Posts Tagged ‘SC WOmen’s Business Center’

C4W Member Profile: Sharon Hox

March 20, 2013

SharonHox

What is your profession? Proprietor, Sharon Hox & Associates, LLC.  Retired Management Consultant. Very checkered career in multiple industries.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Reading, sailing, travel, theater, ballet, golf, fine dining, wine, wonderful friends, volunteerism.

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? Just joined.

What inspired you to become a member? Volunteering at the Women’s Business Center prompted joining.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you?  Remains to be seen

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? It has made me a powerhouse!

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy?  Be optimistic but not blind to reality; trust your instincts; a little “good” (to clients, co-workers, suppliers, and the world at large) goes a very long way. And network network network. Don’t be afraid to take a step back and a bigger step forward. 

How can people connect with you? Email SharonHox@aol.com

National Business Women’s Month- Salute to Working Women

October 26, 2012

Have you reached a road block in your career or small business? Is it time to reach out for new ideas and new contacts? Are you balancing your work and family and stretched for time? As a working woman, the South Carolina Women’s Business Center and the Center for Women can help you be more successful.

South Carolina Women’s Business Center
Women are starting their own businesses at unprecedented rates.  Between 1997 and 2011, women owned firms in South Carolina increased 64% and that’s compared to the national average of 50%. Women have great business ideas and know what women want to buy. Women control 80% of all discretionary spending and women are inventing new products and services that better match their needs and expectations.

The South Carolina Women’s Business Center offers free one-on-one business counseling, training workshops and networking opportunities for women entrepreneurs and small business owners. Launched in January 2012 as an off shoot of the Center for Women, the South Carolina Women’s Business Center has counseled 73 women and conducted 34 training workshops attended by over 1,800 women. In its brief existence, it has helped save or start six businesses. According to Christie MacConnell, Director of the South Carolina Women’s Business Center, “I’m thrilled over the rapid success we’ve experienced and I’m excited at the prospect of connecting even more women entrepreneurs to the tools and resources that they need.”

Each month, the South Carolina Women’s Business Center holds an Entrepreneurial Readiness workshop where women can learn about the key ingredients that go into being a successful business owner and understanding the steps necessary to launch a viable business. The Entrepreneurial Readiness workshop is a great starting place for any woman who has a business idea to get a solid grounding before embarking on her new venture. Additional programs include a monthly networking session where women can learn and support each other and a development workshop on specific topics such as commercial insurance, legal structures for business and human resource policy. To learn more, visit www.scwbc.net.

The South Carolina Women’s Business Center has strong community support. Our 2012 Business Partners are Eckert Insurance, First Federal, Merrill Lynch, SC Biz News and Weightwatchers. The South Carolina Women’s Business Center is supported in part by grants from Bank of America, Wells Fargo and the US Small Business Association.

Women’s Leadership Institute
For women who work in business and industry and want to increase their chances for advancement, the Center for Women created the Women’s Leadership Institute. Monthly Saturday programs are held on topics that prepare women for stepping into greater leadership roles and higher management. Topics this year have included: Leading with Strength and Confidence, How to Use Persuasion and Create Influence, Handling Promotions with Poise, Using Polarity Thinking for Enlightened Leadership, Networking with a Purpose, Working Well with Difficult People, Getting Comfortable Negotiating What You Want, Delegating Effectively, and Communicating with Impact.

Several large, bell weather companies in our area, Alcoa, Cummins and MeadWestVaco, have seen the value of these leadership programs and the chance to let loose the talent residing in their female employees. The Women’s Leadership Institute brings programming on-site to these companies. According to the MeadWestVaco Women’s Network, “Our MeadWestVaco Women’s Network fosters both personal and professional development and helps build critical “soft” skills that are important to develop oneself and others and to inspire leadership.  The Center for Women has greatly aided us with that mission. The Center has connected us to local experts and has helped us build effective programs tailored to our needs. Using the Center has allowed us to capitalize on the tools and resources that have already been established, and ultimately has allowed us to enhance and broaden the programs we are able to bring to our members.”

The Women’s Leadership Institute is honored to be supported and sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, Care for Life, Ms. Rose’s Restaurant, Fork Fine Gourmet and Skirt! Magazine. To learn more, visit www.c4women.org.

Ginger Rosenberg is the Marketing & Program Manager at the Center for Women. She can be reached at ginger@c4women.org.

After Passion Comes the Work: Five Tools to Succeed As an Entrepreneur

July 13, 2012

Anyone who’s sought to be in business for themselves has probably heard this sage old advice: Find what you love to do and the rest (meaning cash) will follow. Of course when I was younger, all I thought I wanted to do was to make money, and the ride didn’t seem to matter if I could eventually get there in a Ferrari.

