What will 2012 bring?

The National Black Women’s Network recently joined forces with Lloyds TSB Bank, London Met University and the Voice Newspaper to host the Women in Business Conference: Manifesting Success in 2012.

This was a fascinating opportunity to hear from an impressive line up of thought leaders from across the business, political and non-profit fields to look at how women could implement practical strategies and behaviours into their business to attract more wealth, success and happiness in 2012.


Here are 3 key messages shared by our celebrated speakers:-

Are you asking the right questions for success?
Many women are limping through business during the economic downturn. They lack the vision and clarity to achieve greater success in their business because they have not taken the time to formalise their goals.

It is important that you know what you want to achieve; where you are going and ultimately have no fear that you will be able to accomplish the goals you set.

“Success is an inside job. To be successful you must develop a success mindset” says Sheila Elliott FCCA, MBA, LPNLP; Director BSS Group.  “Way too many people want to reap the fruits of success without sowing the right seed on the right soil (their minds).”

Successful entrepreneurs have clarity and focus about their vision, which is clearly and easily communicated to their stakeholders. With dwindling resources you cannot cater to everyone, so it is important that you understand your niche target market intimately in order to better respond to their needs. However, do not become too rigid about your goals, that you cannot flexibly respond to market changes.

If you are not asking the right questions, how do you expect to get the right answers?

Forget the rhetoric and get back to authentic
It’s important to remember why you started your business and what was the driving force behind your passion at the time?

Sometimes in our quest to be perfect and to fit in, we stop nurturing and developing our most valuable asset – our emotional intelligence.

It’s time to get our head out of the management books and hiding behind our training programmes.  When we turn to the external (experts, specialists etc) there is a danger that their ‘best guess’ does not unlock our inner potential and unleash our untapped creativity in business.  Only you are the expert on you.

Be honest about your skills, competences and expertise level. By over extending ourselves we will set ourselves up for failure and disappointment when we do not reach our goals.  Nurture your leadership skills and learn which feelings to trust to better utilise your ‘gut instinct’.   By tapping into your inner power and resources, you will be able to provide creative solutions that cater to the unmet demands of your most valuable customers.

It’s time to step out and do!

Get finance savvy
Competition has never been tougher for today’s entrepreneur!  Unemployment figures are at a 17 year high which means more people are entering the world of self employment as an alternative to a career.

Banks are tightening their criteria for lending so you need to understand the range of financial products and services that are available to start and grow your business.  Not only do you  have to be innovative in the design and execution of your products and services, but evidence that you have systems in place to pay back the bank.

Get back to the drawing board and look at what systems and processes you have put in place to boost your finance, sales, marketing and social media activities to grow your business faster.

If you don’t take empowered action around your finances, you will not be able to benefit from the opportunities that come your way this year.  Poor financial planning will bring business misery sooner than you think!

Stand in your own spotlight?
No matter where you are in business, hard work and diligence will not be the difference that makes the difference to catapult you to the next level.

Too many women are suffering from a crippling lack of self confidence and poor self esteem which stems from the limiting beliefs that stop them living life on full throttle.  Based on this, women are still not promoting themselves to their best ability.  It’s time to overcome ourselves, bounce back and let people know that we are out there and ready to do business.

“Never underestimate the principle of dressing for success” explained Baroness Wheatcroft of Blackheath.  “Many women think this is trivial but it is very important that you take care of your appearance.  It’s all about managing your personal brand because it sends out the right message about you.”

When it comes to your personal and business brand, whatever your personal taste, take the time to regularly review and update your social media profile on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (to name a few).  Keep your profiles simple and professional. According to recent KPMG research, just 48 per cent of UK companies use social media to communicate for business purposes, compared to 72 per cent in the US and 83 per cent in China.

It is “naïve” to think that social media has no place in the business world.  To avoid social media is to do so at your peril!

“Start nominating yourself for awards” recommended Cathy Walker, Head of Public Sector Marketing, Fujitsu Services.  “This is a great self promotional activity to gain recognition from industry peers and showcase your services.  It also sends out a clear message to your stakeholders and competition that you’re one of the best in the market!”

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