Category Archives for "Productivity"

Oct 30

Delegating and Outsourcing Can Be Key To Growing Your Business

By Maria Pesin | Business , Productivity

 

Being a small business owner can sometimes be quite overwhelming.  There is so much to do and not enough time to do it.  Sometimes you are a one man band and have to do everything yourself.  In fact many times you want to do everything yourself because you don’t think anyone can do it as well as you can.  One of the ways to handle this is to learn how to delegate.  There are certain activities you should absolutely do yourself.  But there are many you can have someone else do.  Finding interns who will work for you for school credit is a great way to find an extra set of hands you can assign certain tasks to.

Every business has limited resources, and every manager has limited time and attention. Outsourcing is another option that can help you to shift your focus from peripheral activities towards working on high value activities.  There are companies out there that will help you find professionals to do things like computer programming, bookkeeping, or acting as an assistant.

Upwork.com is a platform for companies to hire and work with independent professionals. They have freelancers from around the world that you can hire and they make the process very easy.  Hiring and training staff for short-term or secondary projects can be very expensive, and temporary employees don’t always live up to your expectations. Outsourcing lets you focus your human resources where you need them most.

Delegating to others is not only helpful, it’s crucial to your success. As you advance in your business and begin taking on larger and larger projects, you won’t be able to juggle all of your responsibilities and keep up with a high standard of work, too. Yes, delegating may take more effort up front, but in the long term, it will save you time and allow you to focus on the bigger, more important aspects of your company.

 

 

Oct 29

5 Traits of a Successful Entreprenuer

By Maria Pesin | Business , Productivity

Successful entrepreneurs have certain traits in common.  If you don’t have them, don’t despair.  You can always develop them.  5 traits of a successful entrepreneur are as follows:

  1. Perseverance – Sir Winston Churchill once said, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” As an entrepreneur, you’re going to fail. That’s just an unfortunate fact.  Not everything you do is going to work.  It is your ability to come back and keeping on keeping on that sets you apart.  In fact many don’t even look at things as a failure but rather something they tried that didn’t work.
  2. Passionate –  Having passion for what you do drives you to continually strive to be successful.  If you believe in your business you are able to inspire others with your vision.  “Without passion you don’t have energy, without energy you have nothing.” — Donald Trump
  3. Calculated Risk takers – Let’s face it, an entrepreneur is by definition a risk taker.  It is much safer to work in corporate America than to go out on your own.  However they don’t take risk for risk sake.  They make decisions based on sound research and evidence.  They test ideas before rolling the dice.  Unlike the former CEO of JC Penny’s Ron Johnson who did a major overhaul on the business without first testing his concepts.  We all know how disastrous that turned out.
  4. Self Motivated –  Entrepreneurs have the ability to do what needs to be done, without outside influence from other people or situations. People with self motivation can find internal reasons and strength to complete a task. Which is important when you do not have anyone to answer to.
  5. Visionaries – Most successful entrepreneurs start out with a vision.  It might be a new product or just a new way to do things.  Having a vision of where you want your business to go it is essential to success.
Oct 26

10 Tips To Increase Your Productivity

By Maria Pesin | Business , Productivity

 

As ambitious people we are always looking to achieve more.  Getting more done in a day definitely helps with that.  The following are 10 tips to increase your productivity.

