April's panel discussion inspired valuable business advice from a group of highly accomplished professionals.
By Teri Breier, The Writing Goddess: firstname.lastname@example.org
AWC-SB's panel discussion, Think Like a Woman, Get Paid Like a Man attracted a full house at the Canary Hotel on April 6th. Attendees who were eager to learn how to improve their earning power in today's business environment didn't leave disappointed.
Expertly moderated by Loretta Redd, PhD, Owner/CEO of Crisis Navigation and long-time Santa Barbara community leader, the panel featured three bright businesswomen: Ashley Anderson, founder and principal of Ashley Anderson Public Relations; Susan Block, founder and former managing director of Block, Bowman & Associates, LLC investment banking firm; and Fran Lotery, PhD, principal, Relative Solutions, LLC financial consulting services. Each panelist spoke individually for 15 minutes, followed by a 25-minute Q&A session.
First, Anderson addressed the current reality - many small business owners face an overload of alternatives with not enough time or money. To avoid overwhelm and paralysis, she recommends simplifying everything from your pricing structure to your marketing efforts. "Choose just two affordable, pleasant marketing activities, do them for six months and reevaluate," Anderson suggested. She also stressed the importance of connecting to your audience with an authentic story. "Answer the questions, 'Who cares?' and 'Why should I care?' then share the 'hidden power' of your own story."
In a room packed with sole proprietors, Block grabbed everyone's attention with this bold statement: "If your business depends on you to do the work, you don't own a business, you have a job." She encouraged business owners to think strategically rather than tactically, in terms of products, sales channels, pricing, partners and networking, and to embrace innovation and opportunistic thinking to come out ahead in today's economic downturn. "Look for opportunities, what people need or want, and seek out problems to solve that have been created by demographic shifts, policy changes, etc."
Last but not least, Lotery shared experiences from her journey to success in a financial, male-dominated field, managing the investments of multi-generational families and their enterprises. Her advice to women: work on transforming your relationship to money so you are comfortable being in charge of your own finances without needing to turn the reins over to a man. She posed a variety of questions to consider about that relationship, such as, "What messages did you receive about money from your mother/father/family?" "Which message seems the most significant?" "Did you have a voice when it came to financial decisions? For what (allowance, investments, charity)?"
Our gratitude to all of the participants and to Lisa Angle, who once again recorded the event, which can be viewed online by clicking below: