All posts by Suman Saha

Blue Prism Foundation Automation Training is Coming to New York/New Jersey Area!

Sign up now to advance your career by getting the Blue Prism Foundation training you need.

Agilify is Blue Prism’s First North American Authorized Training Partner, and we are coming to you.

  • New York/New Jersey: April 9 – 13

We’ll still host trainings throughout the year in our Training Academy in Indianapolis, but taking advantage of this class saves you the time and cost of travel!

In this 5-day intensive course, you’ll:

  • Learn from our experts how to work with Blue Prism’s RPA software
  • Practice hands-on navigation
  • Complete the first step in the Blue Prism accreditation path

Spaces are limited so be sure to fill out the form to reserve your spot today!

Or call us and reserve your spot by phone at 800.268.5795

Want to learn more?

Watch a video about Peter Tarrant, an Automation Configurator, and how his role has transformed his outlook on work.


Post Author: Agilify

New Venue Spotlight: Work Together at WorkSocial | Northeast

WorkSocial provides an empowering office space for rent.


The rise of shared and open-concept work spaces filled with unconventional furniture and healthy food has been well documented. WorkSocial, which opened in 2015 in Jersey City, takes shared office space to a new level. Founded by Natasha Mohan, WorkSocial strives to create a shared space for its clients that revolves around connecting, creating and growing within their shared building.


Members of WorkSocial rent space on the property for their company’s office space, and gain access to the productive environment that Mohan believes is essential to the human side of business. “Our clients connect daily to a new level [of] happiness, so they can create their own movements of growth,” says Mohan. Members of the WorkSocial building have access to daily healthy food (including vegan-friendly options), networking events and frequent lunch events.


The property, which is full of natural light, has several spaces that can be rented out on a monthly or daily basis. Both training rooms and meeting rooms are available for corporate events. With space for nearly 100 and the option for revenue sharing or certain discounts, the WorkSocial building is a client-centric and empowering place for meetings, trainings or networking.


Post Author: Emma Franke

Four Reasons How Learning Mutual Benefit Negotiation Strategies Can Change Your World

Are you feeling underpaidundervalued, or invisible to the powers that be who, behind closed doors, decide who gets promoted and who gets a raise?

Maybe you’re fed up with the daily cuts of bias and injustices.

Or, worse yet, bullied silent by the fear of being disliked or called out as aggressive, angry… difficult.


I’ve been there. I know how you feel.

When I worked as a tech startup manager, I felt under-appreciated and stuck in the double bind of being a woman in a male-dominated industry.

I resented the gender wage gap but was also afraid of gender blowback. My stress was through the roof.

But some years ago, once I found a connection with She Negotiates, everything changed.

I stopped playing the victim game.

I stopped keeping my ambitions small for the benefit of no one – except to serve the voices in my head telling me to stay small, safe and sad (my definition of madness).

I stopped waiting for the powers that be to award me with raise and promotion without my asking.

So I asked for and got 25% increase in salary, promotion in title and an assistant.

Learning to negotiate for myself changed my world. Obviously, it also changed my career since I now work as a She Negotiates trainer and coach. But beyond that, learning to speak up, to ask powerful questions, to say no, to set clear boundaries and to express my value in the world changed me from the inside out.

That’s because underneath the mutual benefit negotiation tactics and strategies that we at She Negotiates teach is a principle, a stand that we take, that challenges common misconceptions about what it means to be an
ambitious woman negotiator.


Which is: That you can be an ambitious, brave AND collaborative negotiator. There is nothing wrong with you. 
You have what it takes to be a communicator who leads through problem-solving, value-creating conversations.


Not a greedy or selfish haggler. Not manipulative or merely transactional. But a leader who is bold, generous and transformational.  This is possible because the strategies and tactics that She Negotiates teach enables you to

  1. Speak truth to power so you can stop bias in its tracks and get you heard,
  2. Solve sticky interpersonal problems so you can build bridges instead of burning them,
  3. Create value for both sides of the table so you can get buy-in and their follow-through, and
  4. Enhance your reputation so you can signal your leadership potential as well as capacity for bigger, better-paying roles.

You can and should negotiate for a bigger paycheck that earns you more respect.


But it’s about more than that. It’s never just about the money.


It’s about you taking a giant leap forward closer to realizing your dreams of entrepreneurship, having a family, or making an impact in the world in a way that only you can.

And often that step starts with one ask, one conversation. So, would you like to learn how to negotiate, influence and lead in a way that is both authentic and powerful? If yes, I’d love for you to join me live in January 2018, when I’ll be leading one of our signature events: Strategic Conversations, an experiential learning workshop for ambitious women.


The training is five hours of hands-on learning, and I’ll be taking participants through

  • Three key principles of negotiation that demystify the art and science of negotiating,
  • Five key leadership practices that are essential for rising above the the ranks and busting bias,
  • Seven elements of collaborative negotiation that help you get past no and get to yes while improving relationships, and so much more.

The investment to attend is a fraction of what it would take to work with us one-on- one. It’s also an investment that pays back HUGE dividends in your future negotiations.


Some attendees apply the skills we teach and increase their job offers by $10K or $20K and more. What would be possible for you?


Seats are limited to 20 participants. This will be a great opportunity for you to practice and hone your skills in self-advocacy and negotiation so you can close your wage and leadership gap in 2018.


Hope to see you there!


Bio: Jamie Lee is a She Negotiates consultant, coach and a pragmatic negotiation geek
dedicated to helping ambitious women negotiate and lead with authentic power. Jamie
was born in South Korea, where negotiating was considered a part of daily life. She first
learned self-advocacy from the example of her mother who raised three daughters while
running a business by herself as an immigrant in America. Earlier in her career, she
negotiated on behalf of multi-million dollar enterprises and gained experience in business
negotiations as a hedge fund analyst and later as a tech startup manager.


Interested in learning the strategies and tactics of mutual benefit negotiation? If yes, then
join Jamie at WorkSocial on January 31, 2018. She will be leading hands-on workshop
Strategic Conversations: How to Influence, Negotiate and Lead. This will be 5 hours of
experiential learning, group coaching with individual feedback.


Sign up today!

What Makes for a Successful Corporate Training Program?

Advancement and innovation have always been essential for businesses that wish to truly thrive. However, many corporations today aren’t able to innovate and advance in a way that heightens their competitiveness; at present, 70% of organizations in the United States have cited capability gaps among their employees. Interestingly, the reason these companies struggle to foster an optimally-skilled team isn’t for their lack of training programs or half-hearted implementation of them. As Forbes reports, corporate spending on training programs increased by a record-breaking 15% from 2013 to 2014 in the U.S., with total spending amounting to over $70 billion. So if companies are willing and able to implement these training programs to gain a competitive edge, why aren’t they working?
It all comes down to the details.

Identify Specific Company Objectives and Challenges

Many corporate training programs fail because their itineraries aren’t guided by specific goals. Rather, plan training seminars that are tailored to the individual aspects of your company’s short-term and long-term goals, and think through how each topic or concept to be presented at the seminar will help employees meet these goals. It’s also important to think about all of the potential challenges your company faces, as well as challenges that employees could encounter as they attempt to meet goals. If your company’s shortcomings aren’t identified, even the best training seminars will likely yield little to no results. The same can be said if employees’ performances are obstructed by complications and inefficiencies that have yet to be addressed.

Determine your Target Training Audience

Who exactly could benefit from a corporate training program? Is it an entire department, your management team, the entire company, new hires, or low performers? The more specific your audience, the more tailored (and in turn, the more helpful) your training programs can become; narrowing your audience also saves those who don’t need training in a certain subject valuable time.

Rely on Experts

You know your company best, but when it comes to planning, organizing, and implementing training programs, it can be highly advantageous to partner with professionals. A professional training program will rely on experts with extensive experience making these learning opportunities engaging, interactive, well-communicated, and enriched by a variety of resources, all while driving home your company’s specific training objectives.

Measure Program Effectiveness

Did your program work? Many companies that implement corporate training programs fail to follow up to see if introduced skills and concepts stuck with employees. A check in shortly after a program concludes, whether through a no-pressure “quiz,” evaluation of performance data, surveys, or forums can help a company find ways to reinforce concepts or improve training programs in the future.

Offer On-Going Support

You’ll also want to ensure training programs are followed up with adequate support. Even if employees seem to grasp new skills while attending a program, questions may arise as they put these skills into practice. Establish a support system in which managers or trainers are highly accessible to employees, and in which they proactively reach out to see if employees are encountering any difficulties.


The Rutgers School of Business’s Executive Education Corporate Training Programs help organizations implement training programs that effectively meet each of these criteria and more by providing customized learning solutions guided by exceptional business expertise. Contact the Rutgers School of Business’s Executive Education Program today to learn more about our corporate training programs.


Book today!


Post Author:

How Your First Salary Negotiation Can Literally Change the World

I won’t be the first to tell you that women don’t like to negotiate for themselves. We prefer negotiating on behalf of others and we’ll do anything to avoid appearing greedy or selfish. I want to turn that thinking on its head and show you why negotiating for yourself is the least selfish thing you can do.


Imagine you’re a recent college grad living at home, and employed in a clothing store making $10 per hour, or $1,733 per month. After six months on the job you’ve been tagged as someone with mad skills. You go to your manager and ask for $15 per hour with a promise to mentor new hires, and your manager agrees to $12. You’re now making $2,080 per month.


Since you’re living with your parents, that little bump might mean the difference between just meeting expenses and paying the monthly nut on your college debt, and saving enough to move out into a shared apartment in a year or so. It might also mean that you agree to meetup with friends for a bite to eat once in a while and not feel so guilty about it.


Another six months go by, and you’ve been promoted to manager at $16 per hour. You’re now making $2,773 per month.


Suddenly your savings get a wee bit more real. This additional cash seems to unlock your capacity to visualize your future. You see ways to parlay your experience into roles that make use of your education AND your job experience. You land a job as a customer service manager making $43K per year. You move into an apartment with a roommate. Your parents are relieved that you’ve finally launched. You’re relieved that you’re literally and figuratively out of the basement.


You start reconnecting with friends and growing your network. You volunteer on the weekends to walk dogs at a rescue shelter. You even donate $50 to Heifer International. And you start to invest $100 per month in an IRA.


(BTW, According to the Motley Fool, if you start saving at age 22, and you invest your savings in the market until you’re 67, that $100 per month—assuming a 7% return—will be worth $1,657,765.)

You’re now imagining your future with both blue-sky thinking and strategy.

In case you missed it, your first ask and subsequent asks benefitted you, yes, but also your parents, your friends who have missed you, and the future of the furry friends you are so passionate about.


In case you missed it, your asks (and your parents’ generosity) allowed you to avoid adding to the burden of the welfare system, and yet your tax dollars supported that same welfare system for folks who need it.


In case you missed it, that tiny donation you made to Heifer International just made it possible for a family to move out of poverty.

Now, extrapolate a lifetime of asking and here’s what you get: everything that money can’t buy.

Vision, significance, accomplishment, contribution, joy, passion, community, connection, responsibility, collaboration, change, strategy.


Above is a list of your values. A lifetime of asking allows you to put your values and into action and turn them into strengths, and those strengths deployed benefit you, your employer, and everyone in all your circles of influence.


Negotiating your first salary (and any future ask) has nothing to do with selfishness or greed or even money, and everything to do with the possibilities that money unlocks.


Sign up today!


Post Author: Lisa Gates

Infographic: The Eight Key Elements of a Strategic Plan for Salary Negotiation

Curious about what we focus on when developing a strategic negotiation plan? Here’s an infographic that provides a snapshot of our process.



  1. Assess your Career
    To craft a strong strategic plan for your negotiation, you need to take a deep dive into your accomplishments, strengths, and repeating themes and define the value you create in your work.
  2. Research your value
    We’ll identify comparable compensation packages for similar positions based on the value you can provide in the hands of your employer, and the return on investment your employer expects to reap from your efforts in the future.
  3. Construct your narrative
    Dovetailing on your strengths and accomplishments, we’ll craft your superpower statement and identify key stories you’ll tell to demonstrate your past and future value in action.
  4. Gather your support system
    We’ll identify the people in your network who can support you in your effort to be hired or promotedw internal and external influencers who are Willing to use their social capital on your behalf.
  5. Prioritize your requirements
    Your strategic plan includes not only knowing what your employer wants, but also identifying and prioritizing the menu of requirements and benefits that are available and/or important to you.
  6. Sequence your ask
    Dovetailing the work in #5, we’ll help you frame and anchor your ask, and plan your concessions and requests for reciprocity-in advance-to maximize both your opportunities your employer’s interests.
  7. Write scripts
    We Will write succinct scripts to help you meet potential resistance or objection, and keep the conversation mowng forward by creating an — atmosphere of possibility, flexibility, and assurance
  8. Roleplay to done deal!
    We’ll practice with you until you’re confident, and support you through the offer/counter offer process until you reach a deal.


Book your seat today!


Post Author: LISA GATES

5 Tips For A Successful Training Program

The most successful companies in the world recognize the fact that training is not an event but an ongoing process.


It’s no secret that having a successful training program is essential to any organization, but the thought of creating such a program from scratch can be daunting. Companies that use SAP enterprise software have at least one thing in common with other kinds of organizations: They all need to train their employees on the appropriate and best-practice use of this complex software. We at The Michael Management Corporation have worked with some of the most successful companies in the world, helping them put together effective training programs. Based on our experience, we have summarized these five quick tips to help you design a training program for your organization:


  • Don’t let training be an after-thought. Your organization likely has invested millions of dollars in software, programs, or specific methodologies, but if you don’t train people to use it effectively, then this investment largely will be wasted. Failure to make training a critical component of any ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system is the No. 1 mistake many organizations make. The best way to show your organization’s commitment to a comprehensive and ongoing training program is when the support for it starts at the top executive level.
  • Consider employing various types of training or training delivery methods: off-site; on-site; and online, self-study, and instructor-led. Your employees learn in different ways and at different paces, which is why it is important to make sure that everyone has access to the material and can be engaged in different ways. Send employees to relevant conferences, bring a training professional to your own location, and provide access to online training programs. The best training methods employ a mixed method approach, combining at least two of these options. Also, consider that most, if not all, recent college graduates are used to taking training online, so creating that option is an effective way to motivate students to participate.
  • Review your training materials ahead of time. A good training course explains not only how to perform a task but more importantly why, so users understand the business rationale behind what they’re doing. Each training session should set a scene of a common business scenario that students can identify with easily as part of their job responsibilities. Ensure the materials are applicable to what users need to learn and include plenty of hands-on practice. This is essential, because while book knowledge is important, if your employees cannot then apply this knowledge in real-world scenarios, it is of no use.
  • Monitoring your employees’ progress is a critical, yet often overlooked, aspect. Survey employees immediately after the training to assess how well they liked the course, trainer (if applicable), and how well the training met their needs. Also, training administrators should monitor student progress and training completion; a training course that is only half finished is not going to be effective. Finally, make students accountable with meaningful applicable exams. Define a series of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for your training program, such as average number of training hours per student, average completion percentage, average final grades, etc. Review these KPIs at regular intervals and manage your training program and progress against these benchmark values. Make use of automated tools to help you with this part. For example, our online learning management system (LMS) system automatically sends out reminders to students when it detects that progress has stalled.
  • Last but certainly not least, don’t stop. The most successful companies in the world recognize the fact that training is not an event but an ongoing process. Business environments are evolving constantly, with new developments being created and existing ones enhanced. Consequently, training is an ongoing exercise without an end date. Best practice is to provide recurring refresher courses and cross-training opportunities for existing employees and comprehensive starter training for new hires. In addition, consider including successful completion of the courses as part of an employee’s annual performance evaluation.


Book today!


Post Author: Lorri Freifeld

Why Women Struggle With Confidence More Than Men

Learn why the confidence gap is a problem and how to solve it.


Cara Maksimow left her job of 13 years as a pharmaceutical sales manager because of a company restructuring about three years ago. She dreamed of returning to her previous career as a therapist, but the nervousness she felt about opening up her own practice overwhelmed her. She was still a licensed social worker, but she hadn’t seen patients in over a decade.


A fast-talker who bounces from thought to thought with contagious enthusiasm, the New Jersey native explains she was eager for the chance to own her own business, but her mind filled with thoughts of failure: What if she opened a private practice and nobody hired her? What if she was unsuccessful and everyone knew?


Eventually she decided to apply for a new job in pharmaceutical sales because that felt more comfortable than taking a leap of faith. Her work would be easy and familiar. Around the same time, she hired a life coach who encouraged her to move forward with her business instead.


“I was hesitating taking the next step because I didn’t know if I could do it,” Maksimow says. “It was tough. But now things are going really well, and I look back and think about how being a perfectionist made me worry. Could I really start my own business?


Maksimow is not alone in her incessant second-guessing. She was experiencing what a lot of women have on a daily basis: low confidence, despite above-average abilities and skills. Katty Kay, the Washington, D.C., anchor for BBC World News America, and Claire Shipman, an ABC News and Good Morning America correspondent, wrote the seminal book on this topic, The Confidence Code. It explores a phenomenon in our society: Men are almost always more confident than women, even when the women are equally or more talented.

Men are almost always more confident than women, even when the women are equally or more talented.

The implications of this confidence gap are grave. Some research shows having higher levels of confidence leads people to be more successful in life and in work. In fact, Kay and Shipman concluded confidence is more important than competence. Because women are more likely to be perfectionists and avoid risk-taking, they’re typically less confident, which means they’re less likely to speak up in meetings, ask for raises or negotiate salaries. Many women fall behind where they could be excelling. While they second-guess the tone of their boss’s offhand comment or dwell on whether they should suggest a bold idea in a meeting, their male counterparts brush off potentially negative comments, confidently speak up and eventually pass them by.


This problem affects entry-level workers and C-level executives alike. “A year before her book Lean In was published, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told us, ‘There are still days I wake up feeling like a fraud, not sure I should be where I am,’ ” Kay and Shipman write in The Confidence Code. “Likewise the two of us spent years attributing our own success to luck, or, like Blanche DuBois, to the kindness of strangers. And we weren’t being deliberately self-deprecating—we actually believed it. After all, how could we possibly have deserved to get to where we’d gotten?”


A now-famous study of this confidence gap between men and women was reported in The McKinsey Quarterly in 2008. The authors referred to Hewlett Packard internal research that found men typically applied for promotions when they met 60 percent of the required qualifications, while women only applied when they met 100 percent of them.


Despite being just as qualified as the men, the women assumed they wouldn’t be hired unless they met all of the qualifications, so they didn’t apply. “So essentially, women feel confident when we are perfect. Or practically perfect,” Kay and Shipman write in The Confidence Code. “Underqualified and underprepared men don’t think twice about leaning in. Overqualified and over-prepared, too many women still hold back.” Many women feel they simply don’t deserve to be at the top, or they’re afraid their confidence will come across as aggressive or controlling.


And this issue isn’t exclusive to women—though that’s where it’s most obvious. Plenty of men know what it’s like to see a co-worker with more confidence than intelligence rise through the ranks—seemingly on the backs of more diligent, more qualified peers.


Another study supporting this notion that confidence matters more than competence comes from Cameron Anderson, a professor of organizational behavior at the University of California, Berkeley. He conducted a study in which he quizzed around 250 students. The students were given a list of names and historical events and asked to mark the ones they identified. There was a twist, though. Some of the names and events were completely fabricated, such as Galileo Lovano and Murphy’s Last Ride. He then discovered, by assessing his students over the course of the semester, that the students who chose the most fake names and acted as if they knew them were regarded by their peers as being the most respected and admired.


“We got fairly obsessed with this [topic], especially when we started reading Cameron Anderson’s research about confidence versus competence,” Shipman says. “What he’s finding is that confidence—in terms of everyday success or the standard definition of success—can trump competence. So we’re like, What? It just really [flies] in the face of everything we believe.”


Women are raised to think that if they work hard and do well in school, they’ll be rewarded, she says. But in reality, exuding confidence inspires and motivates others more than being intelligent or hardworking. If you’re confident, you are “more likely to get your ideas heard and get more follow-through on them,” Shipman says. “It’s kind of startling.”


Reverence and admiration are qualities we’d all like to possess. But it goes below the surface: Lack of confidence has real, tangible consequences, too.


Linda Babcock is an economics professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and the author of Women Don’t Ask. She conducted studies with some of her business students, examining how confidence relates to negotiation. She found men negotiate their salaries four times as frequently as women do. When women do negotiate, they ask for 30 percent less than their male counterparts.


Over the course of her career as a therapist, Maksimow has worked with numerous patients who struggled with perfectionism. She says one of the biggest dangers in this type of compartmentalized thinking is that it creates a perception that everything is black and white—if something isn’t completely flawless, perfectionists see it as a failure.


“We have these high expectations that are almost impossible to meet,” Maksimow says. “We’re all human, so when things fall short of perfect, instead of seeing it as, OK, well I tried, or I got close, or maybe next time, or that was pretty good, we think, It wasn’t perfect, so forget it, it’s a complete failure. That’s where confidence comes in. A lot of people who come in with depression and anxiety, especially with depression and a lot of negative self-talk, have this idea of ‘perfect’ and they have a hard time letting go of it.”


Shipman says she was surprised to discover there are subtle differences in the brains of men and women. The small differences in structure and chemistry could be responsible for different types of thoughts and behaviors in general, and that could have an effect on confidence levels. Some studies suggest women activate their amygdala, the area in the brain responsible for fear, more often than men. Another study suggests high levels of testosterone correlate with more risk-taking.


Women are more likely to be diagnosed with psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression, which often affect confidence, according to Gail Saltz, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at the Weill-Cornell Medical College and author of the forthcoming The Power of Different: The Link Between Disorder and Genius.


“Anxiety disorders and mood disorders, depression specifically, occur twice as often in women as they do in men,” Saltz says. “We just have different wiring and different hormonal statuses that impact our wiring. The greater tendency to experience those things—anxiety and depression—often feeds insecurity. We may be more sensitive to reading what other people are thinking or not thinking about us than men.”


Saltz has experienced the confidence gap herself. As a young medical student at the University of Virginia, she had a number of experiences that made it more difficult for her to pursue a career as a doctor, such as when an attending physician asked her why she was wasting her best childbearing years going to medical school and seeing fields such as neurosurgery—which she found interesting—completely dominated by men. She felt she had to overcompensate to succeed.


“I felt that when I was called upon, I better have one hell of a sparkly answer,” she says. “I felt that it needed to be even better than my male counterparts for me to swim in the sink-or-swim environment.”


Despite being more confident in herself now and successful in her career, Saltz says the confidence gap was something she noticed often in the beginning of her career. “I would say I was very aware of the discrepancy in numbers, the discrepancy in salaries, the discrepancy in opportunities, the question of how to handle that, and the impact on one’s confidence, which was substantial.”


Saltz believes that although we have made progress in equal rights for men and women, we haven’t made quite as much progress as we think we have, which poses an even greater danger for women. “It appears like a 50-50 world, but the reality is that there are still these perceptions that can undermine women’s confidence,” Saltz says. “Chief among them is that women don’t get equal pay for equal jobs. That boggles my mind—that we’re still in that place. What’s harder now about being a young woman growing up is that there’s some sort of perception that it really is the same, so it might be even more confusing. It still isn’t [the same]. There are still far fewer CEOs who are women.”


