Women Entrepreneurs Getting Back on Track, Part 1 - Assessing the Cause

Life is a continuum - so change is inevitable. In the life of a female entrepreneur, then, this inevitability affects her not only personally, but also professionally. While some change results in higher profits and greater personal and professional satisfaction, other change may result in a situation that drains a business owner's resources and leaves her feeling unsure about the best next step for her business and for herself. This shift also may result in another shift: a previously content and confident business owner, living as her ideal entrepreneurial type, transforms into an entrepreneurial type that simply doesn't fit.

Based on professional market research of more than 3,500 women in business, this study shows that each type of business owner has a unique approach to running a business and therefore each one has a unique combination of needs. When a woman is living as her ideal entrepreneurial type, she feels satisfied, personally and professionally. This article outlines three of the main circumstances that may cause a woman previously living as her ideal type to transform into a less-than-ideal type - and provides advice for changing these circumstances so they can work their way back to ideal.

1. The business started undercapitalized and acquired more debt than can comfortably be carried given current revenue levels. One reason companies acquire debt in the early years is that, although the entrepreneur had some money set aside, their business did not hit its revenue projections on time. The result: the cash ran out before the revenue kicked in. Some women who fall into this category are savvy businesswomen who had previously run large corporate budgets, and were confident and accurate in determining the costs of running the business. However, when they projected how quickly sales would occur and money would come in, they were overly optimistic. They struggle to add more customers, watching their cash reserve run out, ultimately having to decide whether or not to go into (more) debt to keep the business afloat. Many of them end up making that investment because they have hopes for the business and they feel confident it will be profitable eventually.

Advice: Business owners must look at two aspects of the business financials right away to assess whether or not their business model is going to be profitable enough to help them transform back into their ideal entrepreneurial type. She should ask herself: Is it possible to make enough money with the existing model, and if so, what should she focus on immediately to create the best possible chance for the business to survive and thrive?

Entrepreneurs need to assess how much money they can realistically expect to come in, and how much is realistically going out. Revenue and expenses, when viewed together, paint a vivid picture of how successful the business will be. If an entrepreneur discovers that by the time her expenses go out (mortgage/rent, phone, Internet, groceries, doctor's visits, etc.), she is barely squeaking by, she can manipulate her business model to increase her income. Whether she increases her hourly rates or increases the number of billable hours she works each week, she can create concrete plans for increasing her income - using real, solid numbers.

2. Fluctuating business environments drove the profitability out of the business, and the business owner finds herself struggling with cash flow, revenues and/or business cost challenges. For example, a brilliant and successful entrepreneur who established a niche in marketing specialty products grew her business successfully until "me too" companies started chipping away at her market share. Increasing competition took away some of her business.

Advice: If a business owner believes that something outside of her control has caused her to shift into a less-than-ideal entrepreneurial type, she must adapt accordingly - while focusing on cash flow, and possibly reinvesting in the business to give it the jumpstart it needs. To accomplish all this, she must set goals and then create specific, step-by-step action plans for achieving each goal.

This owner of the specialty products marketing company began marketing existing products to new niche markets, and started diversifying into other fields via new divisions that were related to the initial niche. Entrepreneurs should keep in mind that momentum will build as they begin to achieve their goals. The key is to prepare to act by choosing the right focal points and then succeed in those specific areas.

3. The business owner is moving in too many directions at once. In some cases, a female entrepreneur has been successfully running her business for some time, and she decides to branch out. Her ultimate vision encompasses multiple streams of income and she tries to activate them all at once. This approach can be counterproductive in the short-term because the lack of a singular focus can make it difficult for her target market to understand her business model. In cases such as these, it is not possible to build marketing and sales efforts for such diverse income streams simultaneously.

