Friday, October 30, 2009

Push Yourself To Grow Your Business

Here's a look at Europe's perspective (from an expert -- Paula Fitzsimons, Irish national coordinator for the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor and director of Ireland-based Going for Growth, a business consultancy) on women, entrepreneurship, business ownership and growth.

An excerpt:
But if you want to make a significant contribution to economic growth, innovation and productivity, those [women-owned] businesses must become capable of growth. It's quite clear that Europe needs more 'gazelles' – i.e. companies capable of significant growth – and the point we're making is that we need to encourage women to not only be self-employed but to break the barrier to employing one or two people, or to move further if they're already significant employers.

In short, we should be pushing for them to have a growth aspiration at the earliest possible stage. They must have this initial strategic positioning.
Read the entire interview here.

Do you need to be pushed to grow your business? Do you think this is a trend indicative to the United States too?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Don't Sell Yourself Short: Break Out and Start a Business

Who are we kidding? If you act like an entrepreneur while employed at a large corporation, guess what happens? Your ideas are taken and the next thing you know, you're fired. Who needs that?

One of the single greatest lessons in life is to find out what makes you happy or come to life (passion) and oftentimes it starts with learning first what makes you miserable.

I agree with Janice Bryant Howroyd (pictured) at being the entrepreneur of your own career but if you are going to "be" than "do." Do the business. Start it.

Read more here. Within the article, be sure to focus on Ms. Howroyd's backstory:
Ms. Howroyd is an entrepreneur in the traditional sense. She said she left Tarboro, N.C., in 1976 to work for a brother-in-law’s talent agency in Los Angeles and two years later started her own small employment firm, ACT•1.At the beginning, she said, she played off the fact that “I was a minority-owned business in two ways, as an African-American and a woman.”

Friday, October 23, 2009

Boost Your Business

One way to boost your business is to look for organizations, such as Gateways to Entrepreneurial Tomorrows, Inc. (GET), who help minorities start, run and grow businesses.

Take Mabel Lopez of Poughkeepsie who is a successful protege of GET's program. Lopez is an event planner whose business is Lasting Impressions by Mabel.

Mabel Roman-Lopez has been planning events for nearly a decade.

Lasting Impressions by Mabel opened as the result of an inner desire to help people bring to vision a special event they want to mark in their lives.

Mabel has planned many memorable events, from baby showers to bridal showers, birthday parties, to festivals and corporate luncheons. From the spectacular to the simple. Mabel has the creativity and personal service for anyone wanting to create a magical event.

She launched her own business with help from GET.

Learn more here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

From Singer to Producer of Flavored Vodkas

Thirty years ago when Miyoko Yamakawa traveled from Japan to America, her dreams of becoming a singer were put on hold when she married a top Japanese chef in New York City, and moved to Rockland County to raise a family.

A year after the move, the family -- the Yamakawas -- opened Maiko 2, a New City restaurant where her husband Jiro cooked and Miyoko sang for customers on Friday nights.

Jiro created a drink and customers loved it which was a strawberry vodka that people asked for and wanted to buy it.

Slow forward 20 years in the restaurant business, the family sold Maiko 2 and began bottling Jiro's creation.

Guess who is figuring things out at this stage? Miyoko Yamakawa is along with her husband and she is seeking help from a Small Business Center -- a great place to get free advice on how to start, run and grow a business.

Here's a quick look at some of the areas where Miyoko is getting assistance:

Read more here. Their launch site, Me Oko, appears to be here. Another iteration is here.

And as for help on your own business, you might check out whether you have a local Small Business Center in your area.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Official Escape From Corporate America Blog Has a New Look

We are pleased to unveil our re-design to the official Escape From Corporate America blog ( Let us know what you think of it. We welcome your feedback! And be sure to check out all the resources featured on the right sidebar.

ESCAPE From Corporate America!

Monday, October 12, 2009

What It Takes To Become a High Performance Leader

Wrote this article for American Express OPEN Forum to help folks fulfill their own version of the ideal, fully developed high-performance leader.

Here's the lead:
Achieving high performance in tough times is a serious challenge small business owners face. The ultimate goal may be extraordinary business performance, but you can still get comfortable and slip into mediocrity. To obliterate status quo, do you have what it takes to become a high-performance leader? Ten traits characterize the people who do.
See what you think. Hope you get some value out of it. We will add the feature to our blog's e-library on the right sidebar.

"10 Traits of High-Performance Leaders"

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Find Creative Deals To Start Your Business

This article is about how to launch a small business on a shoestring but the following excerpt particularly struck me:

Yafa Sakkejha (pictured) made a deal with her father that’s enabling her to get House of Verona, a summer health-retreat business, off the ground. He agreed to “incubate” her fledgling company by giving her rent-free use of Blue View Chalets, his winter ski-resort property in Canada’s Blue Mountains, for the first year and by fronting some of her larger initial expenses.

Ms. Sakkejha is using her savings to repay Blue View half of the expenses it incurs for her and hire health experts, a fitness trainer and caterers. If [Laurel here ... WHEN] her business takes off, both parties win. She begins to build her own business, and her father gains a summertime revenue stream from the property.

There's another example cited within the article about Christine Marchuska, who started an eco-friendly fashion label, cmarchuska LLC, in November, using $40,000 in savings and severance she got after being laid off from Wall Street.

Find out what she did along with other visionaries to strike creative deals in the rough and get their businesses going!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Making the World a Better Place

Turtle Wings is born. Let me give you the lowdown.
As senior vice president of international marketing for CitiFinancial, Elizabeth Wilmot (pictured) had traveled the world and had seen some of the huge used-electronics dumps that have been created in nations such as India. She also had experienced the difficulty of trying to recycle a computer herself. "I thought to myself, 'I would pay somebody to pick this up and recycle it and scrub my data off of it,' " she recalls. Thus the idea for her company, Turtle Wings, was born.
Back then, Elizabeth was a single mom, quit her job and used savings and home equity to start the business in 2004. The company, once run out of her kitchen, now occupies two warehouses and 12 employees serving households, corporations and government agencies.

Read more about Elizabeth's successful leap from Corporate America to business ownership here.

Thursday, October 01, 2009


Don't you love words that catch your attention? You must read this entire article, "Feminine Mystique: Why More Women Are Applying For MBAs" to get the drift of how the ending from one of the graduates goes like this:

'What women want is to be treated equally'

Kuldeep Brar, 35, recently finished her executive MBA at Cass Business School. She is working in marketing at the school before setting up her own business.

"I come from a marketing and sales background in the City, so for me Cass was a natural fit. It was accessible – I could walk to it from my job at St Paul's – and its reputation for evening and weekend teaching attracted me. I wanted a flexible course.

There were quite a few women on my course, from a wide range of backgrounds. We had some pregnancies, so the flexibilities of managing work and home life mattered.

Earnings? The women on the course were just as hungry as the men. I didn't notice any difference in the calibre, and the expectations reflected that.

I think what women want more than anything else is to be treated equally.

I'm hoping to start a business in a completely different direction – home-cooked, healthy, delivered foods. I'm calling it 'yummynosh'. The MBA has given me the confidence to do that."

Although I had already started my business, that is exactly how I felt after I completed my MBA: loaded with confidence and lots of great ideas.

To Kuldeep Brar, I say: "You go girl!"