How I Overcame Losing One of My Biggest Customers

By: Kara Goldin

As an outsider in the beverage industry trying to find a way to reach more consumers, landing my product in Starbucks stores was a huge win. It also seemed like a natural fit, as Starbucks at the time was looking for healthier bottled drink options.

The partnership was initially planned to start with a limited launch of our blackberry flavor in 500 stores, which would have been significant for us at the time. But, shortly before launch, Starbucks decided to go even bigger, placing our product in 11,000 stores across the country.

I was ecstatic, but we had a major operational hurdle to overcome: Before selling to Starbucks, we had to actually produce the product and get it ready in time for each major shipment. That also meant we had to pay for each large order up front.

It was stressful, but we were eager for the opportunity to share hint water with a wider audience — so the team and I rolled up our sleeves and made it happen.

The difference one call can make

Things were going great as new consumers began to discover and enjoy our product for the first time. We had set up weekly sales goals that we consistently surpassed. This is how it went for about a year, and I felt like we had settled into a great rhythm.

Then, as we were preparing our next huge order for shipment, I got the shock of a lifetime. Starbucks called and said that it had shifted its business strategy and would begin filling its cases with more food and fewer beverages. Our product would be removed from stores within a week.

Read more here.

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NWBC Celebrates National Women in Small Business Month

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By the National Women’s Business Council

In celebration of National Women in Small Business Month, the NWBC recognizes their partner, the U.S. Census Bureau, in advocating for women-owned businesses. In 2012, the Survey of Business Owners (SBO) found that there were nearly 10 million women-owned business in the United States, that generated over $1.4 trillion in sales and employed over eight million people. 

At the NWBC, we know that we cannot count what we do not measure. Sound policy initiatives and recommendations that improve the economic climate for women-owned firms are founded in reliable data and impactful research that drives actionable change. To do this, the NWBC relies on the U.S. Census Bureau’s SBO and Annual Survey of Entrepreneur (ASE) data to portray the state of women’s entrepreneurship and the impact that they have on the U.S. economy.

On September 20, 2018, the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), in collaboration with the U.S. Census Bureau’s Center for Administrative Records Research and Application (CARRA), held the first ever federal government’s Demographics of the Entrepreneur & Self-employed Research Symposium. This day-long event convened nearly 100 researchers and experts from across the country to explore topics related to entrepreneurship through the lens of gender, age, race, and ethnicity.

“Since the business census began counting women-owned businesses in 1977, the U.S. Census Bureau has been a partner to NWBC. It was when the Census Bureau began counting women-owned businesses that lawmakers began referring to women businesses as the sleeping giant of the U.S. economy” said NWBC Chair Liz Sara during her opening remarks. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the U.S. Census to ensure that the tremendous economic impact of women-owned businesses does not go unknown or unrecognized”.

To read more please visit: The National Women’s Business Council’s Website

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About National Women’s Business Council

The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) is a non-partisan federal advisory council created to serve as an independent source of advice and counsel to the President, the Congress, and the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) on issues of impact and importance to women business owners, leaders, and entrepreneurs. To learn more about NWBC, visit www.nwbc.gov

6 Globally Successful Female Entrepreneurs Who Started Out Late in Life

By: Peter Meinertzhagen

In the modern world of global commerce, youth is often seen as the key to success in business — with the idea that younger generations can bring fresh ideas and impetus to the boardroom table.

But, did you know that Vera Wang didn’t even sell a dress until she was 40? Or that Martha Stewart was 56 before achieving ultimate business success after the consolidation of her media focused business interests?

There is plenty to be said for a more experienced head in the business world — and some of the most successful female entrepreneurs have enjoyed prosperity later in life.

With this in mind, we compiled a list of six globally accomplished businesswomen who achieved global business success much later in life.

Read more here.

Take a Break; Refuel Your Focus

By Mary Wallace Jaensch, Chief Design Officer, Last Big Gig

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“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes… including you.” – Anne Lamott, novelist

When was the last time you unplugged from work? Really unplugged—no emails, phone calls, or texts? Perhaps the real question should be: Have you ever unplugged from work?

Unfortunately, many of us think that if we just work more hours, work harder, and work longer, that we will be more successful. But many studies, including one from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, show that even brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve focus and productivity.

Experiment for yourself. Start small. The Pomodoro approach encourages you to take 5 minute breaks every 25 minutes, and over time, practice unplugging for longer times. See how much more clearly you feel after a break. Are solutions clearer? Have you found an easier way to do things? Give your brain the space it needs, in order to get to the success you want.

  1. Commit to unplugging. Whether you do it for 15 minutes a day, 1 day a month, an extended vacation, or all of the above—make a commitment to schedule “unplugged” time (no emails, phone calls, or thinking about work) for the next 90 days. Spend this time in relaxing
  2. Take a fresh look. After your unplugged time, spend a few minutes considering what you are doing, how you are doing it, and what you want. Brainstorm some new ideas on how you might do things more easily, better, or faster; and make a list of the ideas you want to
  3. Direct revitalized Bring your clear mind and fresh ideas to the table to ramp up your career and success. Watch how scheduled, frequent unplugging can actually help you stay more focused and get you ahead faster.

 

California Moves to Mandate Female Board Directors

By Vanessa Fuhrmans and Alejandro Lazo, WSJ 

California state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, a Democrat, says women’s insight ‘is critical to discussions and decisions that affect corporate culture, actions and profitability.’
California state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, a Democrat, says women’s insight ‘is critical to discussions and decisions that affect corporate culture, actions and profitability.’ PHOTO: RICH PEDRONCELLI/ASSOCIATED PRESS

California legislators on Wednesday passed a bill that requires major companies based in the state to put female directors on their boards.

If the bill is signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, publicly traded companies based in the state will need to have at least one woman on their boards by the end of next year and, on boards of five or more directors, two or three women by the end of 2021, depending on the board’s size. Those that don’t would face financial penalties.

The bill passed the state Assembly in a 41-21 vote. It is now headed to the state Senate, which approved an earlier version of the bill and is expected to approve the measure again there before it heads to Mr. Brown, who hasn’t indicated his position.

“One-fourth of California’s publicly traded companies still do not have a single woman on their board, despite numerous independent studies that show companies with women on their board are more profitable and productive,” said state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, a Democrat representing Santa Barbara. “With women comprising over half the population and making over 70% of purchasing decisions, their insight is critical to discussions and decisions that affect corporate culture, actions and profitability.”

The measure, which was opposed by several business groups, could accelerate the diversification of boardrooms around the country. The U.S. has no federal requirement for female representation on company boards and no other U.S. state has successfully pushed such a mandate. California’s move follows similar legally binding quotas that have been set in several European countries.

Opponents of the mandate, led by California’s Chamber of Commerce, argued that while they agree with the legislation’s intent, a quota based solely on gender takes into account only one element of diversity and would violate the U.S. and California constitutions because it could conceivably put companies in the position of turning down a male board candidate or displacing a male board member based on his sex.

The legislation itself provides for creating an extra board seat to accommodate a new female member instead of removing a man already on the board.

Countries including France, Germany and Italy have enacted more stringent mandates for women on corporate boards in recent years. In the U.S., even some staunch advocates of boosting the numbers of female directors have been reluctant to endorse board quotas.

Read more here.

Retirement Plans That Maximize Company Tax Savings What Is A “Combination Plan” And Is It Right For My Company?

By Sheree Tallerman, CEO PlanPerfect, Inc. 

Retirement plans fall into one of two categories: Defined Contribution Plans and Defined Benefit Pension Plans. Defined Contribution Plans, also known as retirement savings programs, cover a broad range of programs such as Profit Sharing and 401k Plans. These types of programs allow owners and employees to make contributions that are allocated to individual participant accounts. They generally favor younger employees who have a longer time horizon until retirement.

Defined Benefit Pension Plans come in two varieties: Traditional, and Cash Balance Pension Plans. Both promise participants a specific monthly lifetime benefit amount at retirement. Contribution amounts are calculated and adjusted annually to ensure that the target goal is reached. Contributions for all the plan participants are kept in a single account or “pool” that is used to pay the promised benefits. These types of plans tend to favor older, highly compensated business owners, partners and key employees who are in their peak earning years with a shorter time to retirement. They offer a way to quickly increase retirement plan assets.

A combination of these two Plans, referred to as a “Combo Plan,” can accomplish both a significant tax deduction and wealth accumulation objective in a way that a standalone defined benefit or standalone profit sharing plan cannot.

This highly sophisticated plan design layers a 401(k) Profit Sharing Plan together with a Cash Balance or traditional Defined Benefit plan, helping owners significantly reduce their taxes while hyper-funding their trust accounts.

Combining these Plans also allows you to maximize the benefits for owners and highly- compensated employees, and at the same time provide a minimum type of benefit formula to younger employees.

Combo Plans work best in the following situations:

  • Owners or Principals looking for a tax-deduction of more than $61,000 or are making more than $275,000 per year
  • Successful businesses with stable profit streams for companies of all types and sizes
  • Older, highly compensated owners who need to compress 20 years of savings into 10
  • On average a younger group of employees

Below is a sample of how a Combo plan design compares to ordinary retirement plans:

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Under the right circumstances, Combo Plans can produce dramatic tax savings for the employer while allowing the business owner and/or key employees to receive significant retirement benefits.

Pivot Points And Male Allies: How Women Create Winning Career Plans

By: Key4Women

Key4Women recently spoke with highly acclaimed leadership trainer and executive coach Julie Kratz on promoting gender equality in the workplace and helping women work through their “what’s next?” moments. After nearly two decades of managing
teams and producing results in corporate America, she experienced her own career “pivot point.” She now concentrates on helping women leaders create successful career strategies and working with organizations to develop women leaders and foster inclusiveness.

Julie holds an MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and is a Certified Master Coach. She is the author of Pivot Point: How to Build a Winning Career
Game Plan and ONE: How Male Allies Support Women for Gender Equality. Recently, she led a successful Key4Women Leadership Coaching for Women program in Indianapolis.

What’s next?

It’s a question countless women ask every day. “Many women reach a pivot point in their lives and they’re thinking about something new,” Julie said. “Maybe they want to
start a business, consider a new position or change career directions. But doubts are holding them back. They worry that they’ve never done a particular job before, they won’t make enough money, or the learning curve will be too steep. They need to find the confidence to take the next step.”

Read more here.