Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

President Obama has signed Congress's first bill of 2009 into law: the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. In his comments, in the East Room of the White House, the president mentioned that this is a first step on the way to "closing the pay gap".

The new law allows for legal action to be pursued within 180 days of the last paycheck. Previously, legal action had to be pursued within 180 days of the first instance of pay discrimination. Lilly Ledbetter did not know until her retirement that for 20+ years her employer had paid her less than her male colleagues who had been doing the same work. This meant, over the course of her employment, more than $200,000 in lost salary, and even more, as the president reminded us, in social security and pension benefits.

The symbolism of this "first" illustrates President Obama's commitment to the issue of equality. For women in the workplace, however, this is far more than a symbol: it's an economic reality.

In the Senate, by the way, both of Georgia's Senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, voted against the bill, as did other Southern Senators. In some ways, we still have a long way to go.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Money, money, money . . .

If you missed Vicki Robin last night, at the Atlanta Women in Business “After Hours”, you can still catch her – any time! – well, for a limited time, anyway – on Internet TV, free of charge!

Go to The Profitability Channel, click on “Library”, scroll down to Biz Buzz and click on “Your Money or Your Life”.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Women & Money

Vicki Robin, one of the authors of "Your Money or Your Life" will be at the Atlanta Women in Business "After Hours" Monday evening. Come and join us there!

Women & Business Capital

From the web site of the Obama/Biden transition team:

"Women are majority owners of more than 28 percent of U.S. businesses, but head less than 4 percent of venture-capital-backed firms. Women business owners are more likely than white male business owners to have their loan applications denied. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will encourage investing in women-owned businesses, providing more support to women business owners, and reducing discrimination in lending."

Question: How will this encouragement manifest itself?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Doing Business in 2009

Here’s a new year, filled with exciting opportunities for Small Business. “Small Business Week” will come along in May and you will hear more about this from me in a later communication. For now, a reminder of a basic tenet for success in the business world – no matter what year it is! - People do business with people they know, like and trust.

Only you know for sure whether you’re trustworthy or not. How do you convey your trustworthiness to your clients and prospects? By always speaking the truth, by never promising more than you can deliver, and by always trying to deliver more than you have promised. Bernie Madoff’s clients trusted him for decades; then he ran off with their money. There is a lesson in that for all of us.

Likeability is a ‘biggie’ in our society and is probably too much relied upon (Bernie Madoff was very well liked!). Perhaps, as is the case in European and Asian business cultures, we should focus more on respect than on likeability, but I’m not holding my breath on such a shift. So, make sure you are thought of as a likeable person in your contacts with clients and prospect.

Does your market know you? Even expert communicators often hear something like: “Oh, you are a graphic designer; I thought you were a web developer!” Reach out to your market – constantly – make sure they understand what you offer, and use technology to your advantage. Make sure your web site is up to date, send out a monthly newsletter, start a blog if you don’t have one already and post to it regularly.

Finally, people! Believe me, your clients and prospects do not want to do business with your business; they want to do business with you! I have no statistics to share with you, but experientially, I can tell you that your outreach is far more likely to get a response if it comes from, e.g. Cindy Alsop than from Alsop Real Estate, or from Jack Brower than from Brower Art Gallery.

Happy New Year, with abundant business success!