Saturday, October 23, 2021

Black Women Entrepreneur Excellence

The Women's Entrepreneur Leadership Lab (WELL) is a network of Black women business owners that facilitates peer-supported growth by fostering relationships that build community, collaboration, confidence, and capital.  It set out to address the lack of support Black women founders receive as entrepreneurs by banding together and creating a community to support each other.

Data illustrates how far funding needs to progress to support Black women, who accounted for 42% of net new women-owned businesses, while only being 14% of the female population from 2018-19, according to the 2019 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, which analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data, and extrapolated forward based on Gross Domestic Product data.

Learn more to participate and recommend to others.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

The Female Consumer Is Under-Represented in the Brand and Marketing Landscape of Spirits

In Christopher Marquis's research for his recent article on Karen Hoskins for Forbes and her work at Montanya Distillers to make the alcohol industry less of a “boy’s club," he was told that women in leadership positions frequently have their expertise questioned and people mistake them for someone other than a leadership figure.

According to Mr. Marquis's article:

The alcohol industry is known for being dominated by men. For instance, in 2018, only “4% of C-suite positions in wine and spirits were held by women” and women in the industry continue to face sexual harassment and abuse.

At Escape From Corporate America, we hope Mr. Marquis has an opportunity to interview Dr. Sonat Birnecker Hart, President and co-founder of KOVAL Distillery to learn even more how women who are smart, confident and experienced in the spirits industry can and do succeed.

Read the full article:  Women Entrepreneurs Are Transforming the Spirits Industry.

Saturday, October 09, 2021

Forget the Seat At the Table and Just Do the Work That Needs To Be Done

Women often say, “I want a seat at the table.” For many business women, especially business women of color, a seat at the table is a hard-earned symbol of success in a company. 

So, what if instead of longing for a seat at the table, we flip it?  Reflect on what a seat at the table means to you and how you can flip the table to be more inclusive, open, and exactly what you envision it to be.

If you can't do that, I invite you to forget the seat at the table and just do the work that needs to be done.  Go after your own true vision of growth, success, and progress and that might just be starting your own business.  Go for it!

Saturday, October 02, 2021

Stop Waiting For Perfection

Is this you?  

Because I was waiting. I was waiting to have more money in my pocket. I was waiting to be in a relationship, so we could go together. I was waiting until I was thinner. 

After years of putting off her dream, entrepreneur Kristy Carruthers took action and made it a reality, traveling the world and building a successful career in the process.

Stop waiting for perfection and get on with your life.  Take action.  Make it happen.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Take Risks, Empower Entrepreneurs and Work Together

Venezuelan-born Carmen Busquets was a pioneer investor in the fashion tech space, cofounding Net-a-porter and putting her money behind companies including Farfetch, Moda Operandi and Lyst. 

Busquets is also an entrepreneur herself, starting her retail career while she was still studying at the University of Miami and, in the 1990s, founding Cabus, a multibrand luxury fashion retailer in Caracas.

She was particularly proud that Cult, an online beauty retailer founded by two young women in 2007, was well-run — and profitable. Indeed, Busquets’ passion lies in taking risks, empowering entrepreneurs and encouraging them to keep an eye on spending, pursue profit and work together with a sense of mutual respect.

Learn more about Busquets goal to seeing women become the executive leaders that they are capable of being.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

What You Can Do to Attract Funding

Inspired Capital co-founder Alexa von Tobel talks about three ways (below) the entrepreneur turned investor suggests getting the attention of VCs.

  1. Communicate your passion.
  2. Prove that you're ready to learn.
  3. Don't focus only on the money.

Read all her comments here.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Unmeasured Strength and Resilience

©2021 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
Remembering 911, we go back to a post we published about Lauren Manning and her book, "Unmeasured Strength," which is about how Lauren's life on September 11, 2001, changed forever. She tells the story of survival and transformation.

It's only fitting to repeat it.

The photo above is a 911 decal from my Dad's car window.  He passed away in 2011 but I saved the decal and affixed it to a window in my home.  Over the years, the flag's bright colors have faded but our memories of 911 are quite vivid.

Let's all honor the fallen and heroes of September 11, 2001.

Saturday, September 04, 2021

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Turning Limes to Limeade

Here are a few lessons you can learn from 5 global entrepreneurial icons who changed the face of American culture. Despite their early challenges, they managed to make their own way in life. We can learn from their endeavors and find opportunities in the unlikeliest places.  This is an article I [Laurel Delaney] wrote for American Express several years ago yet I still find in inspiring to read.  Hope you do, too.

In going after a dream, exercise unbridled enthusiasm until you achieve it.   So do something unusual to manifest your own latent entrepreneurial capabilities:  start a juice stand, backpack to India or sell a sketch to a neighbor.  

You never know where it will lead.  

Saturday, August 21, 2021

How to Get a Good Night's Rest As a Business Owner During Tough Times

One of the key questions I always ask business owners:  what keeps you up at night?

Being a small business owner and a formally trained facilitator (e.g., Women Presidents' Organization Chicago Chapter Chair since 2003), I decided to take a different approach and asked 20 presidents of small businesses in marketing, interior design, insurance and a variety of other industries what’s allowing them to get a good night’s rest.

Here are the highlights of what they shared. 

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Thought Leaders Who Knew Steve Jobs

©2011 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
Like millions of other people, I have been a fan of Steve Jobs for more than three decades.  Use all Apple products.  Read every book on Steve.  So when he passed in 2011, I felt this inner urge to glean any lessons I could from him. I wanted to find out what made this man so great. Why was he so cool? Is it possible to integrate his brilliance into our work ethic? How can we make the world a better and more inspiring place to live?

In attempting to find the answers to these questions, here’s what I discovered from Steve himself, and thought-leaders who knew him.

Saturday, August 07, 2021

Hire More Entrepreneurs and Grow

What would you do if you were at the beginning stage of an enormous snowstorm that showed no signs up letting up?  Surely, to get ahead of it, you’d grab a shovel and start shoveling or jump in your car to buy the last snow blower on the floor.  Well, in our current economic mess due to the global pandemic, the solution is right in front of us, too.  

Hire the best and brightest entrepreneurs (yes – that’s us!), and put them to work!  Who else is going to try something new that will shake us out of these tiresome doldrums?  

Here are ten things entrepreneurs can do that make them smart power resources.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Never Slip Into Mediocrity

Achieving high performance in tough times, especially during a global pandemic, is a serious challenge small business owners face. The ultimate goal may be extraordinary business performance, but you can still get worried, comfortable and slip into mediocrity. 

For example, many people thought at the start of the pandemic - and this too shall pass.  So they waited.  And they waited.  And then they realized they would be waiting and basically doing nothing for nearly two years.

To obliterate status quo, do you have what it takes to become a high-performance leader even during the toughest times?  Ten traits characterize the people who do.  The key is to never slip into mediocrity and do nothing.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

10 Questions to Ask (and Answer) to Achieve Bold Innovation

I have always felt that growth and profits come from some form of calculated risk.  You, too?

The essence of making revolutionary changes is taking risks. Bold risks produce bold innovation; they launch new products, services, and companies; they improve workplace conditions for employees; and they may even end up changing the world.

Here are 10 questions to ask (and answer) to help guide you and your organization to achieve bold innovation.  This is an article I [Laurel Delaney] wrote for American Express more than a decade ago and it still applies to today's world.

Don’t reinforce the old ways of doing things.  Continuing to take risks is an important part of achieving bold innovation.  

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Think On Your Feet

To profit and prosper in any year, think on your feet, look for fresh conceptual insights all around you and practice a little spontaneous innovation (expression).  It can foster a climate in which we can make a difference and have an innovative impact within an organization. 

As we go forward in 2021, think carefully about your strategy for innovation in your business.  The genesis of every new product, business or service offering is a concept: an idea for something you believe people want and will buy at a price they can afford to pay you for the work needed to produce it.  Concepts can arise out of anything at any time.  I think of it as spontaneous innovation, which occurs in every aspect of our lives.  Some might refer to it as spontaneous expression, and it’s typically a moment that can’t be repeated easily.  

In this article I [Laurel Delaney] present four (4) examples.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

March To Your Own Drum and Beat It With All Your Might

Innovation is such a personal, creative endeavor, but the influence of others plays a big role in helping us succeed. Here I share insights from some of those who’ve inspired me when it comes to developing innovative practices in my business. Perhaps they will have the same effect on you. If nothing else, this article will encourage you to take time out to reflect and work a little magic on the innovation front.

Oh, and at the end of each passage, there’s a lesson learned along with a big question to get a conversation going.

Saturday, July 03, 2021

Happy Independence Day America and Happy 17th Anniversary EFCA!

©2021 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
We hope you are having liberty celebrations across America.  It's a chance to unite with family and friends and appreciate the moment when the Declaration of Independence was signed 245 years ago.  Your patriotism matters and is appreciated.

And at the same time, we celebrate with you the birth of Escape From Corporate America – some 17 years ago – on July 7, 2004.  Thank you for your readership.  Your engagement keeps me going.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

16 Ways to Dodge the Post COVID-19 Crisis

Here's what I've heard many entrepreneurs and small business owners saying repeatedly about what they are doing to dodge a post COVID-19 or any economic crisis.  These tips will help you strengthen your business and the world.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Spice Things Up a Bit

While running your business through the global pandemic, how many times have you been told, "It's not working."  Really.  Think about it. 

Here are a couple of specific examples: You created a whole new way to pitch clients but haven't landed one new piece of business. You launched a new line of shoes and no one is buying them. You developed a brilliant method of allowing everyone in the world who has access to the Internet to connect on a platform to change the world, and only eleven people signed up.

Sound familiar?  Here are five signs that serve as early detectors of total business decay.  This is an article I [Laurel Delaney] wrote more than a decade ago yet it is still relevant to our times.

Bottom line:  Spice things up a bit and make some big bets.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Selfmade

Brit Morin thought up Selfmade under her Brit+Co, which helps people start businesses and make their own money, a little more than a year ago, when she was home-schooling her 4- and 6-year-old sons, and was reading articles about how the majority of jobs lost in the early weeks of the pandemic belonged to women. Economists were calling it a “Shecession.”

More than 1,000 women have completed the program. They range from 16 to 51 years old, and are from diverse backgrounds — stay-at-home mothers, burned-out executives, women laid off during the pandemic. More than half have been women of color.

Learn that anything is possible.

Saturday, June 05, 2021

5 Ways to Get Double-Digit Growth For Your Business

The road to recovery due to the global pandemic is no excuse to settle for status quo or to not push hard for double-digit (10 percent or more) business growth.   

In the article below, I [Laurel J. Delaney] highlight some points in Michael Treacy's book, “Double-Digit Growth: How Great Companies Achieve It – No Matter What."  His insights are still relevant for today's business owners.  The five ways to go after growth consist of:

  1. Get traction with your market share.   
  2. Hold on to your hats — I mean customers!
  3. Leverage market position.  
  4. Move into new markets.  
  5. Commission new lines of business. 

Read on to learn more

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Women Entrepreneurs Must See Opportunity In Every Difficulty

Before the COVID-19 crisis, women-owned 40% of the businesses in the U.S., representing more than 12.3 million firms.

As of 2020, these companies employed nearly 9 million people and generated $1.8 trillion in sales. Last year alone, women started 1,821 new businesses every day.  Of these, over 60% were started by women of color, and Latina women-owned businesses grew more than 87%.

As Winston Churchill once said: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Women entrepreneurs must see opportunity in every difficulty, too.  Now is a perfect time to think about how to create a new market space. Your clients in the past — indeed, the whole marketplace — have changed. 

Take a look at seven areas women entrepreneurs can discover new ways to solve old problems and gain traction in our new world. 

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Your Action, Not Your Words, Gets You Ahead

One of the classic ways to find out what is really going on with a business owner or top-level executive these days is to ask, “What’s keeping you up at night?”  Being a small business owner and a formally trained facilitator, I decided to take a different approach and asked 20 presidents of small businesses in marketing, interior design, insurance and a variety of other industries what’s allowing them to get a good night’s rest.  Here are the highlights of what they shared.

The one tip that trumps them all?  No. 10.

Deal with it.  Don’t think of surviving.  Think of thriving.  Action, not words, says it all.  Imagine yourself five years from now and where you will be.  If you can envision it, you can do it.  And end up sleeping like a baby.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

How to Market Your Global Business Lady Gaga Style

The following is an article I [Laurel J. Delaney] wrote more than a decade ago and I still think it is relevant more than ever coming out of the global pandemic.  It was originally published by American Express.  I am surprised and delighted they had accepted it back then.  The photo that accompanies the piece is a little conservative but hey, you can't have everything!

American pop singer Lady Gaga has taken the world by storm with her robust voice, over-the-top theatrical performances and outrageous costumes. Global small business owners can learn from her without going to the same extremes. 

There are lots of little ways to reposition your business, be different, and have customers take notice of you both online and off. All it takes is a little innovation and determination.

Learn more

Saturday, May 01, 2021

Can SHE Do it?

