Nell Merlino is a nationally renowned speaker and activist best known for creating “Take Our Daughters To Work Day.” But that’s not all she has created. Merlino is working on an app that will count the number of women voters that participate in the November 2016 presidential election. This venture is just the beginning of what she hopes to accomplish for women in business all over the globe as she guides them with wisdom toward economic independence. In the end, she wants to see all women in business stand out and connect to the data-driven world by taking control of who they are and how they put themselves out there.

WBOC hosted this iconic speaker at their October 6th evening meeting at the Genesee Grande in Syracuse. Merlino talked about the digital age and how we, as women, can gain further possession of our own personal information. She told attendees she is working with a data relationship company called Personal BlackBox to create a software that is a creative visualization of an individual’s data being reflected back to them to reveal insights that are typically only available to marketers and advertisers. In explaining her charge, Merlino reminded us of the growth of a similar data collection procedure with the birth of the Bitcoin. (What is a Bitcoin?)

Bitcoin, despite its unpredictable volatility, is proving to be a more widely accepted form of electronic currency since it was conceived in 2009. Earning Bitcoins is often achieved by becoming a miner: one who solves computer math problems and is then paid in Bitcoin currency. Each Bitcoin is assigned a code. That code, when connected to other codes, creates a blockchain, or an electronic ledger of information.

With Personal Blackbox, data collection would happen similarly. Merlino says that in the event someone else wants to access “who you are” for marketing or advertising purposes, they would have to pay you, the owner, for that information. No longer will they be able to create their own stories of who they think you are when they scrape data. You will be in control of your own story.

“We have to change the nature of marketing and advertising when we own the information. So decide who you are and how you will market yourself,” Merlino told attendees. “This is how you will stand out.”

Merlino encourages women business owners to do three things as they evolve with her Rules of the Road:

1) Understand Your Purpose. What moves you? What can you do to create your own economic independence?
2) Ditch Fear, Worry and Doubt. Fear will always be with you. Learn how to take it with you and manage it so you can succeed.
3) Remember Focus, Discipline and Visibility. Make a plan and stick to it. When the plan doesn’t work, know it and change it. Make sure people can find you with social media.

Merlino took questions from audience members, but not before she encouraged attendees to charge what they are worth.

“It’s one of the biggest issues with women in business. Charge what you are worth and stick to it,” she said.

Nell Merlino is the Founder and President of Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, the leading national not-for-profit provider of resources for women to grow their micro businesses into million dollar enterprises. She is author of “Stepping Out of Line: Lessons for Women Who Want it Their Way in Life, in Love, and at Work. Learn more at http://www.nellmerlino.com.


Social Made Simple

Social Made Simple

Michelle Arbore

When it comes to social media, choosing the right platforms and having a full understanding of those platforms can be overwhelming. At WBOC’s September kick off meeting, Michelle Arbore, owner of Savvy Social Media of Rochester addressed just that with her presentation, Social Made Simple. From Facebook and Linked in to Pinterest and Twitter, Michelle talked about ways to determine which platform is right for your business.

“Not all businesses are created equal,” she said during her presentation. “What works for one business owner won’t work for another.”

When it comes to generating leads, the social media strategist suggested using LinkedIn.

“Interact with your new connections. When someone follows you, send him or her an e-mail, and thank them for connecting,” she recommended. “I have generated lots of consultations this way. Thanking them and introducing yourself shows them you genuinely care about the connection.”

This introduction often blurs with LinkedIn inbox spamming, a technique that new connections often use to try and sell their services immediately after a request to connect is accepted. Michelle said the difference between the two is sincerity. By penning a genuine, heartfelt hello, the receiver should see the difference between that hello and a spam letter.

Twitter users should recognize that the 140 character platform is the fastest way to get a response from a business that isn’t living up to their potential, or may have not shown up with the best customer service. As an example, Michelle cited how quickly airlines respond to customer complaints when they are posted on Twitter.

When it comes to social media, many attendees agreed that the constant change in platform use is the most frustrating. New trends, updates and sister platforms can cause stress to business owners, especially once they get a handle on managing one specific platform. In these instances, choosing a social media manager or strategist can significantly diminish frustration and help improve the productivity of business. By utilizing manager apps, conferring with experts and sharing strategies with your fellow entrepreneurs, one can reduce their workload and frustration level, simply by taking a step toward better management.

Michelle is the owner of Savvy Social Media, based in Rochester, N.Y. She offers social media creation, management and training. Learn more at http://savvysocialmedia.net/.

stacey_chWith the WISE Symposium just around the corner, business owners from across the region are gearing up to present their best selves at this highly attended women’s conference. And as Stacey Chilbert of Empire Specialty Printing shared with WBOC members on Wednesday night, presenting with a powerful trade show table can make a big difference in how attendees view you and your business.

Stacey Chilbert and her husband Dan run Empire Specialty Printing out of Liverpool. Aside from her extensive sales background, Stacey is also a consultant to clients that need guidance with marketing and trade show booths.
The following are trade show booth tips she shared with WBOC members at the March 4th meeting:

1) What will you have on your table? Visualize it. Imagine yourself interacting with your ideal client. What do you see? What are you handing out?

2) Be prepared to tell prospects what you do in one sentence. Use the following formula:
I help (target market) (verb) (problem).
Example: I help (women entrepreneurs) ( find) (ideal clients)

3) Have a banner that offers something engaging along the top, a picture in the middle to evoke emotion, and testimonials at the bottom. Contact info at bottom, too.

4) Keep your table clean and free of clutter.

5) Have a decent raffle gift to give away. This is how you collect contact names to follow up with later.

6) Have fresh flowers and even chocolates to hand out.

7) Be ready to do business that day. Try to close as many sales as you can while they are in front of you.

8) Dress comfortably! You don’t want to sit at your booth. You want to stand and engage with people, and you may be on your feet for a long time.

Chilbert also recommends bringing plenty of your own business cards. But always remember to get the prospects card in return so that you can follow up.

 For more information on Stacey Chilbert and Empire Specialty Printing, please visit her at http://www.empirespecialtyprinting.com.

susan_smallWhen Executive Business Consultant Susan Beebe stood behind the podium to address WBOC members on Wednesday evening, February 4th, it’s quite unlikely anyone expected to hear the kind of business advice she was about to put forth. Instead of the standard (and often misleading) “five quick ways” to raise profits, she offered trust. In lieu of practical strategy and mundane statistics, she offered wisdom. And in place of promising the moon and stars if attendees opted to work with her, she offered heart.

Susan Beebe is more than just a business consultant; she is also a certified EFT Practitioner. (EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique, or “tapping”, is a form of hands on acupressure, based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture.) Using both this timeless form of healing and her 30-years of sales and marketing expertise, Susan is turning the lives of her clients around. And it starts, she says, by trusting the wisdom in your heart.

“If we all experience times of challenge, why does it appear some come through it stronger, more focused, with renewed conviction toward achieving their goals, while others seem to remain depressed, stuck in the past, and unable to move forward?” Beebe asked WBOC members. “The faster you recognize that you are at a low point, and the quicker you are to take inspired action by listening and trusting the true wisdom in your heart, the more success and happiness you will enjoy in this lifetime.”

Success and happiness, according to Beebe, are tied closely to whatever our burning desire is. Do we have a burning desire to write? To be closer to family? To get married? Do we have a burning desire to run a multi-six-figure business? Become a dancer or pianist? To find peace in this lifetime? No matter what we want, Bebee advises we do four things for us to achieve our desire:

1. You must determine and define your burning desire.
2. You must commit to never giving up. You will not fail, as long as you never give up.
3. In times of struggle, slow down. Go within and listen to your heart, your inner voice, your intuition, your higher guidance: whatever you call it. You will always hear the answer of what you need to do next to achieve your highest good in this lifetime.
4. Trust the Wisdom in Your Heart and take inspired action based on that guidance, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Dare to be different.

EFT, or tapping, has become an integral part of Beebe’s everyday life, albeit for personal reasons or business reasons. Attendees were able to experience a genuine round of tapping led by Beebe, as they tapped on what burning desire or success looks like for each of them.

If you are in sales and would like to know more about how EFT can work to help increase your profits, Susan is offering a two-day sales training on March 5th and 12th at Café 407 in Liverpool. Space is limited, so early registration is suggested. She is also offering a $50 discount to any WBOC members that attended the February 4th event.
For more information, please visit http://www.TapIntoYourCenter.com/sales-training. To earn your $50 discount, simply enter the code “WBOC.”

Susan Beebe is the owner of Lighthouse Marketing (www.lighthousemkt.com) and Tap Into Your Center (www.tapintoyourcenter.com) She is a 30-year sales and marketing veteran and is happily married with four children.

michelleBusiness Plans come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are written for development over a three or five year period, others are written in the moment as the entrepreneur grows. However the plan develops, one thing is for sure: showing up uniquely is what will get you the clients you crave every time.

At Novembers WBOC monthly meeting, Michelle Howe of Empath Evolution presented to thirty plus women with a question-driven workshop format that had them digging deep for unique answers that could not only help realign their business plan, but strengthen the backbone of their business while bringing eye-opening, lasting results. Some of the questions she provided asked:

What am I providing, solving, creating, teaching revealing?

What are my strengths?

When am I challenged?
What methods have consistently worked to gain clients? What has not worked for me?

According to Howe, powerful questions like these enable the entrepreneur to look deeply within so she may discover how far she is willing to go to strengthen her business.

“You do what your passionate about,” she said. “If your not enjoying it, it’s not going to work. Your customer will sense that.”

Passion is the backbone of what we develop. Uniqueness is what fuel’s that passion. For a prospective client, these qualities are what draw them to a business owner they know, like and trust. When we lack these particular qualities, there is no doubt that we may attract prospects that are the “wrong” prospects. In this, she added that our prized prospect, or ideal prospect, should be an ideal version of ourselves: If we are passionate and unique, we will bring forth passion and uniqueness.

A certified CPA, Howe also included questions that had attendees looking closely at their money story. By honing in on what expenses one incurs a month, as well as the dollar amount in sales, business owners and entrepreneurs can determine where adjustments need to be made. The gift in this, she said, is revised focus, initiative and clarity. By analyzing even the smallest of expenses, we can likely find holes or places where we can cut to save, or up level our strategy to bring in more cash and more clients. In the end, or business is supported by happy clients, a healthy bank account, and continued passion.

Michelle J. Howe of my Empath Evolution (http://www.empathevolution.com/) is a passionate intellectual and business professional. Michelle has extensive professional experience and knowledge as a certified public accountant, business plan coach, consultant and entrepreneurial trainer.  She also has vast experience developing and presenting training programs specifically supporting entrepreneurs and business owners.  Michelle has worked extensively with the WISE Women’s Business Center, the South Side Innovation Center, and other organizations. 

Lauren GruetmanIs blogging on your mind? If not, it should be. In today’s internet intense environment, every small business owner is wise to find ways to actively add content to a blog or their website. Each content rich post made is a signal to Google to point potential customers toward your website.

As most everyone knows, blogging is an important marketing tool that helps to grow your online footprint. Sharing your expertise in regular blog posts has long been viewed by Google and other search engines as a powerful tool to establish authority in your industry.

But with recent changes made by Google in search algorithms (the criteria used to help search engines rank your websites), blogging is even more important than ever.

On April 2, WBOC members and guests had a great opportunity to learn how to blog better from top notch blogger and online maven Lauren Greutman of IamTHATlady.com.

In a few short years Lauren, who is mom to four youngsters and recently hired her husband away from his corporate America job to work full time with Iamthatlady.com, has grown a sizable online following by blogging about her love for helping families live within their means through couponing and finding great deals.

Today, Lauren has more than 30,000 followers on her blog and social media sites, and makes regular appearances on local and even national TV to promote ‘enjoying life on a budget’.

Lauren shared ideas for successful blogging by applying these key principals to gain a loyal following:

•Set up your blog on a well known blogging platform: WordPress, Blogger, Blogspot are a few good ones to consider. Squarespace is a popular free blog platform

• Connect the blog to your website for continuity.
• Delegate tasks others can do better. For example: If you don’t have web design skills, hire a graphic designer to give your blog a professional look. Make sure your blog is attractive and mirrors your brand.
• Attract people to your blog with social media posts. A top notch blog will draw viewers into your story, making them want to be a part of your online community.
• Convert viewers to buyers by offering something free. Create an How to….guide, a resource list, or offer Best Tips. The key is to provide your viewers a way to do something better.
• ‘Close’ the deal – whether a phone call, email inquiry or purchase – by acknowledging your viewer with a follow up email thanking them for joining your blog community
• Helping your customers – not selling – is the best way to approach posting content on your blog.

With so much information to cover and a ton of great knowledge to share, the presentation motivated many questions.

To help WBOC members become more familiar with blogging, Lauren has developed a series of Social Media/Blogging packages that review specific website and social media accounts, and will give ideas for how to grow your online presence through blogging. For more information, you can contact Lauren at lauren@iamthatlady.com . Learn more about iamthatlady.com here.

To network or not to network? That is the question.

For those in attendance at the March 5 WBOC meeting “Power Up Your Network”, the question was already answered. You were there, ‘powering up’ to expand your network and learning new ways to intentionally grow your business contacts.Networking

Syracuse Woman Editor Farah Jadran engaged a lively crowd of business owners and ‘business buddies’ in an animated presentation followed by informal gathering for  “Wine Wednesday” cocktails and conversation.

For those who didn’t make the meeting, the answer to the question is simple – networking is an essential tool in every business owner’s toolkit.

If you’re among the many who cringe at the word (think smarmy handshakes, awkward conversations, opportunistic sales types), simply expand your definition of networking and you’ve won the battle.

Making new connections happens each time you walk out the door or pick up the phone. You may not think so, but your very presence in someone elses circle is the first step to networking.

A simple way to network is to extend a planned meeting or conversation by

  • sharing a new idea
  • asking a question
  • reaching out to offer assistance
  • referring to an accomplishment
  • making any kind of positive and unexpected contribution to the conversation or meeting.

Each time you share an ‘other oriented’ comment beyond what is expected, you expand your influence in the mind of a colleague or acquaintance. That unexpected conversation makes you and your services more likely to be remembered when the next opportunity comes up for a business lead.

Networking is a lot of things, but it is never just meeting and greeting activity. Some of us are good at it and enjoy the process, others not so much. When you think of networking as a regular part of your every business day, you will begin to expand your circle and influence naturally, avoiding the stress that makes you avoid the activity.

Whether you join local business groups like WBOC, attend business mixers, sign up for educational seminars, or go to the next Speed Networking event – or whether you don’t – your everyday actions to connect with people in and around your business are a form of networking that will lead to new opportunities.

So, go on out there.  Be fabulous and confident as a networker, however you accomplish it!


Speaking of networking – there are two great WBOC networking opportunities coming up you will want to attend.

  1. Better Blogging: Better Business WBOC April Meeting,  A WBOC presentation rescheduled from February by professional blogger Lauren Greutman of IAmThatLady.com. Join Lauren and fellow women business owners as she shares how blogging engages the hearts of customers to build loyalty and increase sales.Wed. April 2, 4:30 to 6:00 pm. To register, WBOC Events 
  2.  12th Annual WISE Symposium A full day conference attended by 1000 women featuring seminars and panel discussions offering practical advice covering topics from all aspects of the business world; motivational speeches from local and nationally-known successful women business owners; many networking opportunities; an interactive business expo; and much more. Keynote speakers this year are Stella and Dot founder Jessica Herrin, and Melinda Emerson, creator of Small Biz Lady. To register or for more information. Tuesday, April 8,  9:00 – 5:00 pm.

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