Geri Stengel

 
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How To

An informal, often short, practical advice or instruction about how to accomplish some specific task.

Need Quiet? Optimize Your Office for Improved Focus

Introverts often get a bad rap, especially in entrepreneurship. Investors, employees and vendors who provide goods and services at a discount to startups are attracted to people who have the gift of gab. Even our work environment has been optimized for extroverts. Open space design, for example, has been heralded for optimizing collaboration and nurturing a strong culture while saving on rent.

While that sounds smart on the surface, it’s a shame when you consider that one-third to half the population are introverts, according to Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Introverts do their their best work in quiet. Introverts are just as likely to contribute to a company’s success, but they need an environment with fewer distractions. In quiet spaces, we can listen to our own thoughts and that can be very productive, even for extroverts.

Read all of Need Quiet? Optimize Your Office for Improved Focus on myturnstone.com.

5 Ways to Grow Your Business With A Little Help from Your Friends

After interviewing women entrepreneurs for the past four years, one fact stands out: Successful ones don’t do it alone.  Support comes in many shapes and sizes and from many different sources. I was reminded of this when I reconnected with Diana Lovett of Cissé Trading Co. who takes advantage of several different kinds support. We originally spoke about raising money when you’re pregnant or a new mother.

Cissé produces cocoa baking mixes, hot cocoa and ready-to-eat treats. Lovett has grown the company from a small regional player that sold in speciality markets to a national company selling in traditional supermarkets. She’s expanded her product line from foods you make to include foods that are ready to eat. All products are absolutely scrumptious.

Lovett built her company using a wide range of support systems.

Read all of 5 Ways to Grow Your Business With A Little Help from Your Friends on Forbes.com. 

Women And Nature: A Powerful Combination For The Planet And Business Growth

Want to unlock innovation? Diversity is the critical factor in market growth, according to Diversity and Market Growth, research undertaken by The Center for Talent Innovation.

More women in any field will lead to more innovation and better products and services — and will get the economic engine steaming along.  “If we hope to accelerate growth in the global economy, we cannot afford to leave out half the population,” said Cindy Padnos, founder and managing partner of Illuminate Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm.

Padnos gave me the quote for my book Forget the Glass Ceiling: Build Your Business Without One, but it resonated loudly as I started to write an article about two women, Amelia Baxter of WholeTrees Architecture and Structures and Sarah Bellos of Stony Creek Colors. Both are shaking up the sleepy agriculture industry with products that use sustainably grown plants and trees to replace highly polluting materials.

 

Amelia Baxter and her cofounder, Roald Gundersen, developed a process for turning waste trees (small trees routinely discarded during forest thinnings) into a replacement for steel, concrete and milled lumber used for beams, columns and trusses in building construction. “Round timber that hasn’t been milled is as strong as steel,” said Baxter. “It also mitigates the huge amount of waste created in the manufacturing of steel and milled lumber.”  WholeTrees also developed a methodology for grading the round timber to classify its strength. Round timber is plentiful and a renewable resource.

Read all of Women And Nature: A Powerful Combination For The Planet And Business Growth on Forbes.com. 

How An Army Veteran And Saffron Are Building Peace

When you think of Afghanistan, you probably think war torn and desolate. Not high quality produce.

When Kimberly Jung was stationed there as an Army captain, she tasted some of the best fruits, vegetables and spices she had ever eaten. Equally as impressive to her were the people whom she found to be optimistic despite their circumstances as well as loyal and hospitable.

When Jung came back to the U.S., she went to Harvard Business School expecting to be a management consultant At McKinsey in San Francisco. The job didn’t materialize. Instead, while on the phone with Keith Alaniz who was still deployed in Afghanistan, a spark for an entrepreneurial venture took shape. Alaniz told her about Haji Yosef, an industrious farmer who had plenty of saffron but no buyers.

Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. It sells for six to seven times the amount of opium poppy. Both Jung and Alaniz knew that selling a high-value crop like saffron would undercut drug trade, which fuels the Taliban.

Read all of How An Army Veteran And Saffron Are Building Peace on Forbes.com.