Hidden Stash, a chestnut colt will be one of the longest shots – 50-1 – when the field of 20 is sent on their way today in what is known as the most exciting two minutes in sports:  The Kentucky Derby. If he were to win, Hidden Stash would be the newest member of the Mount Rushmore of improbable Derby winners.

Here's what makes this race special.  Ms. Vicki Oliver is Stash's trainer and SHE has that chance to put her name into the thoroughbred record books. She is the 18th woman to saddle a horse in the Derby.  And, yes, she is quite aware of the history lesson she could teach if Hidden Stash finds his way to the winner’s circle.

“It’s unbelievable how much work she has put into this,” [Braxton] Lynch [one of the founding partners and the racing manager at syndicate group BBN Racing] said. “She has been doing it for over 20 years. I tell you, it’s not an easy business being a woman. It wasn’t an easy business 25 years ago when we both got into it. It’s hard work. Man, woman, whatever. You have to put in the work."

Can SHE do it?  Race on ...

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Dr. Egel's Guide to Self-Leadership: Become an Agent for Change

Our friend and esteemed colleague Dr. Eleftheria Egel (pictured) talks about the 3 stages to a transformational process, which involve the following:

  1. Stage 1:  Identify who you think you are.
  2. Stage 2:  Unfold who you really area.
  3. Stage 3:  Live meaningfully your purpose.

She says, "Self-leadership will empower you – regardless of your work position to become an agent for change and contribute to the greater good of all."

We are a big fan of Dr. Egel's and very much admire and respect her work.  Read the entire article: First You Lead Yourself!  Then You Can Lead Others!

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Lilibet

With the passing of Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth honored him in the following manner at his funeral today, April 17, 2021:

In a loving gesture to her husband of 73 years, the Queen placed a handwritten note on top of the Duke of Edinburgh's coffin throughout his funeral services on Saturday [April 17, 2021]. The monarch signed the note with the nickname "Lilibet" — a nickname she was given as a child. 

Philip is thought to be the last person who called by her childhood moniker. 

Queen Elizabeth may have lost her husband but she has gained additional love and support from people all over the world for her leadership, courage and strength.  She will never be alone.

We salute and honor "Lilibet" with the duty and public service she has shown her country and the world.   May the Duke of Edinburgh rest in peace.  May "Lilibet" carry on.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Unstoppable Female Leaders

These female leaders in business and noted below in link, guide the way with their motivating courses, podcasts, and transformational advice. 

Working their way from the ground up, they show that everything is possible with a little determination and belief. 

Have a look at these inspirational female leaders and try on some of their ideas yourself.  Then get ready to live an extraordinary life, both personally and in business.

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Who Made It Possible to Make Beautiful Bonnets?

Every Easter, people all over the world unknowingly pay homage to the first woman to obtain a U.S. patent in her name in 1809, Mary Dixon Kies.

A professor by the name of Autumn Stanley believes it was a machine patent which automated the manual techniques of weaving straw with silk that previously enabled women to make hats in their homes. 

Read the entire story on how a cottage industry was born.  

Meanwhile, put on your mask and fancy bonnet, and have yourself a very Happy Easter.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

It's Her Time

Don't we know it.  Female entrepreneurship is skyrocketing, especially in Massachusetts.  What they need more of to grow is the ability to collaborate and share resources.

The Women’s Entrepreneur Initiative (WEI) Study concludes that for them to continue to make gains, women business owners need better access to resources, financing, expertise and networking.

Constance Gamache of Deloitte Consulting says, "Women are the fastest growing, highest performing and most economically underutilized subsegment of entrepreneurs."

Enough said.

We've always known that women need an entrepreneurial hub (or cafe) to share experience, resources, challenges and opportunities.  We have had one going on since March, 2020.  Won't you join us?  It's every Tuesday at 4PM CT.  Everyone is welcome.  Don't let the global part throw you – most of our tribe are startups that have the world as a market on their mind.  See you there because I facilitate the discussions every week.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Female Entrepreneurs Work Every Bit As Hard as Male Entrepreneurs (Maybe Harder)

The story goes like this from 2019.  

Alyson Saxe ran into an old friend at Costco, who – upon learning Saxe had children – inquired whether she worked outside the home.  Saxe explained that she'd founded a PR agency. "My friend said, 'How great! You're a mompreneur!'" recalls Saxe. "'You get to work and have time for your kids and family!'"

Saxe, later, went on to raise north of $2 million for her second company, the brand-management platform IrisPR, based in Phoenix. "I work every bit as hard as male entrepreneurs.  "I am not a mompreneur," says Saxe. "I am a mother. And I am an entrepreneur."

