Women’s History Month: SBA resources for small businesses

To kick off a monthlong celebration of women-owned businesses, I’m hosting a virtual booth on March 4th at the “Celebrating Women’s History Month: International Business Forum.” This event is free and co-sponsored by the US Small Business Administration (SBA), the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), and the Tech Incubator at Queens College (TIQC).

This isn’t another networking or branding event. It’s about ACCESS to real resources tailored to your unique business needs, and designed to give you the support you need to thrive.

For example, did you know that the rules for PPP have changed just this week to allow self-employed business owners to obtain more funding?

Learn about government programs and assistance, and network on March 4, 2021 from 9:30 am to 11:30 am.

Register for the event:  https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAudOmrrzgqGdKCHq6kDswCmRZLmZI7YOXp

I’ll be hosting my booth from 10:25 am -10:55 am on March 4th.

See you there!

Looking for ways to describe your business and can’t find the words? Schedule a free 15-minute consultation with me today and we’ll get started on your storytelling.

Should you resurrect your pre-COVID marketing plans?

Pre-Covid Marketing Plans

If you’re still reeling from the disruption of early 2020 and trying to determine the best way to promote your business in 2021, you’re not alone. We’ve all found ways to adapt in our personal and professional lives due to COVID, civil unrest, and a downright traumatic election cycle. But figuring out the best time to put out the pre-COVID marketing plans that you’ve had in the can may be challenging while things are still uncertain.

Disruption shouldn’t necessarily mean that your well-researched and thoughtfully prepared initiatives should stay shelved indefinitely.

You should go out with what you’ve got, but perhaps after a few tweaks. Here are some helpful questions to determine if what made sense in February 2020 makes sense to go out with today:

  1. Is it still timely? Will your announcement contain actionable information that people can use with the next 4-6 weeks?
  2. Is it helpful? This goes for every announcement. Will your news make someone’s life easier?
  3. Is it relevant? This may be the painful part. If your news is just a vanity announcement, you likely won’t get much attention. Use this opportunity to repackage the information for a smaller, more intimate distribution. Your news may not be of interest to the general public, but serviced strategically to major stakeholders like donors or investors could have a greater impact than you originally expected.
  4. Are you prepared to go the distance? Just managing expectations here. It’s possible that your first effort may not generate much traction, but the most important thing is to keep going. Keep sharing news and creating consistency.

Letting people know that you’re still in the game and still creating change is the most important thing that you can do to increase interest in your brand or organization’s work.

If you’re still unsure of where to start, schedule a free consultation with me to learn more about how to stay consistent with your marketing efforts.

Surviving and Thriving as an Expat Mom

What do you do when “at work” “at home” and “at school” all collide in your living room? Imagine managing that scenario in another country.

As you can imagine, COVID-19 wasn’t even a thought when I decided to embark on expat life with my daughter, but it surely gave the incentive to take the leap sooner than later.

Through trial by fire, I’ve stumbled on a few tips to keep the plates spinning on all fronts.

  • First, are you organized? Going paperless should be your first step well before you hit the road.
  • Second, how are your calendar management skills? Online tools have helped to lighten the load so that I get a little bit more sleep.
  • Finally, do you have a support network? I’ve created a list of helpful resources for mompreneur expats to maintain your sanity.

Special Offer for Introvert Entrepreneurship Lab

Introvert Entrepreneurship Lab

Thank you to the attendees of the Introvert Entrepreneurship Lab!

I hope by now that you’re well on your way to telling your story and pitching your vision.

As a special thank you for your time, I’d like to offer a free checklist to help you:

  1. clarify your vision,
  2. explain what inspired you to change the world,
  3. AND share when you decided to take the leap!

Remember, not all storytelling takes place face-to-face. Sign up today for a free consultation on how you can put your best tools to use.

Download these free tips and book a FREE consultation. Start pitching your story TODAY.

Why Coronavirus Should Have Every Manager Talking About Remote Work

Remote workers this is your moment

It’s been my experience that the managers most opposed to remote work are usually the folks who are least comfortable working with computers. 

While the excuses may vary, some employers even invoke phrases like “how can we be certain that you’re actually working?” For working parents and caregivers especially, the idea that one wouldn’t know how to apply discipline and care to their time while fulfilling their obligation to their employers is insulting. 

Face-to-face interaction is definitely important and every employer has a right to decide where their staff should fulfill their responsibilities. 

However, I’m also encouraged as I see more employers understanding that there’s no one-size-fits-all formula to #productivity. 