Shipman says one of the most surprising discoveries she came across in her research was that young women today still lack confidence despite progress that has been made in equal rights for women over the past few decades. She says a solution for this might require taking the emphasis away from teaching young girls to be perfect academically and instead teaching them about the benefits of failure and risk-taking.


After assessing all of their research, Kay and Shipman attempted to figure out the ideal level of confidence people should strive for. They reached the conclusion that “a slight tilt toward overconfidence is ideal given our society and the way we work in the world and the nature of the human endeavor,” Shipman says. “That gives you a slight bias toward action as opposed to inaction. You’re going to make things happen.”


The good news? It’s possible to increase your confidence. The easiest way is to get out of your head and make a move.


“If you are somebody who overthinks, ruminates and assesses, try to focus on that because the more you’re spending time doing that, the less likely you are to take action,” Shipman says. “A certain amount of thinking and examining is obviously smart, but once it reaches a certain point, you’re less likely to act. You’re going to end up with too much information, and it’s going to be too overwhelming.”


Maksimow first launched her private practice in 2014. She rented an office one afternoon a week and had just a handful of regular clients. Now she holds around 15-18 sessions each week, has her own office, and published a book titled Lose That Mommy Guilt.


She also gives others the advice that worked for her. “If you’re beating yourself up in your own head for not getting things exactly perfect, it’s not helping you get better,” she says. “You’re just pushing yourself down. And that negative self-talk continues to grow and grow and grow.”


You can begin combating that today, she says. Start by being compassionate with yourself.


Learn to Negotiate


Post Author: Jamie Friedlander

Are You Ready To Grow Your Business?

This contributed post is for informational purposes only. Please consult a professional before acting on any business decisions.


When you start your own business, you often do so from the confines of the spare bedroom in your home. It’s not practical in terms of space, but it’s free, so many business owners begin their beginnings at a spare bedroom desk and with a tablet or laptop. The less overheads that they have to deal with, the better. As your business grows, you can find yourself thinking about where you want your business to go next. You can’t always stay in the spare bedroom, and if your own success surprises you and begins to rocket upward, you need to think about how your business is going to grow.


Before you race into a decision about growing your business from the seedling it started from, you need to think about whether you are actually ready to expand the business. Your recent successes are one indication of whether your business is ready to grow, but there are other factors to take into consideration. We’ve got five of the best ways you can decide whether your business is ready for that next step into the industry. Have a read through and decide whether you are sitting on the potential to be a big fish in an even bigger pond.

Regular Custom

Choosing to grow your business is going to be dependent on whether you have the customers that push you beyond your own boundaries. A steady and loyal customer base is one thing, but you really should have a customer base that is expanding before you decide to expand yourself. A regular flow of interested and loyal customers is proof that your service or product is of interest. The repeat customers that you get who gush about what you can do on a regular basis are the best kind of customers when judging whether you should be expanding. If you want to move into a bigger workspace, looking at WorkSocial can help you choose whether you share an office space with a business address – thus looking more professional – or whether you move into premises of your own. Growing customer interest may require far more space than the spare bedroom, so you need to consider this! The recurring and growing revenue from your customers who are loyal to you already can make your business far more stable, and mean that you can afford the rent on a commercial space.

Demand For Growth

We’ve talked about having a regular and steady customer base, and usually you can get a good gauge as to whether you should be growing as a business based on their feedback. If your customers are demanding more from you and telling you that you need to be bigger than you are, then that’s a pretty good indication that your business deserves a little more of a push. Your customer loyalty will help you to see where you need to grow the most. If customers are the ones demanding more from you in terms of product or service development, then you should pay attention. If you have a physical location that isn’t a spare bedroom, it may be worth opening a second location for your customers to attend and take advantage of your services. When you ask for feedback, you should take on board everything that you have been told. Market research and feedback are essential for continued growth; so, pay attention.

Regular Profits

When you look at your bottom line, how do you feel? Do you feel like you understand your expenses and incomings in the way you need to, to know whether your business is actually financially growing? Looking at your profits is going to really help you decide whether expansion is worth it. If you have regular profits that are steadily increasing, it may well be time to take the leap and grow your business. The one thing to remember here is not to look at your short-term successes. If your business is following the plan that you had originally set out in your business plan, then you should have some confidence that your profits will continue to grow when you take the chance for growth. Long term success will mean a lot to your bottom line, and if you can feel secure that you will have that continuance, you should go for it!

Industry Growth

As a business owner, you’ll hopefully be aware of the trends in your industry. Hopefully, your industry will be fairly buoyant and not the kind of industry that will fail and start to crash just as you grow. By reading the industry trends that are specific to yours, you can ascertain whether you may end up losing money rather than making more. Even if there is a current stagnation in your industry, it doesn’t mean that you will not be able to grow successfully. What you can do, though, is future-proof your business so that you can gain a serious, stable income in the face of adversity in the industry.

Too Much Of A Good Thing

Well, it’s not too much of a good thing really, as it’s amazing to have more business than you can handle. If you are bringing in that much that you need extra pairs of hands or space, then you need to look at moving into a bigger office and consider all that it entails. You can manage demand more easily by growing into a new location. A larger space can keep your business growing at a rapid pace, and having a professional address for your business can really make a difference to the way that your customers see you. Their recommendations are going to matter when it comes to growth, so make sure you look at every angle before you decide to press the accelerator pedal!


You have to be sure that your business is actually ready to grow, and if you push it too soon you could fall flat on your face. Have some confidence in your company and look at whether you have what it takes to maintain the growth.

6 Tips to Rule the Art of Conversation

The art of conversation is a necessary skill for almost everything in life. Conversations introduce you to people, important people who could be your mentors, employers, employees, partners or friends. Without conversations as the foundation for those relationships, you’ll have a hard time building a social circle, starting a business or advancing your career.


Once a conversation gets going, you should have little problem maintaining that momentum—but for most of us, getting it started is the hardest part. Master these “talking points” to get (and keep) a conversation going:

1. Lead with a compliment.

Compliments are the best possible way to begin a conversation. Not only do they provide a perfect opening line and a possible door for discussion, they also make the person feel good about themselves. Starting the conversation off on a positive note is crucial to keep the conversation going.


Just remember, the more specific your compliment is, the better—for example, commenting that a person is well-dressed is nowhere near as satisfying or flattering as saying something like, “Your shoes are cute.” It’s concise, sincere and specific—and now you’ve opened the conversational door because your partner has something to talk about.

2. Embrace small talk.

Small talk is taboo to some people, and while it’s not the most fulfilling type of conversation, it is both functional and necessary. Small talk is what leads the way to deeper conversation, much in the way that a car must gradually accelerate to a certain speed rather than hitting 60 miles an hour instantaneously.


Small talk topics are easy to pull—you can talk about the event you’re attending, comment on a food or drink item, point something out about the venue, or if you’re desperate, you can talk about the weather. These are all shared experiences that anyone can relate to, so they can work for any individual.

3. Ask lots of questions.

If you want to move from small talk to real conversation, you have to look for any opportunity that leads you to change the subject. Don’t try to abruptly change gears and talk about something deep or substantial; instead, patiently wait for the opportunity to present itself.


Questions are conversational lubricant. Pay attention as much as you can to the conversation and use them to move it forward. You should be scouting the entire conversation for “tell me more” opportunities. Keep potential questions in the back of your mind. Try to be as specific and inquisitive as possible.

4. Be nice.

This should be obvious, but don’t neglect it. Your level of friendliness can make or break the receptiveness of the other party involved. Walk into the conversation with a big smile and open body language, and keep yourself open, receptive and smiling politely for as much of the conversation as you can.


Try not to cross your arms, appear distracted or let your eyes wander. Maintain eye contact when you can and go out of your way to show that you’re genuinely interested in what they have to say.

5. Let the other person do the talking.

This is another major point. If you go into a conversation and immediately begin dominating it with your own anecdotes, comments and explanations, the other person may immediately become disinterested. Instead, try to keep the focus on them as much as possible.


Utilizing frequent questions is a good strategy to this end. If you find that the conversation is dwindling, or if the person simply doesn’t respond well to questions, feel free to jump in yourself. Tell an amusing story or a personal anecdote—it may be exactly what the conversation needs to keep going.

6. Keep it light.

Try to keep the conversation as light and approachable as possible. If you immediately start complaining about your job or talking about what’s wrong with your life, people will want to avoid you. If you tell a joke or an amusing story, they’ll be far more likely to stay.


People tend to gravitate toward others with a positive attitude, so keep your conversational material positive. If you struggle with this, try memorizing a handful of good jokes or good stories to use when you meet new people.


These tips are written from a practical perspective, so they can be used in almost any environment, from a professional networking event to a bar or restaurant. The key is to get over your preconceived notions and hesitations and to embrace the reality of small talk. With a little practice and more confidence, you should have no problem starting a conversation with anybody, anywhere.


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Post Author: Larry Alton

‘The Three Rules of Three’ for Communicating Well

Even though I don’t much like them, I have to admit that some tips can be useful. Here are three that have been good to me.


  1. When I talk to an audience, I try to make no more than three points. (They can’t remember more than three, and neither can I.) In fact, one big point is even better. But three is the limit.
  2. I try to explain difficult ideas three different ways. Some people can’t understand something the first couple of ways I say it, but can if I say it another way. This lets them triangulate their way to understanding.
  3. I try to find a subtle way to make an important point three times. It sticks a little better.

But even though I’ve discovered a few tips that have helped, for my money, tips tend to be anemic when they don’t come fortified with experience, or with a vivid story that lets you enjoy a vicarious experience.


I was once asked to write a list of tips on how to communicate well, and I resisted. I finally hammered out three, but they were so snarky I never sent them in:


Tip 1. Beware of tips.

Tips are intellectual and often mechanical. They don’t transform you. An experience transforms you. There’s a stretch of road I’ve driven down many times where I used to ignore the speed limit sign. One afternoon, I got a speeding ticket and I never ignored the speed limit again. The sign was a tip. The ticket was the experience.


Tip 2: Make a personal connection with your audience.

Look them in the eye and speak to them as if they’re a close friend and not a multitude. This is, of course, impossible to do just by reading this tip. Experience is what transforms you. (See Tip 1.)


Tip 3. If you can, experience improvisation.

It will focus you on the other person. Improv games allow most of the tips about public speaking to become second nature, rather than forced and mechanical. A common tip advises you to vary the pace of your talk. Improv puts you so in touch with the audience that varying your pace happens automatically. You do it without thinking, which is the only way it will be effective. Trying to follow tips, rather than letting behavior emerge from the experience of improvisation, can actually make a talk more wooden. You see it in the pauses speakers take when they try to apply the tip to pause every few sentences. During these mechanical pauses, the air is dead. But when an improviser takes a pause, something meaningful is happening. She pauses because she’s watching the audience to see if they understand her, and she’s actually thinking of what she ought to say next. The pause is filled with something that’s happening between her and the audience. She’s alive.


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Post Author: Alan Alda

How negotiation skills helped me deal with sexism in the tech industry

Who benefits when you keep yourself small?

I posed this question to the audience of women and non-binary technologists at Write Speak Code conference in Portland, Oregon this past Saturday.


Answers bubbled up from the crowd:


Not you.


Not your friends and family.


Not other people who look like you.


Definitely not your pet cat.


But let’s face it. Bias is real, and so is the pressure to keep you and your paycheck small.

Of numerous and seemingly endless stories emerging about inequality, bias and sexism in the tech industry, Ellen Pao’s story is one that deeply resonates with me.


Ellen Pao is a former VC at one of the top firms in Silicon Valley. In 2012, she sued her employer for gender discrimination. Instead of staying small, she took up the fight. Instead of staying quiet, she spoke up. She didn’t win, but she retained the right to tell her story.


Here’s her experience of how entrenched sexism benefitted her employer:


“…the answer crystallized in my mind: If you had the opportunity to have workers who were overeducated, underpaid, and highly experienced, whom you could dump all the menial tasks you didn’t want to do on, whom you could get to clean up all the problems, and whom you could create a second class out of, wouldn’t you want them to stay?


All too real. All too familiar.


Not speaking your truth is a toxic experience.

Here’s my truth – I left the tech field, because I couldn’t bear the pressure to fold myself into a pretzel to please an all-male management team and to pretend like sexism doesn’t exist. Like 41% of women in tech who leave within 10 years of working in the field, I couldn’t see myself advancing and thriving if I stayed.


My story is, of course, unique to me and one of privilege, as I am an able-bodied, naturalized U.S. citizen who speaks English. And I don’t have the answers to fixing the tech industry’s sexism problem. My choice was to leave, but it doesn’t have to be yours. You don’t have to do anything that I’ve done in my career to cope, to grow and to change. I’ve benefitted from the experience of others, and my intention is to share what I’ve experienced to be of value.


So here are few things that helped me:

  1. Learning to negotiate with the voice in my head. I call it the itty bitty shitty committee. Coaches call it saboteur. It’s the voice that has internalized every negative, sexist and racist thing ever said about me. It’s the voice that tells me, over and over again, to stay small and safe. It tells fake news that diminishes my value and power. I reckon with it so it doesn’t hold me back from showing up, going big and speaking out.
  2. Getting really honest about what makes me me. What am I good at? What do I value? Where do I belong? I resisted these questions for many years, because I wanted to mold myself into something I’m not, a left-brained tech startup manager with a promising career in crunching data for high six-figures. When I could no longer sustain the faking, I accepted that my real passion was in writing, speaking and coaching. That I value my creativity and autonomy over fancy titles that my mother would approve of. Once I found my tribe of creative freelancers, writers and coaches, I found my community. It was like finding home.
  3. Negotiating for a significant pay raise. Money is a tool that can be used for good. A year before I left my tech job, I asked and received a $20K pay increase that I eventually saved to fund the transition into working as a full-time negotiation trainer and coach with She Negotiates. Now it’s my job to help ambitious people like you become bolder, braver and better paid, and I love it.


Let’s go big or go home.


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