Read on to appreciate how business language – like much other language – is de-gendering.



Saturday, March 13, 2021

May Your Blessings Outnumber the Shamrocks That Grow

©2021 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
"May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow.  And may trouble avoid you wherever you go." – Irish blessing

Saturday, March 06, 2021

Women Entrepreneurs Drive America's Recovery

Women entrepreneurs continue to play a greater role in creating new jobs and economic activity across the country.  Since 1987, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has celebrated Women’s History Month by acknowledging how women entrepreneurs have transformed the face of entrepreneurship nationally.

According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, nearly 12 million businesses are owned by women, generating $1.7 trillion in sales, and employing over 9 million people.  Together, these businesses represent one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy. 

Read more about how women entrepreneurs are driving America's recovery from the global pandemic.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Black Women Business Owners Are at the Forefront of Innovation as Entrepreneurs

Meet the 10 finalists for the first New Voices + Target Accelerators Pitch Competition of 2021. 

Black women business owners are continuing to remain at the forefront of innovation as entrepreneurs and the New Voices team is joining forces with the Target Accelerators team yet again to give ten of these hard-working women the chance of a lifetime. 

Poised and prepared before a panel of business experts, the ladies shared their entrepreneurship journeys for a chance to win between $5,000 and $20,000 in funding for their businesses. 

Winners will also receive business coaching and mentoring from @newvoicesfamily to help them grow and scale their companies with purpose.

To learn more visit, here (note:  this was previously aired but you can get your free passes to check things out).

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Be Real

I (Laurel Delaney and creator of this blog) have the good fortune of connecting on a quarterly basis with Colleen Killen-Roberts, Divisional Vice President of Entrepreneurship at the Edward Lowe Foundation through the global business work I do in their System for Integrated Growth (SIG) program.  

Below Colleen talks about why relationships matter and how to take 5 steps to building stronger ones.

One step in particular resonated with me:

4.  Be consistent — and genuine. Walk the talk. Do what you say you’re going to do — and in a timely manner. Bring the authentic version of yourself, warts and all, when meeting with existing or potential partners. You don’t have to be perfect. But you do have to be real.

So often people don't practice this.  Do you?

Read the entire article, Relationships Matter:  5 Steps to Stronger Partnerships

Saturday, February 13, 2021

The World Needs More Love

©2019 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
"What the world really needs is more love and less paperwork." – Pearl Bailey, actress

Saturday, February 06, 2021

Four Tips on Facing Fears When Creating a Business

Spiritual business coach Ava Johanna overcame homelessness and hardship and found prosperity. Here's her story, plus her top four tips on facing fears.  It's all about seeing beyond your past when creating a business.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Why Is Israel the Best Country for Female Entrepreneurs?

The Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) tracks the global progress of women entrepreneurs and business owners across 58 economies. The US, Switzerland and New Zealand ranked second, third and fourth, with the UK sixth. So what enabled Israel to take the top spot?

Find out from the founders of an Israeli venture capital firm as they tell how they have made it in a man’s world and the ways they feel the status quo could be changed.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Use Your Power to Support Female Entrepreneurs

Two women discuss various ways to support female entrepreneurs. Here’s a closer look at their four tips.

  1. Know the difference between real and performative allyship — and practice the former
  2. Take a step beyond mentorship and be a sponsor
  3. Be an active bystander against micro aggressions
  4. Use your votes and dollars to push for bigger policy and ecosystem changes
Read the entire article on ways to be an ally for female entrepreneurs.

Saturday, January 09, 2021

She Works

The products the women make in Uganda at luxury jewelry brand Akola are sold at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and many other retailers.

Akola means “she works” in a local Ugandan dialect, and it was founded as a nonprofit almost 12 years ago with the idea that sustainable job creation is the only way to get women out of poverty. 

Drill down further to see how through a combination of vertically integrated manufacturing, swift innovation in their product offerings and a strategic business model that includes a combination of for-profit and nonprofit entities, the decade-old brand has been able to navigate the Covid pandemic with unwavering commitments to sustainability and social impact.

Saturday, January 02, 2021

Meditate to Focus in 2021

Meditation is an excellent tool to take your mind off the daily hustle and regain your ability to stay focused.  Here are some tips to regain the ability to be attentive to what is truly important.

Meanwhile, have yourself a joyful, healthy and prosperous New Year!