If your employer is considering a remote working arrangement but they’re still believing ridiculous myths that discourage it, here are some helpful statistics:

  • Forbes reported that “95% of employers surveyed stated that allowing telecommuting increases employee retention rates. “
  • Inc. magazine followed Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom’s experiment that yielded a full day’s productivity and a 50 percent decrease in employee attrition.
  • Professor Bloom presented further detail in this TEDx talk.
  • This Buffer “State of Remote Work” report offers a comprehensive perspective of how employees feel about having flexilbility.

ASK your creatives what it takes to help them write, design, and do whatever it takes to get the job done. It’s not always about the commute and the g*d awful distractions that come with open workspaces. 

It’s unfortunate that it’s taking a global pandemic to force some organizations to rethink the role that technology plays in helping to keep the plates spinning. 

However, an investment in telecommuting is definitely worth it if it means keeping uniquely talented individuals on the payroll. 

The Harvard Business Review takes it a step further and promotes the idea of a Work From Anywhere economy. In addition to productivity increases in practices worldwide, the study also found a correlation in increased productivity relative to both working remotely and in the office.

The thing about Working From Anywhere is not everyone who works while on the road represents the “I Quit My Job and Traveled the World For a Year” aesthetic.

The writer, editor, or producer that you desperately need for your next project may also be the person who’ll create some of their best work after the kids have gone to bed, or while sitting at their ailing parents’ bedside. 

Be safe, my friends. 

Looking for ways to improve your messaging during lockdown? Contact me today for a free consultation.

Nonprofit Marketing Webinar on January 21st

Nonprofit Connect marketing webinar

Have you added fresh, engaging copy to your fundraising and marketing materials as we begin the new year? Year-end pushes can leave nonprofit marketing teams exhausted and scrambling for ideas, along with the creative energy to implement them. 

I am thrilled to announce that I’ll be partnering with Nonprofit Connect’s E-Learning center to provide tips for nonprofit marketers to kick the year off on a high note! Discover ways to share what’s new, unique or different this year to re-engage donors, using a few copywriting techniques to sharpen your materials. 

This webinar will share tips on how to review your existing materials to make your newsletters, annual reports, and online marketing more compelling, and make your mission even more endearing to your donors. 

Register HERE today.

Looking for ideas to keep your donors engaged during the pandemic? Schedule a consultation with me to discuss your messaging and donor communication options.

Is the Press Release Dead? No, but your strategy might be.

Muck Rack's 2019 Survey on Media Relations Contact

If you’re about to make an announcement about your company’s latest news and think that well-written press release will guarantee the front page of the NY Times, you might want to sit and have a read. 

A recent survey conducted by media resource Muck Rack showed that journalists prefer to be contacted with news via short, personalized email pitches (preferably no more than three lines) over any other kind of contact. The survey, conducted among 700 media contacts reinforces that social media and good old-fashioned relationship-building are key to getting to the top of the pile. 

So what does that mean for your next announcement? 

Hold off on sending the press release and get to know your favorite editors and producers before you start telling them about your latest, greatest news.

When you think about it, this makes total sense since our friends in the media receive emails and phone calls constantly. The pressure is also always on to keep one eye plugged in to social media where a lot of news seems to break faster.  It’s also just a nice courtesy.

How do I get someone’s attention?

If your PR pro has been counseling you to look beyond the generic press release, this may be why. Listen to them. Adding a solid strategic communications plan, plus great relationships is the best way to generate media interest for your business.

Don’t have a publicist on your team? Call me

If you’re wondering what to do with that 1,000 word masterpiece that you just paid through the nose for? Think of it as dessert, and the pitch is the appetizer. Your interview is the meal.  You can always use the press release for additional background, and at the very least for search engine optimization on your Web site.

Here are some other highlights from the survey:

  • The most preferred method of pitching among journalists is 1:1 email. Least preferred is by phone. 
  • 65% of journalists like to be pitched between 9-11am.
  • Lack of personalization is once again the #1 reason why journalists reject otherwise relevant pitches (25%), followed by bad timing (23%)
  • 1/3 of journalists want to receive pitches under 3 sentences in length, with another 61% preferring under 3 paragraphs. Only 6% of journalists would like to receive pitches over 3 paragraphs. 
  • 83% of journalists cited Twitter as the most valuable to them (up from 70% last year), followed by Facebook 40% (up from 22% last year).

Social media provides instant feedback

A curious thing to note about Twitter. One of the best parts of social media is it provides an opportunity to have conversations about your passion in real-time with people all over the world. For media companies, it gives them the information they need to know exactly how their reporting is being embraced, discussed and shared. 

It’s also a wonderful resource to add to your research toolbox when figuring out what kind of news your media contacts want to know about. 

So there you have it. Don’t pick up the phone, personalize your pitches, and I’ll see you on Twitter

You can also schedule a call to discuss whether or not you should send out that next announcement as a release…or a simple tweet.

In the Weeds: Getting into the Florida Cannabis Industry


*Note: This article first appeared on Caribbeannationalweekly.com on March 5, 2019.

With cannabis legalization cruising beyond its tipping point and new legislation dropping almost daily throughout the U.S., Florida-based entrepreneurs are wondering how to enter the “cannabiz” on the ground floor.

What many of our readers want to know is will there be equal opportunities for people of color whose communities have previously been targeted for criminalization of the substance? And more importantly, how will these communities gain access to the financial and other resources necessary to compete in an industry where the substance is still considered illegal on a federal level?

“Since November of 2016, the voters in this state have spoken and medical marijuana is legal in Florida,” said Shaheewa Jarrett, founder of the Broward County Black Chamber of Commerce. “As this niche industry grows beyond a billion dollars in other states, our community cannot ignore or be left out of this trending new opportunity to start new businesses and create jobs in our community.”

To date, more than 30 states have legalized cannabis for medicinal use, and the substance is legal in 10 states for recreational. Thirteen states have decriminalized the substance, and cannabis was projected to have generated $250 million in revenues for the state of Florida.

This past week, Democratic Presidential candidate and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker introduced legislation that would legalize cannabis on a federal level, which would open the doors to traditional funding for startups.

Credit: LexScope on Unsplash

Equity and Opportunity for All

“It’s a heavy price tag to get involved, which is at this point is over $60,000 non-refundable to participate. We’d love to change that and make it accessible to more people,” said Scheril Murray Powell, Esq. Ms. Powell is a Jamaican-American attorney who’s been at the front lines of the fight for legalization in Florida and throughout the U.S. She is also an advocate working to create new opportunities for equity within the marketplace.

“We’d love to see more female involvement, more veteran owners involved. We’d love to see more people with disabilities and actual patients being able to participate in the space. And of course, we’d like to see some representation from ethnic minorities as well.”

Powell advocates for prospective cannapreneurs to do their due diligence about current opportunities in the market. She recommends the best place to start is to start by joining Minorities 4 Medical Marijuana, and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Both organizations provide information about local events and offer a supportive environment to learn and become active.

“I do encourage people to be patient. We have to celebrate that we have legalization in play so that patients can get access to their medicine. It takes baby steps that can be frustrating. But it is an exercise in patience. The advice that I give people is don’t worry if you don’t get moving as fast as you would like it to. There are markets that are still changing their laws and that can take many years. As far as building a team, it’s really important that you identify the right resources to get you where you need to go,” Powell added.

In the meantime, the Broward County Black Chamber of Commerce hosts informational seminars to assist local entrepreneurs in getting the process started.

“If we sit on the sidelines, we will be consumers only and have no ownership.  This is unacceptable.  We should have equity in this space.  The Chamber is actively educating the community because we have to get involved on the ground level before it is too expensive to enter the market,” added Ms. Jarrett.

Looking to promote your cannabis business? Let’s chat today about your cannabis marketing plans.

Partying with a Purpose the New York Way

There are few things New Yorkers love more than a quality brunch experience where the weather is (still) gorgeous, the drinks are flowing, and the food is phenomenal. The New York Urban League’s recent Black and White Champagne Brunch brought home way more than just bubbles and a great time. The organization’s third annual event was also an excellent opportunity to meet and break bread with some of the city’s most progressive and visionary African Americans. Held at the stunningly beautiful waterfront restaurant La Marina, the event honored Camille Joseph Goldman, vice president of State Government Affairs at Charter Communications. Event leadership included New York Urban League Board Chair Jeanine Conley and John Daves; Elsie McCabe Thompson and NYUL Board member Bill Thompson; and the afternoon’s honoree, Ms. Goldman and Jason Goldman. First things first, let me get the most important question out of the way: The food was outstanding! Delectable fried chicken sandwiches and fresh fruit skewers paired with overflowing bubbly is exactly how you kick off a Saturday on the waterfront. I barely touched the buffet afterward, I was having such a blast! Continue reading “Partying with a Purpose the New York Way”