I can’t put my finger on the exact day or time or place, but I do remember at some point, very early on in the creation of our first business, I began to actually understand that sewn-on-a-pillow advice: We weren’t making a dime yet, but we were having so much fun!

When customers realized how much we loved what we were doing and how much fun we were having, they responded. And soon, while we were enjoying every bit of the ride – even though it was in a Jeep with no air-conditioning – we even started to make money.

But that was just the beginning, because what lies beyond the burning passion to birth a new business and raise it up right takes tools we don’t necessarily see sewn on pillows. Once you have the idea, the passion, the financing, the desk and the laptop, there are other tools you’ll need to bring to the table.

Here are five favorites you actually already have at your disposal. Reach for them often as you launch or grow your business:

1. A Sense of Humor: Work doesn’t have to be a four-letter word. Not everything about every business is fun, but if our approach to it is, even the difficult parts can be enjoyable. This usually amounts to taking the project seriously, but taking ourselves a little less seriously. And on days when it all seems to go wrong (we all have them) find a movie that will make you laugh out loud. Sometimes just the simplest realignment of our perspective can make the day go easier and perhaps even offer us a solution to a nagging problem.

2. Dialing into Your Community: No woman is an island, and we’re lucky to live in a community that supports and encourages new businesses.

The SC Women’s Business Center is a valuable resource for women launching businesses, and the Center for Women helps women succeed every day! Both offer loads of workshops at reasonable prices, but the greatest resource these organizations and their events offer is the opportunity to connect with others during these events. The women I’ve encountered there go far beyond networking; they are each powerful “plugins” with whom to brainstorm ideas and improve your business.

Other groups that make a difference and encourage community-based support include Rotary, the Chamber of Commerce, and online communities. And by approaching each with an open mind as to what you can give of your own talents, you’ll find you come away with a whole lot more!

3. The Third Option: This one seems to elude us when we most need it, so sew it on a pillow if you must. It simply requires the ability to recognize that every dilemma we think is limited to “either this or that” always has a third option.

Example: A client knew she could bring in another $250 a week and save towards her home if she took on just one more day of work each week, but she believed doing so would not allow her time to keep the house and home office clean. She was trying to decide between two options: increased income and dusty chaos, forgetting that a third option definitely existed. Now, she enjoys the extra income, pays someone far less to come in to clean once a week, and as a bonus has helped fund another woman business owner.

4. Conviction Sometimes Means Confrontation: Unfortunately, if we have the passion and conviction to execute our business plans, sometimes confrontation is a necessary by-product.

But more unfortunate is the negative connotation with which this word has been saddled. After all, to confront something is to meet it head on, to face it. And a confrontation need not be hostile; it’s typically just a matter of how we approach a situation with opposing viewpoints.

The two most common statements we hear from women faced with confrontation begin with either, “What I wanted to say was…” or “I probably shouldn’t have said…”

Neither is effective, for obvious reasons. Shrinking in the face of confrontation can dent and damage our conviction. Likewise, getting over-emotional creates a loss of control over the situation.

Instead, take a deep breath, state your case calmly, logically, and without emotionally charged words, and persist until you get your way (without stomping your feet!).

5. Stay Open to New Ideas: This works well with the Third Option tool, but stands on its own merit, especially in today’s business climate where the “new normal” changes nearly every day. Sure, we all used to love browsing record stores and renting videos, but as these industries plainly demonstrate, those who’ve refused to stay open to new ideas have, sad to say, ceased to stay open!

This tool begins with the premise that every product and/or service can be improved upon. My favorite example involves Apple. They didn’t build the first PC, or the first mp3 player, but being open to new ideas and innovation sure let them do it better!

In the publishing business, everyone from magazines to books has had to embrace new tech that seemed at first to most publishers to just be looming competition. But by learning to package content digitally many were able to actually improve their products and increase their customer base. In fact books, despite a once shrinking market, are now the highest selling product online.

Who knows, the laptop (or business) we love today may be a dinosaur tomorrow, and we may hate that, but we’d also better be open to what we’re going to do to retool it or we’ll be left behind…

Shark Marketing Co. CEO and creator of Where Writers Win, Shari Stauch has been involved in publishing, marketing and PR for 33 years. She is the co-creator of Pool & Billiard Magazine, celebrating 30 years as the sport’s oldest monthly. She retired from the Women’s Pro Billiard Tour in 2004 after a 20-year career as a top player and marketer/co-creator of the tour (inducted into the WPBA Hall of Fame in 2007), to serve a growing community of writers using their words to promote greater issues. As president of Charleston’s Center for Women, she moderates the Center’s Women Writers Forum. Shari serves on the executive board of LILA: Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts, and co-directs programming for Words & Music: A Literary Feast in New Orleans, where she continues to help emerging authors create and broaden their audiences.

First appeared in the Business Review section of The Post and Courier on Monday, June 25, 2012.


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