Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Share your vision for the new year

Share your vision with each employee, and be sure to follow it up with action. To make it work, you must stay true to your vision every day. Be consistent. There’s no waffling when it comes to reflecting your style and your brand.

And make it real. Think about how you interact with your employees. Is the way you act consistent with the qualities that make up your brand? Your employees need to know the real you. They need to know the things that make you tick—your passions. When your daily actions reflect the vision you have for the company, your leadership skills will blossom, and every member of your team will be on board.

What do you have in store for 2009?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Torn between two loves….

the comfort of having a job and being happy.

In this situation, I always say happiness comes first. One of my favorite realisms is: You never have to stay in a bad situation. It can apply to any situation and carries a lot of power.

If you are in a bad situation at work, at home or life, you need to make a plan and get out! Whether you’re dealing with a bad boss, a snark, or you’ve simply hit a bump in the road, you desire something new. Start your quest with your head held high, with confidence, and begin learning from your current situation.

Leaving the bad situation may first seem like a setback, but it really is an opportunity to open another door. The memory of this experience will help you build a plan for your future. So, move on! The time is now.

And as Charlie Brown says….

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Incorporating Your Vision into Your Marketing

When creating your company’s brand, you’ll need a vision statement. Some people get this confused with a marketing position statement. To explain, your marketing is external; your vision is an internal message.

Your vision statement works as your game plan. It lets your employees know where you are headed. In the vision statement, highlight what direction you plan take the company in—its future. When everybody is on the same page, it’s much easier to move the company forward.

For instance, at Real Living we started with what I call essence words. We chose three, and I recommend you do the same. We’re all about family, innovation and results. So, we incorporated those three words into our vision statement: To become the nation’s leading entrepreneurial, agent-centric, consumer-focused network of real estate professionals built on family, innovation and results.

From our initial planning meetings to today, our vision statement allows us to share our vision with everyone, and sharing our vision with consumers was done through our marketing plan.

Creating a vision statement takes time. Don’t get frustrated. Just take the time to sit down and really think about what you want your company to be in the future. Focus your thoughts. Try creating a brand board and filling out at Real You chart to help find the heart of your company.

Share your brand boards with us!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The pressure of doing it all and starting a business

If you have always dreamed of being an entrepreneur but feel pulled in a dozen different directions, I have a few tips for you.

If you are committed to making your dreams a reality, you must stop and take some time to focus. I mean really clear your plate of all of life’s demands for a short while. Then, focus on your goals. What are they? Where do you want to go? What kind of business plan do you envision? What does your brand look like?

At this point, it’s up to you, so fire up that laptop or get out your pencil and get started. Record your thoughts and commit them to action. While it’s never too late to get started, there is no time like the present. Good luck!

Do you have an entrepreneurial success story? I’d love to hear from you!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008 Helping entrepreneurs in the developing world “go for it” $25 at a time.

Recently I learned about, an amazing micro-lending Web site for the working poor. Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. It’s an opportunity for people like you and me to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world. These are real individuals in need of funding. Despite their current circumstances, they’ve decided to “go for it,” because they know they can—and they will. Get involved, and you will be helping a real person make strides towards economic independence.

Amaka Okpara, 23, married with one child, lives in Lagos State, Nigeria, where she makes bags that she designs herself. While she is happy because the demand for her bags increases during this festive time of the year, she needs money to purchase materials. Through, she is requesting a loan of $1,200.00 that she plans to repay in eight months. But Amaka is not alone in her quest. In the Shartuz District of Tajikistan, Dilbar Asadova needs money to purchase additional inventory for her small, rural market where she sells food, clothing and personal products. Before starting her business in 2000, Dilbar was a housewife, but after her husband died she needed a way to support their four children. Her goal is to grow the business so that she is the biggest market in town.

These are just a few of the examples of women who have decided to “go for it” as entrepreneurs. In spite of the fact that they live in poor conditions, lack education and the necessary capital, they have found a way to grow their businesses through

You, too, can help. I’ve decided to donate 20 percent of my book sales to When you purchase a copy of Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs from the Real You Incorporated site between now and Jan. 2, 2009, you’ll also be helping women entrepreneurs like Amaka and Dilbar.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Benefit from Networking Events

With limitless networking opportunities, it is important to understand how to benefit from them. Whether it’s online, at a volunteer meeting or at a formal networking event, here are a few important tips to remember.

  • It is critical to network with different people— people who you don’t work with, who are at different experience levels and have different backgrounds. This will help give you diverse perspectives.
  • You have to approach them; don’t expect anyone to come to you. If approaching someone you don’t know is difficult, try practicing. Write it out, talk to a mirror, video tape yourself—whatever works for you. Remember, people respond best to authentic conversation. Have your elevator pitch ready, but genuinely mention your business in conversation.
  • Follow the basic rule of conversation: Give and take. Ask open-ended questions and truly listen. People will remember those who take the time to care. You should be focused on building relationships, not the number of hands you shake.

A simple, genuine conversation between you and a stranger could open many opportunities. Just look at it as building a relationship, not building your business.

For more tips, check out this article on ways to maximize networking opportunities.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Economy have you down? Start your own business.

Does the economy and the job market have you down? Well now is a great time to start thinking about what you are truly passionate about.

This is the perfect time to take a break and think about what you really want out of the upcoming years. Do you want to continue working for the same company? Where do your passions lie? How and when are you going to put your passions into actions?

With the US losing 605,000 jobs in the first right months of 2008 and the unemployment rate reaching 6.1% in Aug. 2008, according to The Center for American Progress, the corporate world doesn’t look so stable. If you are thinking about starting your own business, now is the prefect time to do your research, see what’s happening in your potential industry and fill the voids.

There are unlimited resources out there to help you. and are great sites for aspiring entrepreneurs.

To help put your entrepreneurial vision together, check out the chart creator at

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Marketing Plan is a Must

A well-created marketing plan can provide you with a road map to build and sustain your brand’s identity.

At its most basic level, a marketing plan consists of defining your positioning statement, outlining your advertising and communications strategy, specifying an environmental branding strategy—and creating a budget. If this sounds a bit daunting, you probably need to solicit some help from a marketing expert. But before you make that decision, it can’t hurt to do a little research on your own. Begin by thinking about the companies and brands that naturally attract your attention. Try to identify the common elements in these advertising and communications strategies. In other words, what are the common themes that engage you? You can learn from your competition. Study the messages they’re communicating—and then do it better.

Kathleen Murphy is founder and president of MurphyEpson, Inc., a marketing consulting firm in Columbus, Ohio. She is in the business of counseling her clients about different types of marketing tactics, and she knows that a good marketing plan is essential. Because Kathleen’s company started with a clear marketing plan, she was able to create the company she envisioned, but beyond that, she is able to help other companies achieve success as well. Whether you’re writing a complex, multi-tiered marketing plan or you’ve decided to take a more basic approach, the important thing is to create a plan. Then, like Kathleen, you’ll be ready to move forward with a road map that will build and sustain your brand’s identity.

Marketing and branding are my specialties. To learn more, go to Life Lesson 11 in Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs.