Friday, December 21, 2007

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Let It Snow!

What a beautiful Sunday in Chicago with all the freshly fallen snow. It's a great day to have fun and be as entrepreneurial as possible. Enjoy!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Do You Hear What iHear?

A good friend and colleague of mine -- Mindy Goodfriend -- is finally reaching the pinnacle of success in terms of what every entrepreneur dreams about: Getting your product featured on QVC.

Her dream comes true Thursday, December 13th, between 5:00-7:00 p.m. EST. The product, iHear, will be a part of the QVC "Practical Presents" Show hosted by Dan Wheeler.

Steve Nelson, co-founder of Cool & Useful Products (co-founded with Mindy), will be demonstrating iHear on the show.

iHear makes driving safer by amplifying the driver’s voice through the car speakers so that everyone in the car can hear. With iHear you can also make hands-free cell phone calls and play music from your iPod.

How cool and useful is that? Watch and BUY, that's all I have to say! And best wishes to Mindy!

Girls With Goals

As I see it, girls with goals turn into real women entrepreneurs. What do you think?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Supporting Budding Women Entrepreneurs

Over 360 women attended the first National Women's Enterprise Day, in the Mullingar Park Hotel, Mullingar (Ireland), yesterday. Aimed at encouraging and motivating women to start up a business, the event facilitated discussions between aspiring and existing women entrepreneurs about the challenges faced when starting up a business in Ireland.

And I love this quote because it applies to all of us:
Businesses exist to succeed but success can only exist with a strategy and a plan to drive it. I would encourage anyone, be they in business or considering a start-up, to believe in themselves as, with this allied to a well-planned business strategy, anything is possible.
Read the short piece here.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Study Debunks Myths About Women Leaders

A major research study released November 30th by Babson College and The Commonwealth Institute finds that woman-led businesses in Massachusetts are strong engines of economic growth, consistently outperforming national and state growth rates for each of the six years that the study was conducted. The Top Woman-Led Businesses in Massachusetts: 2006 Results study found that woman-led businesses are key drivers of Massachusetts’ revenue and employment as well as strong sources of philanthropic activity. The companies reporting revenues in the survey generated $10.2 billion, and together, all of the companies surveyed employed more than 24,000 people in Massachusetts.

Following are key trends that the study uncovered:

* Woman-run businesses continue to grow.

* Debunking the perception that women predominantly run lifestyle or retail businesses, the CEOs in the study lead companies in every sector of the Massachusetts economy.

* In contrast to the perception that women business leaders are risk averse, women CEOs in Massachusetts on average are proactive and more likely to make bold decisions to maximize potential opportunities.

* Women leaders in Massachusetts stand out from their national peers in their degree of education and professional experience.

* In contrast to cost-benefit approaches to management that rely on cost cutting, women CEOs drive profitability through customer relationships, enhanced products/services and higher margin products.

* Nearly 80 percent of the leaders are personally active in nonprofit, civic and philanthropic organizations.

My favorite quote is by Dr. I. Elaine Allen, Associate Professor of Statistics & Entrepreneurship at Babson College and co-author of the study:
“These businesses are among the highest performing in the state and we can learn a lot from the CEOs leading them. They are focused on building strong businesses for the long-term and have committed themselves and the resources of their organization to growth. They take an entrepreneurial approach to business and are not afraid of taking risks to take advantage of business opportunities.”
Read more and download complete listing of companies and executive summary of the 2006 findings here.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Outlook for Women

Bleak outlook for women looking for top positions in Chicago workplace but for women who wish to start and run a business, the outlook is good.

Here's what Hedy Ratner, co-founder of the Women's Business Development Center in Chicago says:
According to Ratner, more women are starting business for themselves instead of trying to move up the corporate ladder because of the resistance they face there.
Read more.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Why It's Time for Women to Lead in America

A hat tip to Tom Peters for turning me on to Vicki Donlan and her new book which I have not read yet so I cannot comment on its content. However, you may read more about it here.

... Donlan argues that women are poised to shatter the glass ceiling ...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Contributions of Women Business Owners Have Long Gone Understated

A new two-part study by the National Women’s Business Council examining the economic impact of both women-owned and women-led firm reveals that the contributions of women business owners have long gone understated. For the first time, these reports include data on women-led firms, where a woman owns a percentage of the business at least equal to any other owner and where a woman or women managed day-to-day operations.

According to the studies, there were over 1 million women-led businesses generating in excess of $300 billion in revenues in 2002, or about 3% of the U.S. GDP. These firms employed 2.5 million employees and paid nearly $56 billion in payroll. Combined, women-owned and women-led (WOWL) firms totaled over 7.5 million in 2002, employed 9.6 million people and generated nearly $1,240 billion in revenues, or about 12% of the U.S. GDP.

Click here to learn more or here to view both reports.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Work Life Balance

I am so tired of issues pertaining to work life balance for women at the top of the ladder. Have you ever seen an article, "What It's Like for Men At the Top of the Ladder? Is work-family balance possible?"

Why can't we focus on just getting things done? Isn't that what entrepreneurship is all about?

Friday, November 16, 2007

It's Not a Glass Ceiling,

It's a Sticky Floor: Free Yourself From the Hidden Behaviors Sabotaging Your Career Success.

I served as a panelist today on the topic of "Going Global with Your Idea" at the Ninth Annual Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Conference at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship. When I was done with the program, I visited their bookstore and found all sorts of new books that I was unaware of.

It's Not a Glass Ceiling, It's a Sticky Floor is one of them. Looks interesting. Haven't read it yet. Check it out.

Here's what Publishers Weekly says:
Forget the old boys' club: women are the ones holding themselves back from top-level career success, advises Shambaugh, president and CEO of consulting firm Shambaugh Leadership. Though more businesswomen are in successful positions of power, they are still lagging behind men at the highest levels: more than a third of Fortune 500 managers and more than half of those with multidisciplinary master's degrees are women, yet women hold only 13% of Fortune 500 CEO positions. This lack of forward motion is due more substantially to women's own career-inhibiting behavior than to cultural impediments, Shambaugh claims. Women are more likely than men to shy away from leadership roles, to get bogged down in perfectionism and to avoid career-boosting changes out of a misplaced sense of loyalty. Through a series of exercises and self-appraisals, Shambaugh guides readers with executive suite aspirations through an evaluation of their own behaviors and skills, gauging which serve their ambitions and which are holding them back. Emphasizing strategic relationships, communication and the elements of executive presence, she writes in an encouraging tone with a refreshing lack of blame, making this a satisfying read for women stuck in middle management limbo.
This is definitely not a read for women entrepreneurs or women business owners. We know better.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

All The More Reason To Become An Entrepreneur

When Valerie Frederickson, a Silicon Valley human-resources consultant, heard Hillary Clinton assert that she could "take the heat" after getting pummeled by opponents in a recent debate, she recalled the times in her own career when a roomful of men disrespected her.

Once, at a national sales meeting for a large construction-products company, a male colleague passed around photographs of her in a bikini that he'd secretly taken on a prior business trip. "Instead of quitting, I focused on being better, on outselling the guys three-to-one," says Ms. Frederickson, who later founded her own firm, Valerie Frederickson & Co.
This is why we started this blog. Go Valerie! Stop worrying about gender and move on to doing your own thing.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Global Entrepreneurship

U.S. Commerce Department and Kauffman Foundation announce public-private partnership on entrepreneurship! The new web resource and symposia will advance entrepreneurship and economic growth in United States and throughout world.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

What's Ahead In Our Brave New Cyberworld

See for yourself. But it definitely applies to global entrepreneurs. My favorite part of this post for the Small Business Trends blog is the Express Yourself video. After all, isn't that what we are doing everyday as women entrepreneurs?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Five Ways Working Mothers Can Carve Out Some 'Me-Time'

Contrary to what this article purports, I believe all women, whether employed at BIG companies or running their own show (business), should create a:

"to stop" list!

Now go carve out time to carve your pumpkin. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Giving Notice

Giving Notice: Why the Best and Brightest are Leaving the workplace and How You Can Help Them Stay by Freada Kapor Klein appears to be an eye-opening book (haven't read it yet) filled with tell-it-like-it-is approaches for solving the current imbalance and challenges us to change our hidden biases in the workplace.

It should be required reading for all corporate folks in top executive positions and especially for those who head up HR or diversity responsibilities! After all, we want to understand why more and more people are escaping corporate America for entrepreneurship.

Freada Kapor Klein (San Francisco, CA) is an internationally noted consultant and diversity expert. She has been quoted in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and on the Today show, Nightline, and NBC Nightly News.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Does Birth Order Matter On Becoming An Entrepreneur?

Do you think it matters whether you are first-born or last (the baby of the brood) when it comes to becoming an entrepreneur?

According to Jeffrey Kluger in a Time magazine article, he thinks it does. It's murky but the conclusion is such that birth order affects fundamental personality traits and we all know that certain characteristics such as the ability to sell something and to take on well-thought-out risks are vital to becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Of all the things that shape who we are, few seem more arbitrary than the sequence in which we and our siblings pop out of the womb. Maybe it's your genes that make you a gifted athlete, your training that makes you an accomplished actress, an accident of brain chemistry that makes you a drunk instead of a President. But in family after family, case study after case study, the simple roll of the birth-date dice has an odd and arbitrary power all its own.
I am the youngest of four children and definitely fit the bill on what Kluger says on later-borns also are more willing to take on risk (I am the only entrepreneur within the family). For instance, research by Ben Dattner, a professor at New York University, shows that firstborn chief executives prefer to make incremental improvements, while later-born CEOs are more likely to make transformational changes.

Read more here and feel free to weigh in with your thoughts. Curious to know whether you agree or disagree based on your birth order or that of others who you track.

Monday, October 15, 2007

No Room for Entrepreneurs

I saved this clip, "No Room Room for Entrepreneurs" by Mary Anastasia O'Grady published in the Wall Street Journal October 8th (available only to subscribers but I just found a reprint of it online at the Hispanic American Center for Economic Research) because I have always been a fan of the work of economist Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950). He was one of the most brilliant minds who ever lived, and had an electrifying personality to go along with it. Without his knowledge, we would never have understood the concept of what it means to be an entrepreneur.

Schumpeter felt entrepreneurs are not moved by a wish to grow rich but rather the desire and will to conquer, to prove oneself superior to others and to succeed by utilizing one's energy and ingenuity to make something progressive happen -- not for the sake of success alone. I really believe in that theory.

But back to O'Grady's fine opinion piece.
In a speech last year to European finance ministers in Vienna, Mr. Schramm explained Schumpeter's fears: He "worried that entrepreneurial capitalism would not flourish because the bureaucracies of modern government and big corporations would dampen innovation -- the process of 'creative destruction' would be too ungovernable for a modern, Keynesian-regulated economy to tolerate." As a result, Mr. Schramm said, Schumpeter thought that "the importance of entrepreneurs would fade over time as capitalism sought predictability from governments who would plan economic activity as well as order social benefits."
Schramm is president of the Kauffman Foundation of Entrepreneurship.

What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Let the Grant Process Begin

The Small Business Administration plans to approve grants for older Women's Business Centers by mid-January, finally implementing a program signed into law four months ago.
In all, there are 98 Women's Business Centers across the country. Last year they provided training and counseling to nearly 130,000 small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
A worthy cause that should never be an issue or in question.

More here.

Friday, September 28, 2007

A Gender Pay Gap Matters

Whether it's in the United States, Japan or Canada, a gender pay gap matters. When you read this, you'll understand why more and more women are starting businesses at twice the rate of men.

Who wants to wait it out -- that is for pay equality?

Friday, September 21, 2007

We Bike Hard For The Money!

Great little article on Rebecca Herwick, President of Global Products (who I know and became acquainted with after moderating a global business discussion where she was as a panelist)!
"I've always been a biker girl," says Rebecca Herwick, who is one of the few certified women business owners with an official license to manufacture and distribute Harley-Davidson novelties, giftware and headwear to dealers worldwide.
Read more about her success story here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Who's A Better Inventor?

If you want to create a really useful invention, you should:

a. Hire men.
b. Hire women.
c. All of the above.

Find out here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Are Male and Female Entrepreneurs Really That Different?

The SBA Advocacy funded paper "Are Male and Female Entrepreneurs Really That Different?," by Erin Kepler and Scott Shane finds that gender does not affect new venture performance when other factors are controlled for. However, several factors -- differing expectations, reasons for starting a business, motivations, opportunities sought and types of businesses -- vary between the genders, and these result in differing outcomes. Such observations should be taken into account when comparing the outcomes of ventures across genders.

The data used for the study was from the Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics (PSED) focusing on businesses started in 1998 and 1999.

A full copy of this report is available at here (immediate download of a PDF file).

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Only The Good Die Young

Entrepreneur Anita Roddick dead at 64.

Our hearts pour out to her family during this sad time.

Anita was an inspiration to us all. Long live her ethical entrepreneurial legacy.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Entrepreneur Carla Eng Keeps Up Success Her Way

Carla Eng has some advice for budding women entrepreneurs: Have a solid business plan, fight adversity and don't give up. Sound familiar?

Read more here.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Dreading 9-5 Clock Watching

Theresa writes:
Dear Ms. Delaney:

Upon reading your article, I was really moved and agreed with being, "A refugee of corporate America."

I worked as an administrative assistant for a private investment firm and left several months ago to pursue my business venture.

The product line is high-end women's t-shirt collection with licensed images of art paintings.

This venture which I felt so very proud of, unfortunately, had to put on hold due to financial reasons.

I dread the fact of going back to my 9 to 5 corporate job but need a steady income.

What do your recommend? Should I seek investors? A business loan?

I would greatly appreciate any advice.

Kind regards
I already responded to Theresa but what are your questions or ideas for her? Thanks in advance and hope you had a good Labor Day escape.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Women Business Owners Work Hard For Their Money

Today’s high-powered women executives make it a point to weave social entrepreneurship into their businesses.

The Women Presidents’ Organization Chicago chapter, recently announced the results of a survey of its members. Those survey results were especially interesting because on the one hand they indicated substantial growth. Eighty-five percent (85%) reported that their revenues grew over 25% in 2006. Roughly the same percent predicted their businesses would also grow in 2007, sometimes up to 70% growth.

Clearly, these are women focused on the top line and bottom line.
Read more at the ever popular Small Business Trends blog and weigh in with your comments if you wish. You will also see that I serve as the facilitator for the WPO Chicago chapter.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hey Wild Women Bloggers, This One's For You

The W Magical List of Women Bloggers

A hat tip to Carolyn D. Townes, an Associate from the W List, for turning me on to the place. So if you are a woman blogger and are not featured, get on it, because they want to keep the conversation rockin'!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Women Build Businesses Their Way

Women build businesses their way. What about you. Is that what you do too? Read more here.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Female Fever

Women. The Mega Niche. The under-served market of all markets. And so on. Just consider the fact that women, who comprise just over 50% of the US population, make over 80% of the consumer purchasing decisions (and in case you're wondering, consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of US GNP). Consulting firm A.T. Kearney estimates that women determine 80 percent of consumption, purchase 60 percent of all cars and own 40 percent of all stocks. No wonder some companies have female fever these days. Oh, and there are more numbers and insights galore on Trendsight, Rethink Pink, Marketing To Women Online and BlogHer. But hey, we were going to focus on examples, so here goes.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Does Nagging Help As An Entrepreneur?

In this woman's biz it does!
Here is how Marla Cilley, better known by her nom de guerre, FlyLady, runs her business. Every morning she rolls out of bed and starts nagging. She sends a first e-mail to her 400,000 subscribers at about 7AM, reminding them to get up and get dressed. Throughout the day she'll send about 10 more e-mails from her Brevard, N.C., home, nagging them to polish their sinks or plan a healthy dinner. She'll also pen an essay or two on topics ranging from the evils of perfectionism to the importance of self-love. Her office administrator will send a few more e-mails, giving subscribers tidying tips. By the time Cilley's last e-mail -- "Please go to bed!" -- goes out at 10PM, her flock has received about 15 messages.

Last year sales hit $4 million.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Founders at Work

Lately I've been re-reading Founders at Work and absolutely loving it even more the second time around because it vividly tells the stories of startups' early days from Gmail (Paul Buchheit) to Research in Motion (Mike Lazaridis) to Flickr where cofounder Caterina Fake (pictured) talks about what it was like for her when she got started and in particular, some of the challenges she had to deal with as a female entrepreneur -- like this one.
Livingston: What kinds of challenges have you faced as a female technology startup founder?

Fake: There is a lot of institutionalized sexism working against women in business and I think that people aren't even aware that it's there. One example happened when we went down to Silicon Valley to meet with a venture capital fir. After the meeting, the VC spoke to someone associated with our company and said to him, "Tell Stewart not to bring his wife to VC meetings." Which was shocking to me, and Stewart was furious about this as well. He let everybody know. "Caterina is not 'my wife.' She is instrumental o the success of this company. Her contributions have been equal to mine."

It takes a lot of nerve for women to face up this assumption -- and the assumption is everywhere, even in some of the most surprising places -- that they don't measure up, that they're not good or tough enough. Twice as much will be expected of them. I hear this from women again and again in business: they have to be twice as prepared as men.

This happens to me all the time: I go to meetings and I've stayed up late preparing my presentation and I've got all my papers in order and know exactly what I'll be talking about and I come to the meeting and a bunch of guys show up and say, "Hey, so what's this meeting about?" They haven't done any of the preparation or work.

Livingston: Do women bring any advantages to a startup?

Fake: I was talking to another entrepreneur, Judy MacDonald Johnston, and she said that women are much more passionate about their businesses. They're doing it less for the money and more because they love it. There's something about that that really rings true to me. Women are able to put their hearts and souls ito it in a way that many men cannot -- or rather, are not known for doing.
Do you agree or disagree with Caterina's remarks?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

No Ceiling For Women, Glass or Otherwise?

Female entrepreneurs thrive.
There has never been a better time to be a woman with the entrepreneurial bug. Businesses owned by women are the fastest-growing sector of new ventures in the United States. Nearly half of all privately held firms in 2004 were at least 50 percent owned by women, according to the National Foundation for Women Business Owners. Between 1997 and 2004, the number of businesses owned by women grew by almost 20 percent, compared with only a 9 percent increase overall.

But are men and women who are trying to build their own businesses playing the same game? According to several recent studies, the deck is often stacked against female entrepreneurs: Compared with men, women tend to start their ventures with fewer resources, less reliable suppliers, and substantially less early-stage venture funding—a critical financial nudge that helps many businesses survive.

Still, there are other avenues to entrepreneurial success, and women seem to be finding them. In a paper recently published in the Journal of Business Venturing, two business school professors, John Becker-Blease, of Washington State University, and Jeffrey Sohl, of the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire, examine how successful women are at getting access to "angel capital," the free-flowing private-equity money that can often make or break a struggling business. In their study,"Do Women-Owned Businesses Have Equal Access to Angel Capital?," the authors use annual survey data from more than 100 angel investing organizations between 2000 and 2004 to compare how businesses owned by men and women fared in their pursuit of investment dollars.
Read more here.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Best Little Whorehouse in Chicago

Two sisters started a business. Here is a story of the city’s most exclusive brothel—and the reformers who shut it down. People claim the sisters -- Ada and Minna Everleigh -- “... were ingenious in how they learned to present themselves.” I guess one would say they were quite entrepreneurial for their time.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Looking For Funding?

Try this new site, The Funded, for entrepreneurs and see what people say about their experience working with VCs.

Check out its media coverage.
Must be a need in the marketplace.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Inside Every Woman

I have not read this book yet but I noticed it hit the WSJ best seller list over the weekend. That's the only reason how it caught my attention. FYI.
It is, however, aimed at women because of the unique and documented bonds between and among women, not to mention the financial power of 6.7 million business owners and $1.2 billion in revenues. Her practical idea? That five promises together ignite 10 different strengths, from passion to female fusion; each strength is accompanied by actions to take, steps to consider, the "promise" connection, plenty of quotes, and a more-than-appropriate case history. The last strength, female fusion, is in reality a structured workshop to hold with 10 powerful women to help further life and work goals. New Age? For sure. But definitely a time and a place to venture into and explore.
Inc. Top 10 Entrepreneur Vickie L. Milazzo, RN, MSN, JD is the founder and president of Vickie Milazzo Institute, the oldest and largest legal nurse consultant certification company. She pioneered the legal nurse consulting profession in 1982.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Are You a Parent Thinking About Becoming an Entrepreneur?

Then you should read The ParentPreneur Edge: What Parenting Teaches About Building a Successful Business. My colleague, Julie Lenzer Kirk, sent me a copy for review and I went through it last night from beginning to end. What a great summer read, especially for parents who are contemplating becoming or are already duo-entrepreneurs. Of all the lessons in life, kids undoubtedly teach us the most. And Julie does a great job pointing that out and making the connection between entrepreneurship and parenting. Find out how to have it all and enjoy the ride.

Be sure to check out Julie's blog and NY Times clip.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fun, Girlie Stuff

It's all about escaping ... and many of these women know how to do it in the coolest of fashion.

Writer and creative director Anne Ream Girl360

Award-nominated women cartoonists -- what extraordinary talent here:

Ellen Forney, "I Love Led Zeppelin" (Fantagraphics)

Danica Novgorodoff, "A Late Freeze" (Self-published -- pictured above)

Renee French, "The Ticking" (Top Shelf Productions)

And even the BIG guys branch out:

BarbieGirls BETA


Friday, July 27, 2007

10 Lessons Learned on Entrepreneurship

Following up on our previous post, I decided to elaborate on No. 21: One key lesson learned. Here are 10 that were shared:

1. We only have one life, hold your dream and make it count.

2. Get the right people to walk the rocky road with you, let the nay sayers go fast.

3. Believe you really can do this well.

4. Dare to be different, never give up.

5. Don’t stop when you get the first contract. Keep selling.

6. Be personally committed to deliver.

7. If you don’t like what you are doing do something about it; it is your life -- only you can make it work.

8. Make certain everyone in the team has completely bought into the vision and are pulling in the same direction.

9. Know your business and what you are talking about.

10. Be professional in everything you do from knowledge to skills to appearance and performance.

Source: National Business Awards (UK) sponsored by Orange. White paper: Observed Characteristics of Outstanding Women in Business.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Observed Characteristics of Outstanding Women in Business

The recently published white paper Observed Characteristics of Outstanding Women in Business found that businesses run by women contribute £70bn to the UK economy and employ more than a million.

The paper which has just been published by the National Business Awards was prepared from a review of the applications of all women finalists of the National Business Awards 2006.

Not surprising, the UK is lagging behind the US when it comes to the level of female entrepreneurs emerging.

Here's a look at what the report covers:

1. Women's representation.
2. Business ownership.
3. Female attitudes to entrepreneurship.
4. Rationale for starting new business.
5. Businesses between 1 & 2 years old.
6. Percentage of managers who are women.
7. Percentage of businesses with NO women managers.
8. Gender gap index.
9. Barriers to women's advancement.
10. Advancement strategies.
11. Importance of success factors.
12. Motivation.
13. The advantages/disadvantages women face in managing a business.
14. Whether it is EASIER as an ENTREPRENEUR woman or a CORPORATE woman!
15. Dealing with over or covert sexual harassment issues.
16. Managing work/life balance issues.
17. Managing and maintaining personal relationships.
18. The Essential characteristics of a successful businesswoman.
19. Advice to a young woman setting out on her career.
20. Other countries/cultures where it is EASIER for women to operate.
21. One key lesson learned.
22. Conclusions (includes a listing of all the National Business Awards finalists!)

And be sure to catch all the helpful resources at the end. What an impressive white paper which can be downloaded here.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Mom Knows Best About Entrepreneurship

After all, she is one.
With a mother like his, no wonder Richard Branson became an entrepreneurial dynamo. Virgin CEO Richard Branson says he definitely inherited traits from his spirited mom, Eve.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Why Do Women Start Businesses?

I covered many of the reasons why women start a business in my Conference Board article which led me to create this blog but Patricia Greene at Babson College asks the same question again along with another critical one:
1. What should be different about education to encourage women to start their own businesses?

2. And so my continuing question to those of you who are starting a business - why are you doing this?
My answers:

1. a. More women role models teaching courses or guest lecturing. When I completed my MBA, out of 31 classmates, I was one of three women in the program. Out of 16 professors or lecturers, two were women. How dull that we could only hear a man's perspective on the business world. What were we, invisible? And by the way, I was the only entrepreneur in the program at the time. All my fellow classmates were employed at BIG companies ... from Abbott Laboratories to Kraft to Motorola. Every time I showed up for a class, I thought, "How boring is this?!" Seriously. All I had on my mind is that I was going to eventually show the world what I was made of and do great things in life. I could not wait to get my MBA, move on and start making things happen. So, in hindsight, I would have preferred more women professors teaching some of the courses and way more successful women business owners guest lecturing. Further, the MBA offered at the time did not include one course in entrepreneurship (in line with Patricia's comments about "everyone was being developed and educated to work in a large, read that very large, organization.") Can you imagine?

b. Offer entire programs in entrepreneurship! Many universities and colleges currently do now. But bring in the women -- whether Ph.D's or successful women business owners -- to teach and guest-lecture!

2. Why I run a business is because I never could imagine working for someone else. When I did, it tormented me that a person who I had no respect for gave me orders or direction and I thought, "This is not going to last very long!" I knew I could do things much, much better on my own and went off to start my own business with exactly that attitude. So mindset is very important in the process of actually starting a business and after that, I think the "change the world" mentality kicks in to fuel the mindset. Beyond that, there are the thoughts of creating your own destiny, doing your own thing, making things happen but the very last thing on my mind was making a ton of money (and now all you read about is how important it is to do what you love and the money will follow -- but back in 1985 when I established my company -- I didn't know any better!). More important than anything to me was being who I was -- true to myself -- and constantly creating value for others to enjoy.

Read Patricia's commentary here. It's fascinating. She has such a great mind.

But what about for you? What prompted you to start your business? Please weigh in here because I noticed that Babson's site does not allow for comments. Correction: They do allow for comments so feel free to comment wherever you see fit. One more correction: They allow comments but they go straight to the author's email box!

P.S. After reading Patricia's commentary, I'm thinking about starting a reality television series for women entrepreneurs! Anybody interested?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What Women Want

An older article yet still relevant. Many women are still tip-toeing the balancing act.
As they approach the top, the pull between work and life — caring for parents, raising children, making time for a spouse — seems to tug harder at women than at men. Balancing the two often means shortchanging one or the other.

Some women do manage that balancing act, although they remain relatively rare.
CFO magazine article found here.

And the article was found at Break the Glass Ceiling.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Friday, July 13, 2007

Boardroom, business, babies or all?

The big house, the beautiful garden, lots of kids, a great job or business, a loving partner, ideal friends, a family to be proud of ... and still be sane? I mean, be who you are, pursue your passion and still be happy?

Some folks, as in this article, don't think so. What do you think? Can you really balance a career or running a business with raising a family?

Photo credit: Laurel Delaney (7/4/07).

Friday, July 06, 2007

Still Celebrating Our Freedom

WSJ's Simona Covel gets tips from Ms. Lexy Funk, CEO of Brooklyn Industries Inc, about tips for small companies looking to outsource their e-commerce. It's worth a minute. Be sure to click on: Outsourcing.

Photo credit: Laurel Delaney, Chicago, IL (7/4/07)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Celebrating Birthday 3 and 231!

Happy Birthday No. 3 to Escape From Corporate America (my photo)!
Happy Birthday No. 231 to America (my husband's photo)!

Now go out and create your own kind of freedom.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Good, Hearty July 4th Reading

Happy Independence Day but we will be back with you soon because on July 4th, we have two celebrations: America's 231st birthday and Escape From Corporate Amerca's 3rd!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bo Derek ... Eat Your Heart Out

We love being a part of a Top anything list and in this case, we are delighted to have made the's Top 10 Women Entrepreneur Blogs. A BIG thanks to Ponn for including us! It's terrific to be mentioned alongside so many awesome women entrepreneurs. Many thanks and congratulations to all.