reach their full potential. The Women’s Information Network (WIN) recently asked Leslie DeeAnn to be one of the inspirational speakers at their International Convention in Los Angeles, California. Trivani is the official corporate sponsor of the event which encourages women to “Be the Change” in their own lives and act as an inspiration to other women as well.