Public speaking tops the list of fears for most people. It is either more desired than death or closely behind it. I can attest to that cold, lonely, anxious and dark feeling! I do know that you must have some serious confidence to do it. Some people are wonderful speakers and can orate an hour-long lecture without a single note. However, the number of people who can do this is very small. I, for one, am not one-yet. See, public speaking has always been a fear of mine until people began offering me opportunities to speak. I am just now beginning to get better.
It may be time to re-frame the way we think about this. It is kind of frustrating when people say they are not doing anything with their college degree, and that it was a waste of time. Since there is so much demand, and competition for jobs, college is getting a bad reputation. The negative rhetoric can deter the youngest generation from even wanting to pursue a college degree. As I was about to sit and look through some old PowerPoints from my MBA courses, I realized that learning never ends, and it is worth noting that there are several parallels from the college experience that translate to the the everyday post graduate life.
This weekend, I attended the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference with my sister Jasmine. This was such a great conference! I am still on a ‘high’ from all of the information I received. This year’s focus was on blogging which I am engaging in a lot more these days! There were a number of great speakers divided into six sessions. It started at 8:15 and ended at 5:45 with lunch provided. We met some interesting writers that ranged from very accomplished, intermediates (like me) to newbies. There had to be about hundred writers there. There were lots of opportunities to connect with other writers. I even got the opportunity to review a local author’s book. I will post a link to when I am done with a link to his website. The session opened with the presentation of a scholarship to a Hollin’s student who submitted and essay for this scholarship.
Wences Casares teaches us Three lessons about being an entrepreneur. He tells us that entrepreneurship is a calling, time is our most valuable asset, and that the most value comes from doing the same thing for a very long time.
I recently read an article in the Denver Post with the headline, ” Colorado Black Business Owners urged to network, join together“. George Fraser, an organizer of business networking events with FraserNet, Inc. indicated that:
This morning I saw a research study on CBS by Judith Glaser, Founder of Creating WE Institiute that shows male bosses who are married and have wives who do not work, do not think women in the workplace are good enough. Results from surveys indicate they believe the women-led organizations do not run smoothly, women are not effective leaders and they are less likely to promote them. If a woman is assertive enough to ask to run a project, it can be interpreted as aggressive. They feel threatened.
When entrepreneurs have a product that just does not seem to work, we either ask how can we tweak this product, or say we need new business/product idea. When we tweak the product and it still does not work, we revert to needing another business idea. Many times you do not need a new business idea and you do not need to tweak the product. What we need is a business opportunity. But how?
As I continue to grow in entrepreneurship, I have come to realize and value the importance of my time. Have you ever heard the phrase, “He’s a money-making machine”. At first, I really did not understand the full breadth of the statement, but it’s quite accurate. As an entrepreneur, you are truly a money making machine-during working hours and even after. You must constantly engage in activities that keeps your company going-namely increasing company revenues. So you too must learn to value your time. Once you start a business, everybody under the sun wants to “meet with you” to “chat about your business” or “pick your brain”. You’ll come to learn the underlying motivation is to get business from you without reciprocity! Meeting with people is not a big deal, but you will need to learn to pick and choose with whom you meet. Ask yourself if this meeting will eventually generate revenue for your company or are you dispensing time with no ROTI (Return on Time Investment…..Don’t steal it!) Your job as President and CEO of your company, is to increase revenues, or else you and your employees won’t eat. Until you have created a thriving company that can run completely without you, you are the hand that keeps the wheel turning. Whatever you do, whoever you meet with there must be an increased likelihood that it will lead to increased revenues. Otherwise, it is simply a waste of time. Just a thought….
Small businesses are the backbone of the economy. Currently small businesses (less that 100 employees) make up 99% of the all businesses in the economy. They make up 60%-80% of all the jobs created as well. Although, the unemployment rate continues to gradually decline to 8.1 percent, there is still work to be done on diversity and talent development.
We’ve all seen the sign boasting “Under New Management” at convenient stores, assisted living facilities, restaurants, etc. In fact, I passed two this morning. It is almost as if the presence of the sign will cause an influx of new customers flocking to the door to meet the new manager and buy! It is distasteful to see the banners because immediately, I think, “So, What?” .
If you are of a minority population, chances are higher that you have run into a situation where you did not get promoted, get hired or you got fired because of your race. For many of us, this is an unfortunate situation we have to put up with. Many of us have learned to pick up cues from the gatekeeper. You can try to change your personality and mimic the actions of the majority. Sadly enough, many of us give up trying because we feel that which we can not change plays a major factor in the decision making process– no matter how large or small. An accusation of discrimination is quickly covered up by the response of not being “suitable” to the firm! While I am not going to be as bold to say that it works this way all the time, in some cases we are absolutely correct. Today, I receive evidence of this.
I found this question on LinkedIn this morning. I have pondered this a few times before. At first, I was all for it as could possibly level the playing field for schools that are not Harvard, Wharton, or Sloan. Unfortunately, most of the value in these programs lie within the networks as most of the material is the similar wherever you go. So, it wouldn’t really erode the prestige. Now I take the a position which is quite simple: just because one can pass a test, doesn’t mean they are the competent in business; and just because they cannot pass a test, doesn’t mean they are incompetent in business. The system is already saturated with tests. Everywhere you turn, there’s a test. Tests are the new taxes! This only adds an additional revenue stream to the testing industry. I think they are doing well as it is! I believe any business school should require applicants to have post-undergraduate supervisory or management experience, and conduct a “360-degree assessment” using the applicant, his or her references, and at least one person the reference recommends to get a full picture on their ethical behavior. There are too many undergraduates without any experience going into these programs expecting to go into management consulting upon graduation. It is obvious that the hype over income potential is the motivating factor. When tough decisions need to be made, they are easily swayed into unethical behavior. As for an MBAs role in the financial crisis, it was not incompetence. I argue that they people were intelligent enough to get away with it for so long. It was greed and turning a blind eye to unethical behaviors. So a test is not going to really improve much. Improving the quality of candidates will.
CEO Ron Johnson have revealed his plans to transform these store chains and dominate the retail space. His main strategy is to is to modify its pricing strategy to offer three prices: Every Day prices, Month Long Value, and Best Prices. Prices will now end in zero instead of .99 and price tags will only list one price. He also plans to create 100 highly branded boutiques within each JC Penny Location. The department stores will house a Martha Stewart Boutique and a town square that will offer promotions and complimentary services to customers. For the first time, I saw JC Penny’s newly released commercial. You can see it below.
Occasionally, I receive these business related questions. Here is a question that I received last week:
I am absolutely elated to complete the Averett MBA program. So, what’s next? I’m going to sit back and take it all in.Today, I created binders with two years worth of valuable information handle down by our professors. It is a collection of PowerPoint presentations, case studies, etc that has been instrumental in helping me to think through the strategies of each functional level of the organization. I hope to keep them and refer back to them often as I move forward in my career.