  1. Work in 90-minute intervals.  Researchers at Florida State University have found elite performers (athletes, chess players, musicians, etc.) who work in intervals of no more than 90 minutes are more productive than those who work 90 minutes-plus. They also found that top performing subjects tend to work no more than 4.5 hours per day. Interesting!
  2. Designate times to handle e-mail.  Being disrupted by emails constantly through the day interrupts your flow.  Instead of stopping what you are doing to respond to each new e-mail, you should consider setting aside a time for responding to e-mails in batches.  I believe in setting aside 2 times a day to review and respond to my emails.
  3.  Spend a few minutes preparing for the next day.  It is a good idea to plan your schedule for the next day before you finish for the evening.  This way you start your next day organized and ready to go.
  4.  Get To Work Early.  As you are probably aware, an office that is empty and quiet will often mean fewer distractions. Arrive to work early before everyone begins flooding the office.  I have found that those quiet times are ideal for getting a lot accomplished.
  5. Set a timer for each of your tasks.  There is something to be said for giving yourself a fixed amount of time to do something.  The pressure of time forces you to be focused.
  6. Complete your most dreaded tasks first thing in the morning. Whichever activity you are dreading the most is probably the one you need to complete first thing in the morning.  This way it isn’t hanging over your head all day and doesn’t play havoc with your concentration
  7. Keep a notebook and pen on hand at all times. This way, you can write down your thoughts, to-dos, and ideas at any time. The key is to get everything out of your head and onto paper. Then your subconscious mind won’t be reminding you about it every other second.
  8. Organize your office. The piles of paper around your desk can be a huge barrier on your productivity. Optimize your time by organizing your office, setting up a system, and dumping the junk.  Keeping an organized office also saves time on trying to find those lost reports.
  9. Three Main Tasks.  Getting the most important activities done in a day is a sure fire way to increase productivity.  Identifying and accomplishing high value activities serves to move the needle forward.
  10. Eliminate potential distractions.  Although interruptions during the workday are inevitable, minimize them to the extent possible. If you have an office with a door, keep it closed. When a co-worker is looking to shoot the breeze, let him or her know that you’re trying to finish a project, but would be happy to chat later. (Just be sure not to brush off any of your superiors.)
Oct 12

What Is The Difference Between Marketing And Sales?

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion , Productivity

The difference between marketing and sales is: marketing is everything that you do to reach and persuade prospects and the sales process is everything that you do to close the sale and get a signed agreement or contract. Both are necessities to the success of a business. You cannot do without either process. If you work to strategically combine both efforts you will experience a successful amount of business growth.

A marketers job consists of identifying the customer and finding the best avenues to reach them.  This can include advertising, public relations, social media strategies, events, pretty much anything that you do to attract your customer.      Marketing is typically a media driven endeavor that introduces your company to prospective customers. Whereas sales is usually human driven, with a salesperson introducing your company to prospective customer. While sales and marketing are different processes,  it’s critical for “marketing” activities and “sales” activities to be closely coordinated.  By coordinating the processes brands learn  to speak with one, consistent voice.  They also form a synergy that increases sales and profits.

The fashion industry finds itself driving revenues through the sales process.  Companies hire salespeople to contact buyers with the goal of bringing them into the showroom to see their collection and persuade them to buy the line.  This is a tried and true method.  But, by introducing the use of marketing into the process a brand creates an attraction  that pulls in prospective buyers who then come into a showroom with an intention to buy the line.  Or at the very least a desire to like the line.

Integrating the two processes increases sales efficiency, eliminates wasted marketing dollars, creates effective sales tools, and increases your pipeline of new prospects.  It additionally educates the end consumer to the product which improves store sell throughs.  So while there is definitely a difference between sales and marketing there are major advantages to leveraging the two together.

 

 

 

 

Oct 07

Ready, Fire, Aim And The Fashion Entrepreneur

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion , Productivity

 

“Ready, Fire, Aim” is the title of a book by Michael Masterson.  Traditionally the term is ready, aim, fire.  Ready was where you prepared, aim is where you directed your product to go, and fire was the execution.  The idea behind ready, fire, aim is that you prepare first, then execute, and then fine tune as you go along.  Analysis paralysis or paralysis by analysis is the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome. A new business idea can be looked at with too many detailed options, so that a choice is never made, rather than try something and change if a major problem arises. A person might be so concerned with trying to make the “perfect” business upfront, that they take forever to pull the trigger.

Starting a business is scary.  You want it to do well and be an instant success.  You plan and plan and continually polish it.  But there comes a time when you must take decisive action with no certainty of the outcome.  Then as you see results you can course correct as needed.

“The Ready, Fire, Aim concept is about velocity, about the profound benefits of moving from an idea into action at the fastest possible speed. But Ready, Fire, Aim doesn’t mean reckless abandon. It doesn’t mean bolting into action before you are ready. It’s Ready, Fire, Aim, not Fire at Will.” states Michael Masterson in his book.  So prepare as much as you can.  But, remember that nothing is ever perfect.  In our striving for perfection we sometimes block our ability to go to market with our product.  I have clients who have spent up to 3 years on developing their collections before ever trying to sell it.  That is a long time.  Perfection is never possible and sometimes really good is good enough.

 

 

Oct 02

15 Quotes For Entrepreneurs

By Maria Pesin | Business , Productivity

 

Here I am in my quote mode again.  Forgive me…I just love a good quote.  They are pearls of wisdom that just inspire me.  Here are 15 quotes for Entrepreneurs.

  1. “Chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you.” —Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO
  2. “Entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something and a want to create.” —David Karp, Tumblr founder and CEO
  3. “I doubt I’ll ever go back to corporate work. Once you see the light, there is no turning back.” —Magnus Jepson, WooThemes co-founder
  4. “Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” —Biz Stone, Twitter co-founder
  5. “The only thing worse than starting something and failing… is not starting something.” —Seth Godin, Squidoo founder, author and blogger
  6. “All humans are entrepreneurs not because they should start companies but because the will to create is encoded in human DNA.” —Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder
  7. “In the end, a vision without the ability to execute it is probably a hallucination.” —Steve Case, AOL co-founder
  8. “Embrace what you don’t know, especially in the beginning, because what you don’t know can become your greatest asset. It ensures that you will absolutely be doing things different from everybody else.” —Sara Blakely, SPANX founder
  9. “What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone. Know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed.” —Dave Thomas, Founder, Wendy’s
  10. “Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me.” —Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post Media Group president and EIC
  11. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” —Walt Disney, Disney founder
  12. “Always deliver more than expected.” —Larry Page, Google co-founder
  13. “Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.” —Mary Kay Ash, Mary Kay Cosmetics founder
  14. “If you’re not a risk taker, you should get the hell out of business.” —Ray Kroc, McDonald’s founder
  15. “As long as you’re going to be thinking anyway, think big.” —Donald Trump, The Trump Organization president
Sep 28

Success Begins With A State of Mind

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion , Productivity

Success begins with a state of mind,  so if you want to be successful start thinking of yourself as successful.  The fashion industry is tough to break into and tough to grow and maintain a profitable business in.  But if you don’t believe in yourself and your product it is almost impossible.  I speak with business consultants all the time.  Sometimes they’re incredulous by how blinded owners are by their companies potential.  They complain that designers all think they are “the best thing since sliced bread”.  Well designers should believe it, that’s their job.  It doesn’t mean they aren’t open to ideas on how to improve and make sure their product is the best it can be. You must back up your success mindset with a collection that has all the components for preforming well.   It just means owners believe in what they doing.

Visualization is a very powerful tool to help you create a feeling of success.  Creative visualization is a mental technique that uses the imagination to make dreams and goals come true. Used in the right way, creative visualization can improve your life and attract to you success and prosperity. Thoughts that have become imprinted as beliefs are part of the subconscious programming.  So by programming your mind for success through visualization you very often create the success you desire.

When you start your fashion brand and while running it you must continually sell everyone on your vision.  This includes your sales people, mills, factories, bankers, and staff.  People will go all out for a company they believe has potential.  In order to sell you need to believe that you are successful at what you are creating.  Without a positive mindset, anyone charged with selling goods is doomed from the beginning. This especially important for small business owners to know.

One of the most common trait among highly successful entrepreneurs is true confidence.  Successful business owners are confident, not arrogant. Confident leaders lead through values and vision.

Sep 25

Attention Fashion Entreprenuers: Sales Is Your Most Important Activity

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion , Productivity

Recently a client told me they didn’t have the manpower for sales.  Yikes!  They really thought that.  What they missed is that sales is their most important activity.  It is not an afterthought.  You must find the manpower.

Not knowing how to generate money is shockingly very common among small businesses. It’s not that the product or service is bad, the problem is a lack of sales. No sales means no business.  End of story.  So why do many entrepreneurs ignore the sales process.  In part it is because many do not have sales experience.  They are excited about the process of developing their product.  But sales is scary to them.  They don’t know how to do it so they are optimistic that the product will sell itself.  Maybe they do a few trade shows or they make a look book and mail it to potential buyers or they hire a sales rep and hope for the best.  They don’t actively and consistently work on sales.

By ignoring or avoiding the sales process you doom your company to failure even before you start.  You should be selling your company from the very beginning.  Don’t wait till your product is finished and polished to the nth degree.  Have a plan in place so that when you open your collection you’re ready to sell.  In fact when I launch a new company I presell it to my potential buyers.  I contact them to create interest and tell them what is coming.  This way when I open the collection they are open to the possibility of carrying my product.  Then when the line is ready I continually reach out to them so that they come and see and purchase my merchandise.

I have launched and built several businesses and I know from experience that I must make selling my number one priority.

Sep 23

Don’t Wish It Were Easier, Wish You Were Better

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion , Productivity

“Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.” was said by Jim Rohn.  Emanuel James “Jim” Rohn was an American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker. His rags to riches story played a large part in his work, which influenced others in the personal development industry.  He passed in 2009 but his work lives on.  His down to earth approach to success is timeless and impactful.  Yesterday I watched a video promoted by Darren Hardy, Publisher of Success Magazine.  The purpose of the video was to promote a Jim Rohn educational program.  There was footage of Jim Rohn saying some of his most famous qoutes.  This one “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.” stuck with me.  I find myself repeating it over and over in my head.

What he means is you shouldn’t wish for less problems, but wish for more skills in handling them.  What it means to me is I should always be striving to be the best I can be.  The better you are the more “high class” your problems are.  Donald Trumps problems are on a way different level than mine are.  This is a man that deals in millions of dollars where I deal in thousands.  But, if I am always working towards improving myself and improve my financial situation than I can find myself dealing in hundreds of thousands, or who knows maybe millions.

This quote motivates me to be the best I can be.  To not be thrown by problems but to learn how to solve them.  I have a belief that I have a circle of influence.  Within this circle I am able to do the things I am familiar with.  However, if I do something outside my circle of influence than I expand my circle and become more skilled and more confident.  My abilities increase and I am capable of more.  This quote really resonates with me.  I am going to print it out and tape it to my mirror so I can read it everyday.  I cannot think of anything more motivating.

Jul 24

Fashion Industry Customer Service and The Human Touch

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion , Productivity

 

Okay this post addresses  a bit of a personal pet peeve.  But, there is nothing I can’t stand more than a company I buy from not having a telephone number I can reach a person on.  Especially when I have a problem.  Or they have a telephone number but you have to research the internet for 30 minutes to find it.  This activity of having only an email address to handle customer issues is off putting and I don’t believe it is good for business.

Using emails as the only interaction with your end customers creates a wall that separates you from your them.  It prevents you from benefiting from the opportunity to deliver an outstanding customer experience.  Outstanding customer experiences is what you should be trying to achieve.  When you delight your customer you not only create a loyal customer but you also gain customers from the friends they talk to about the experience.

“Branding Through Customer Service Over the years, the number one driver of our growth at Zappos has been repeat customers and word of mouth. Our philosophy has been to take most of the money we would have spent on paid advertising and invest it into customer service and the customer experience instead, letting our customers do the marketing for us through word of mouth.”
― Tony Hsieh, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

Recently I was at Chase Bank making a cash deposit.  I was at the teller drive up and was told no less than 3 times I could make the deposit at the ATM machine.  I did not want to and explained why to the teller.  She told me that Chase wants their staff to encourage people to use the machine.  Wow, what a way to make the banking experience even more impersonal.  It makes me wonder what the management is thinking when they are telling their customers they don’t want to interact with them.

So the moral of this post is:  Have a live persona who is knowledgeable, friendly, and empowered to find solutions handle all your customer service and watch your business grow.