 

The Essential Guide for Female Entrepreneurs Who Want to Go Big

Women are sidestepping the glass ceiling and no longer aiming for the corner office. Instead, they’re choosing to strike out on their own. While more women-owned businesses are surpassing the $1 million revenue mark, they are still much less likely to do so than those owned by men. In fact, women are one-third as likely as their male counterparts to grow their businesses past $1 million.

The reason? Women entrepreneurs raise only half as much capital as men do. Undercapitalized companies have lower sales and lower profits and generate fewer jobs.

Julia Pimsleur wants to change that. She wants to do more than simply inspire women to go for the brass ring. She wants to provide a roadmap. And she does so with her new book, Million Dollar Women: The Essential Guide for Female Entrepreneurs Who Want to Go Big. Pimsleur has the street cred to do this. Her company,Little Pim, introduces young children to foreign languages through multimedia programs.

Read all of The Essential Guide for Female Entrepreneurs Who Want to Go Big on QuickBooks.com.

4 Overlooked Ways To Minimize The Risk Of Starting A Company

Striking out on your own is risky business. Within the first five years, 50% of businesses fail. But you can increase your chance of success with planning and preparation.

I asked Candace Klein what entrepreneurs overlook that could increase their chances of success. Who would know better? Klein has been part of three start-up companies and, through her Bad Girl Ventures nonprofit, has guided many women as they start companies. Bad Girl Ventures  provides training, connections and access to capital to female entrepreneurs in Cincinnati and Cleveland. Klein started SoMeLend, which closed its doors, and she is now the chief strategy officer of Dealstruck. Both companies are online alternative lenders to small businesses. 

Read all of 4 Overlooked Ways To Minimize The Risk Of Starting A Company on Forbes.com.

Power Up Your Business By Focusing on ‘Why’

Focusing on “Why” your company does what it does powers up your passion and your business. Inspirational leaders understand this. Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King and the Wright brothers all started with why, according to Simon Sinek, an ethnographer and author of Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. Sinek’s TED speech offers specifics around how these leaders did began and how they applied their passionate “why” each step along the way.

Read all of Power Up Your Business By Focusing on ‘Why’ on myturnstone.com. 

 

5 Common Mistakes Companies Make When Seeking Financing

Whether you’re starting a new business or expanding an existing $50 million enterprise, you may need to raise outside financing. I was surprised when my accountant, Gary Topche of Topche & Company, told me the mistakes business owners make are similar no matter the size of their businesses.

His company specializes in serving the financial needs of businesses ranging from startups wanting to grow big in a hurry to companies already worth half a billion dollars. Naturally, I wanted to know more about these mistakes, and share insights from someone so close to ground zero.

Read all of  5 Common Mistakes Companies Make When Seeking Financing on Quickbooks.com.

How To Make The Connections That Make Things Happen

Research shows that entrepreneurs with larger and more diverse networks grow their businesses bigger. Yet, networking can be uncomfortable, especially if you’re an introvert.

Leave it to an introvert, Dorie Clark, to write a practical, actionable e-book, Stand Out Networking: A Simple and Authentic Way to Meet People on Your Own Terms, that anyone can follow. It maps out how to make meaningful connections that can lead to an investment, a major new customer or partnership, media coverage, a publishing contract, a speaking opportunity, and much more.

Read all of How To Make The Connections That Make Things Happen on Forbes.com.

6 Lessons For Rocking A TED Talk Or Any Speech

TED and its independently run TEDx events are carefully curated, concise talks on a cornucopia of topics. I love to find a topic that I didn’t know I was interested in, then watch the talk online.

Presenting a TED Talk can bring you attention and even business, but it is no easy feat to be chosen as a speaker. Don’t expect your PR person to land you a gig. Professional speakers need not apply either, though some do land an appearance. It’s not about being polished. It’s about saying something extraordinary, said Aaron Sylvan organizer of TEDxFultonStreet and an event producer. Speakers at TED talks are the world’s most inspired thinkers and their topics have not been seen elsewhere. The ideas presented  change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.

Read all of 6 Lessons For Rocking A TED Talk Or Any Speech on Forbes.com.

 



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