Advice: Every entrepreneur, especially one who is struggling because she is not living as her ideal type, should examine her business concept, and her business model to ensure that her company in its current state can make the profit she needs. This will help her nail down a specific focus for getting back into her ideal type. When considering business concept, entrepreneurs may want to develop a one-sentence "catch phrase" to respond when someone asks, "What does your business do for people?" The key is to highlight a singular line of work, plus exactly what benefits customers can expect from using the business. For example, a business coach may say, "In my business, we're experts at helping business leaders be more effective, so they can make more money with less stress." In this statement, she has said who she helps (it's deliberately open-ended to include a variety of business leaders), and what she does for them (helps them make more money with less stress). When considering business model, entrepreneurs must determine whether their customers would want to buy their product or service in the form in which they're selling it. Maybe a business was running smoothly for years with the same business concept and business model - but with changes in the economy, it is not as profitable. In cases like this, a business owner can assess whether she could make focused minor or moderate changes to her business model to offer her services or products in a way that makes sense, now.

Change happens, always. The way a woman business owner reacts and adapts to change defines whether her company will simply survive or begin to thrive. By following the above advice during three common sets of circumstances, female entrepreneurs will hold the power they need to live their ideal type - and to find personal and professional satisfaction.

Middle Age Togetherness Proves the Importance of Togetherness For a New Age

Next week, I officially become a "woman of a certain age" or in her late forties. A lot has happened to radically change my life over the past year and it gives me pause for thought about how I want spend the second half of my life...

I've always been a big believer in the 'common good' and being true to yourself. Given that we are daily at risk of tripping over into a Moral Abyss, I tend to check my moral compass daily, be it in my personal or professional life.

In my formative years, I became involved in what has become a life-long commitment to work with others to improve peoples' lives and environment. What challenges me nowadays is that I that I want to continue these efforts as an entrepreneur. How to balance the pursuit of profit as a woman business owner, with 'making a difference'.

Ideas of 'empowerment' and 'citizenship', of achieving the greatest benefits for the greatest amount of people, through combined team effort is one of the ethical decisions I have made in my business.

I am not alone it seems, Price Waterhouse Coopers recently undertook research about the effects of the recession on women and found: "The research that we have done on women in the recession shows that 72 per cent say that it has got them thinking about a new start," she says. "And nearly half of them want to shift into a small business or a social enterprise". (Dame Julie Mellor quoted in the Times Online)

Collaboration is a survival strategy amongst entrepreneurs, especially in times of economic challenge in order to 'raise the boat for everybody'.

Lofty business ideals, maybe. I certainly don't lay any claim to easy answers.

I recently heard a speech from eminent philosopher and author, Mr Michael Sandel. I was gripped. How to express that it could be ok for people to make money and not burn the earth or each other in the process had been on my mind for weeks... He offered me some comfort I was heading in the right direction.

If my business entails sharing ideas on how people can achieve dreams of wealth, I need to be clear that this is indeed a 'worthy' goal, given the belief I wrestle with about money 'being the route of all evil'.

Professor Sandel called economics "spurious". This seemed counter-intuitive to me. I had been listening to debates on taxation, inflation, employment and economics on the radio for years; I thought I was gradually figuring out how we all fit into place with these big systems; I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Knowing that he was wiser than me, I turned the radio up and listened - my practical business activities could wait! This was far too important.

What he was getting at, was that economists tell us what we SHOULD be doing for the health of the economy: GDP, employment, inflation and so forth (work harder, for longer hours, accept high taxation, etc) - as if it was all about the Economy and money. But all of these subjects are MORAL and political issues; they have to be weighed up in terms of justice, fairness, ecology and so on. We, the community, has to have their say in order to discover ways to go about our daily life which enables the future of our communities, our families AND our environment to be secure...

The role of economics is merely to inform us of what might be the practical results of our decisions, no more than that. The crucial words here: 'might be'. We are still learning all of the time, because the world is constantly evolving, as we learn new things about our world on a daily basis. Answers are not carved in stone!

So, if our everyday behaviour as individual local citizens and even nations of people and international communities effects the balance of payments, distribution of welfare, health of the planet, the future of all living beings, for instance, then there are ethical implications of ignoring getting involved with each other in subjects about which we care passionately. In other words, "If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem".

When I worked for other people in the past, we shared the same ideas to some degree, but quite often the politics of different personalities and value systems working closely together could get in the way of positive results. In the words of my all time favourite song-writers, Neil Peart and Geddy Lee: "Glittering prizes and endless compromises shatter the illusion of integrity."

So now here I am, a mature woman, a newbie woman business owner; I get to CHOOSE whom I work with. I select my team carefully. If I am not convinced that they want to raise the bar for themselves and others, then I really have little interest in supporting them. It's just not how I want to live my life. Fortunately, there are plenty of would be business owners out there who will.

I set out in my working career in paid jobs working alongside or on behalf of communities in the belief we were changing lives for the better. I am still that person. Nowadays my methods are different, but the purpose remains. There's hardly anything more exciting to me than hearing from someone who wants to change their own life, but who also has big dreams.

Some might say that knowing how the world really is, is depressing and de-motivating. Not for me! I know what change is possible when people work together; the trick is finding the right people to do the job and who want the same results. I always did like a challenge! Hope, combined with action and combined effort are the only way any of us will achieve success and fulfil our dreams.

I want more and better for more people and planet and I intend to build a team who feel the same. So what about you? What would you change if you had the economic power to do it?

I go into this subject in more depth in my blog and would really appreciate hearing others views on their aspirations beyond making money and having a successful business and how you intend to fulfill those ambitions.

Best of the Janes - Getting Back on Track

While any female entrepreneur who has experienced a setback in her business will ultimately take a multi-pronged approach to getting back on track, certain specific elements of the rise to ideal apply differently to each entrepreneurial type.

A recent study reveals there are five distinct types of women in business. Based on professional market research of more than 3,500 women in business, this study shows that each type of business owner has a unique approach to running a business and therefore each one has a unique combination of needs. When a woman is living as her ideal entrepreneurial type, she feels satisfied, personally and professionally. This article outlines six ideas for jumpstarting cash flow following a business setback.

Most women business owners who have experienced a setback are living a Tenacity Jane phase. Tenacity Jane is an entrepreneur with an undeniable passion for her business, and one who tends to be struggling with cash flow. As a result, she's working longer hours, and making less money than she'd like. Nevertheless, Tenacity Jane is bound and determined to make her business a success. At 31% of women in business, Tenacity Janes make up the largest group of female entrepreneurs. Typically, a woman business owner becomes a Tenacity Jane for one of five reasons: she has a craft or skill, but lacks business knowledge, the business started undercapitalized or acquired more debt than can be comfortably carried at current revenue levels, she doesn't charge enough for her services, she lacks focus and is trying to accomplish too much all at once, or something has changed in the industry or cost structure that has caused a once-prosperous business to falter financially.

To move forward from a Tenacity Jane phase, a woman business owner must:

1. Invest in her own knowledge. New knowledge can be the key to jumpstarting profitability. Even if she is an expert in her craft, she may not have the knowledge she needs to run a successful business. Odds are, she recognizes where she can improve her knowledge for the betterment of her business. An entrepreneur can create her own training plan or she can hire someone with expertise to fill in the gaps. Whether she reads books, buys home study courses or attends live classes, an entrepreneur who builds her knowledge base dramatically increases her chances of boosting her profit. Some areas where she may need new knowledge: marketing (specifically, email marketing, social networking as a marketing tool, etc.), financial management, team building and delegation, and project and time management.

2. Identify her target market and its needs, and then market accordingly. By surveying her existing customers, a female entrepreneur can get an inexpensive and very accurate picture of which of her products and services are most in-demand, and of the profiles of the people who are using them the most. Then, she can market to similar people, thus increasing her chances of attracting ideal clients who need (and will pay for) her services.

3. Evaluate her pricing and raise it, if possible. Whether she "started low" to win business and never raised her rates, or she over-estimated her profit margin, it never hurts for an entrepreneur to evaluate how her pricing compares with that of other similar professionals in her area. She can send surveys to existing customers, asking them about industry pricing, and call competitors and ask for a price sheet. Also, by evaluating her costs and margin, she can determine whether she could increase her margin slightly and therefore increase her profits. When considering hourly rates, a female business owner should remember to include the cost of taking time off for vacation, and the time she spends working non-billable hours marketing, paying bills, etc. She should consider what each project or unit is worth to her - and create a guideline for herself about how much she has to charge to feel properly compensated.

4. Network. By networking with other like-minded professionals, a woman business owner creates opportunities for a support system in which she can share ideas and information, and for getting word of mouth referrals. Also, networking provides chances for affiliate relationships, in which two professionals who offer related services market their products together.

5. Upsell. Business owners can drive profit fairly easily with a little extra work through consistent upselling. In this sales approach, every time someone buys from the entrepreneur, she offers them a chance to pay just a little bit more for an expanded service or an augmented product. For example, if she sells a necklace, she upsells to include a fancy jewelry box. If she sells an information product, she upsells to a continuity product such as a newsletter.

6. Communicate regularly with information and offers. Every business owner probably has a list of prospects and current customers. A female entrepreneur must recognize that the more frequently she communicates with her prospects and customers, the more frequently she'll be on their minds - increasing the likelihood that they'll buy from her! Business owners can employ (almost) effortless marketing methods for communicating regularly, such as social networking, blogging and newsletters.

It is common for a business owner to experience a setback within her company. Fortunately, by following specific steps and guidelines, and by using the six cash flow jumpstart strategies listed above, a female entrepreneur can overcome her setbacks and be on her way to living her ideal entrepreneurial type and enjoying her successes.

3 Clever Ways Creative Women Entrepreneurs Can Finally Get Organized!

If you're a creative woman entrepreneur then chances are good you've labeled yourself as someone who just can't seem to get, or stay, organized. Popping up with new ideas for your business or about how to help people? Easy! Figuring out a filing system or how to get those piles of paper up off your floor? Ugh...well, that's a different story now, isn't it?!

What organized people don't understand about creative souls is that the thought of being organized seems to be in conflict with our creative spirit.

Accurate or not, creative types feel that if everything is neat and tidy then their creativity will be contained as well.

Well, I'm about to bust that myth because I am a both highly creative AND organized woman business owner. In fact, it's when my papers, email and office are the most organized that I am the most creative.

So how do I keep both ideals-creativity and order-in harmony? The answers are easier than you might think.

Here are three simple tips I use to keep my creative muse inspired and my office organized:

Creative Organizing Tip #1: Make Space

Creativity requires space. For me, that means space in my physical environment as well as a feeling of spaciousness in my body. If you want to create success in your woman small business then it makes sense that you'll need space to accomplish that.

ACTION: Pick another room, closet or garage and move everything that is piled up on the floor there now. Deal with it later but for now, enjoy the space you've just created.

Creative Organizing Tip #2: Make the System Match YOUR Creative Flair!

Creative women entrepreneurs hate being hemmed in by someone else's system. Solution? Customize the system to match YOUR style, not the other way around! Use lots of bright colors for your files. If following the traditional A-B-C filing order isn't your thing, then file in a way that matches YOUR creative flair.

ACTION: Pick an area of organization that feels difficult. What would brighten it up or make it feel more playful for you? For example, I eschew lots of folders in favor of three-ring binders that I decorate using inspiring images and motivational phrases. Binders keep my office neat and tidy and the information right within my reach.

Creative Organizing Tip #3: Quit Telling Stories

When I interviewed Fearless Organizing Expert Elizabeth Hagen, she told me that people with a lot of clutter typically have a story attached to each item.

Solution? Quit telling stories such as "I might need it again" or "Uncle Bob gave me this golf-bag shaped business card holder." (Tell Uncle Bob thanks but since you don't golf, donate it to a local resale shop that supports a charity).

ACTION: Pick up ten items in your office right now. What story have you told yourself about each item? Quit the story and immediately get rid of at least seven of those items.

I bless the success of my high six-figure business on my ability to comfortably integrate creativity with being organized. You can too, if you remember that being creative actually gives woman small business owners an edge when it comes to being organized because you can create the organizing solution that works for YOU!

Your Marketing Soul Plan for 2008

If traditional marketing plans work so well how come more woman business owners don't make them?

Because they're boring, that's why.

I mean, really, creating a traditional marketing plan is about as exciting as picking lint off of a sweater. Hardly the stuff to feed and nourish inspiration!

Plus, for the soul-inspired woman entrepreneur, a traditional marketing plan fails to capture the heart and spirit of our dreams and ambitions.

So I've created an alternative marketing plan that skillfully weaves together marketing must-haves with what matters most to furthering our Soul's Divine Mission(TM).

Here are five key elements you can use to create your own Marketing Soul Plan for 2008 and make this year, YOUR year!

Marketing Soul Plan Element #1: Clarity

Who are you most attracted to working with who will pay for what you offer? There is no virtue in trying to help women entrepreneurs who don't value what you do. Instead, choose a tribe of women entrepreneurs who are hungry and eager to have their problem solved and are generous in paying for that help.

Marketing Soul Plan Element #2: Money

Who else wants to be a Spiritual Millionaire(TM)? I do, and I am well on my way to achieving that goal with my woman owned business. If you're one of those woman business owners who have been holding back from allowing money to flow abundantly into your business (and hence, your life) then it's time to do some soul-searching to clear out your old money stories.

Yes, it's okay to be spiritual AND rich... so how much do you want to make in 2008? Choose a number to include in your Marketing Soul Plan that is both a stretch and realistic. Write it down, and then decide how much you want to create every 90 days and write those numbers down too. Stay focused on your Marketing Soul Plan numbers as you decide how you spend your time each day.

Marketing Soul Plan Element #3: Boundaries

The road to success isn't paved with good intentions (or affirmations); it's lined with great boundaries that honor you and your Soul's Divine Mission(TM). What are five boundaries that you've been soft on? Those are costing you big time in lost focus, lost income and a lost sense of your own personal power. List them out in your Marketing Soul Plan along with one small action you, as a woman entrepreneur, are a commitment to taking to clean up each of them.

Marketing Soul Plan Element #4: Perfectionism

Perfectionism is fear in disguise. It's simply a smoke-screen that women entrepreneurs' egos create to keep them playing small or hiding out. Include in your Marketing Soul Plan this statement: "I agree, commit and promise to take action BEFORE I feel ready, BEFORE I feel that I know enough and BEFORE I know how it's all going to turn out!" Then do it and see how much you leapfrog ahead of where you are now.

Marketing Soul Plan Element #5: Receiving

There's no point in practicing gratitude and attraction principles if you aren't also practicing receiving. If you believe that the universe wants to give to your woman owned business then you must be skilled at receiving. So where to practice? How about starting by raising your fees, asking for a referral or even just accepting a compliment with a gracious "Thank you?"

My vision for you is that 2008 is truly YOUR year. Use these simple guidelines to create your own Marketing Soul Plan and it will be!

Increase Sales Tip - Hire a Woman For a Results Driven Sales Person

Do you want to increase sales because your sales are lagging? Have you considered hiring a woman?

Women in business are an exploding factor within the American economy. This growing force must be doing something right to have high profits than other business. One might even speculate that women are better sales people than men given what the research suggests.

Currently, do you have women in your sales force? If so, how is their performance to your male sales force? If not, are some of your policies negatively affecting their long term sales performance?

For example, women in sales usually are much better relationship builders than men. They will take the time to establish a relationship of trust and mutual respect.

As a sales manager and sales trainer, I have witnessed first hand that women are better in sales than men in today's business marketplace. For when women build relationships, they are building loyal customers.

From my own personal experiences as a woman sales person, woman business owner and observing others of both sexes in sales, I have observed women:

* Reacting faster to customers' calls
* Answering questions with far greater detail to ensure customer loyalty
* Going the extra mile in making sure the customer is beyond satisfied, but truly loyal

Women in business and women in sales also for the most part are not after the big, multi-dollar contracts, but rather want to demonstrate how they can handle the same, day to day sales and service. These results driven individuals understand that building a strong relationships will deliver far more in the long term from profitability to overall sales revenue. This may be why in the last decade women business owners now own 10.4 million of the 26 million privately held businesses.

Another reason why I believe if you wish to increase sales is to hire a woman is because the majority of women in sales that I know place a greater emphasis on values. These ladies be them women sales persons or women business owners will not do the wink and the nod to get the business. Yes, there are some that still do, but from my personal observations during the last 10 years, most women believe that values cannot be compromised because of their solid relationships with their clients.

The final reason is personal experience. During the last year, every time I attend a networking event, it has always been a man trying to sell me something without building a relationship. And actions always speak louder than words.

The Business Profitability Difference

For every woman owned company that is successful, there are three or more who are not. What's the difference? It just might be the difference in the mindset of the woman business owner.

Most business women who start their own company do so because they are looking for more interesting ways to use their mind and their talent while allowing them the freedom to make their own choices. Indeed, that's one of the advantages of business ownership. But, if the business isn't profitable it won't last very long.

Interestingly, intelligence and talent seem to have nothing to do with success, as many a woman business owner ,who ended up shutting down their business, can attest.

Edith Piaf, one of France's greatest singers who at one time lived on the streets, once said, "Money? How did I lose it? I never did lose it. I just never knew where it went."

If you find yourself with this financial dilemma you're certainly not alone.

The problem for many of us business women is that we were taught early on that making money was not "nice". It came from our puritan roots and has been passed down through the generations. Surely you've heard "money is the root of all evil". The question is ... do you believe it?

Many women also feel they don't have a right to make a lot of money. A woman owned company 40 years ago was considered nothing more than a hobby. Television during that era convinced us that "father knows best" and it is the man of the house who should be the breadwinner of the family.

You may hold any of these hidden beliefs without even being aware of it. That is because the roots of our beliefs go very deep, and while we may not be consciously aware of these thoughts, it is possibly the reason you are not experiencing business profitability.

So what can you do to improve your business profitability and success as a woman business owner?

Take action. Here's how:

1. Identify how you feel about money and if it's your beliefs that are keeping you from making the kind of income you want and need. To find out if it's your mindset about money that is holding you back, ask yourself how you feel about people who have money. If your reaction is a slightly negative or uncomfortable feeling, dig deeper. Observe what thoughts pop into your head without judging them. You may begin to see a pattern of negative thoughts that you have associated with money.
2. Now, give yourself permission to let go of those thoughts. Realize that how you feel is what keeps you from reaching your potential in business. Begin to recognize that money is nothing more than paper. It can do us no harm and it certainly is not evil. It is what people do with money that makes all the difference. Ask any woman owned company what they do with their profits and the majority of the time they will have a favorite charity or charities they support financially. Realize that having money is actually good. It provides us security, enjoyment and the ability to make a difference for others
3. Use self-talk to improve your confidence and change your beliefs. It takes serious effort to change beliefs but, if you're serious about success, you will find a way to do it. As you begin to question your beliefs, understand that what is past is OK. It's all you knew. Don't beat yourself up over it for your past financial mistakes. Instead, look at this as a great learning experience. Self-talk is used by NLP experts and many positive thinkers as a way to improve people's lives. We all experience self-talk even if we don't realize we're doing it. Why not self-talk on purpose? Once we become aware of our internal dialog about money we can begin the journey to improve our business profitability. Tell yourself every single morning when you get out of bed "It is OK to make money and today I'm going to work on it". When you go to bed at night, remind yourself of all you've done that day to help you improve your financial picture and congratulate yourself. You'll sleep better too.
4. Get more informed about business finances. Have a working knowledge of how assets and liabilities affect your bottom line. Many financial companies have free literature that teaches how to read a balance sheet and a financial statement so that you understand more about your financial picture. You may also find this information online. In addition, you need a financial plan for your business just like you need a financial plan for yourself. This is the step by step action plan based on where you are today and where you want to be in the future. It's a roadmap for your personal financial success and your business profitability. If you've never done a financial plan you can get started with eFinPLAN, a financial planning software that is easy and inexpensive to do it at home. It will not only teach you how to think about money, but get you started on the path to financial freedom.
5. Analyze your product or service, your sales, and your expenses, then decide where you could improve. Take a look at your product. Is it one you believe in? Do you really feel good about what it can do for others? If not, you'll find it hard to sell so it might be time to look around for something else. If you do believe in your product or service, then it's time to look at your sales. How many prospects are you reaching per day? Is it enough? If you're uncertain about how to increase the number of prospects you reach or how to close them, you might consider getting some training. Find more information on how to start and grow a profitable women owned company at WomenCorp. Next, look at your expenses. How much does your product cost when you include the cost of your labor, office rent, utilities and travel? Is there a way you can change that picture to reduce expenses or increase your price to cover them?
6. Enjoy the results! When you focus on improving your profits you can't help but improve the long term potential for your business. And remember to congratulate yourself and acknowledge your accomplishment.

In Jack Canfield's "The Power of Focus" he shows how just by focusing on what you want and reviewing it regularly, you will begin to see it appear in your life.

Remember, the past doesn't matter. You can recover and be on your way to improved business profitability in a matter of months. But without action, nothing will happen.

So get started today. With the right mindset, you are half way there to having a successful woman owned company that everyone admires and will provide you a source of great income and immense satisfaction.

The Balancing Act - Being a Woman Business Owner & Raising a Family

We all know we live in a complex society and accelerated, which makes it hard to stop and find time to truly connect with our feelings and our needs.

Thus we lose touch with our most sensitive and away from our true essence and the natural functioning of life. Forgetting many times the magic of existence, the ability to surprise at the wonder of life and engender a responsibility that entails. No promotes physical and emotional preparation for when receiving a child, may be aware of our needs and concerns and brewing a space that allows us to identify our own internal resources, so that in this way, we can better cope with this experience so especially a child.

The stage of pregnancy and the postpartum period will be colored by how we have lived through these stages as primary and as we have developed to date, as have been our parents, our first links with them, their presences and absences, etc. We need to do, be honest with ourselves and see what our availability for this task is so demanding that maternity especially in the early stages, which is our personal situation, economic and emotional.

It is important to be aware that the baby is an extremely dependent and requires a close and almost constant contact with his mother, especially in the first months of life is affected when the separation is sharp and produces a prolonged absence. Here of course a number of elements to discriminate. As we will depend on each particular situation and working hours, also on the ability of the mother delivered the baby full contact with her after work, because no matter only time that we dedicate the baby in the form quantitatively but qualitatively.

The labor issue is something that anxiety quite as women maternity leave is over, as both suffer separation and often do not see the baby who will care course should fulfill this function of the most loving way possible. Integrate both aspects and costs involved in moving from a state deeply emotional and intuitive, intimate sound to another, namely that is the implication of work in general before we really feel ready to return to our activities which generate conflict. Returning to work is usually seen as a social imposition when in fact the desire of the mother would stay with your baby. We also know that the return to work generally involves some stress that sometimes results in the emotional state of the mother and often affect breastfeeding.

Tax Tips for the One Man (Woman) Business

Running a one-person business? Tired of the huge hit you take at tax time? Want to save money on your accounting and taxes? Consider these simple tips and tricks...

Tip 1: Use an accounting system

Oh sure. This sounds obvious. But unless you have a decent way to track both your income and your deductions, you not only won't know how much money you're making until tax time, you'll also miss or forget about tax deductions.

Something like Quicken or Microsoft Money will work just fine. If you need more bookkeeping horsepower than these checkbook programs provide, look at stepping up to QuickBooks or Microsoft Small Business Accounting.

Tip 2: Don't Incorporate

New business owners often rush to incorporate. But incorporation rarely makes sense for small businesses. And incorporation totally complicates your taxes and accounting.

What's a new business owner to do? Form a limited liability company instead. A limited liability company, or LLC, gives you all the same liability protection. But without the tax complexity of a corporation.

An LLC with just one owner, for example, gets treated for income tax purposes as a sole proprietorship. Which means to report your business activity to the IRS or state revenue folks, all you do is file a simple, one- or two-page schedule with your regular individual tax return.

Tip: Consider hiring your kids

If you have minor children and they help you out in your business-doing real work-consider hiring them. As long as they earn less than $5,000, they won't pay any income taxes on their wages nor any payroll taxes. Yet, you'll still get to write-off the amounts you pay them as business expenses. (This might be a neat way to save for a kid's college expenses.)

Tip 4: Consider hiring your spouse

While medical insurance is a deduction for income-tax purposes for sole proprietors, you can save far more in taxes by hiring your spouse and then setting up what's called a Section 105(b) plan. Such a plan lets you treat all of your family's medical expenses (insurance, out of pocket, deductibles and so on) deductions for both income tax purposes and self-employment tax purposes.

If you are interested in this, confer with a local tax practitioner. Section 105(b) plans can be a little tricky to understand if you haven't used them before.

Tip 5: Take the home office deduction

Hey, if you regularly and exclusively use some portion of your home for your business, go ahead and take the home office deduction.

Don't worry about this deduction being an audit flag. Or a hassle. The deduction is meant for people like you.

Tip 6: Set up a pension plan

If you want to save more than a regular IRA allows, set up a pension plan for your business. You can easily set up something like a SEP-IRA which will allow you to contribute up to twenty of your profit to a tax deferred account.

Example: If you make $50,000, you could use a SEP-IRA to contribute $10,000 to your pension account. And there are other good low-cost options available, too, such as SIMPLE-IRAs and one-person 401(k) plans.

What is a Problem? A Guide to Decision Making For the Woman Business Leader

Remember that famous line "Houston, we have a problem?"

This was the tagline used in the movie about the Apollo 13 space flight. It's a take off on the actually line said by the real Apollo crew.

Pilot Lovell actually said: "Houston, we've had a problem. We've had a main B bus undervolt." The point is that the problem was actually identified in the statement, which meant the ground crew could get to work on isolating the problem and making a decision about what to do.

As a woman in business leadership, you will needto understand how to identify a problem. Problems form the basis for good decision making. and making a decision starts with the recognition of a problem.

So what is a problem?

A problem presents a situation, issue or condition that will exist in the future, and that is considered undesirable. It might seem easy to find a problem. But a difficulty some business women have is to define a problem by its solution. For example, someone might say, "The problem is that we don't have enough staff working on the project to complete it in time."

The problem however, is not that you don't have enough staff. The problem is that the project is behind schedule and not moving along according to the initial projections. Getting more staff MIGHT be a solution, but until you identify the problem you don't know that.

So first, identify the actual problem. When you provide a solution as a problem, it takes away the ability to make a good decision. How do you know that more staff is needed? If the project is not getting done according to schedule, how do you know it's not because of something else, like a lack of needed resources, or a gap in the knowledge base of those carrying out the task? Perhaps the time schedule was unrealistic and everything is actually on time?

If you go out and hire more staff before identifying the actual problem you will only make the problem worse, not better. So in this example, a better statement would be: The problem is that the project is not moving according to the projected schedule." Now, you have the opportunity to explore various reasons why the project is behind schedule and to use more decision making steps to figure out a solution.

So first, practice identifying the actual problem. If you are having trouble reaching a decision about an undesirable situation, review how you are making a statement of the problem and be sure you are not suggesting a solution right up front.
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