Chase excellence, and customers will chase you.

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One of the biggest lessons I learnt early on in my career is that it is vital to be excellent in whatever you do.

This applies equally to any sphere of activity, anything that you do. I have observed (in my own life and in that of others) that it is important to first identify what you are good at, what you have a flair for and then simply keep getting better and better at it. This means that rather than take up many different things and try to do them all (and hope that you’d succeed in them and make money), it is better to sharpen your focus on the one or two things you can do well. The key word here is ‘focus’.

We live in times of overload. There is information overload, choice overload, competition overload, confusion overload, distraction overload, everything overload. And as God is my witness, there is mediocrity overload.

In this context, it is very easy to get railroaded by things that won’t really get you anywhere in life. It is also very easy to get lost in the sea of humanity.

Which is why it is important for us to beat this ‘overload’ tendency by focusing. By saying a loud ‘NO’ to anything that doesn’t make sense to us.

In these times of overload, the only way to stand out is to specialize in something, become the expert in something. This is all the more relevant for an entrepreneur. All entrepreneurs have to hustle, irrespective of what they offer – hustling is a reality for us. But, it is important to hustle on the bedrock of domain expertise. You may be offering financial consulting, software products, landscaping, catering, fashion accessories, sports equipment, whatever.

The point is, are you a specialist, an expert in your field?

If your answer to this question is ‘yes’, you have a great chance of differentiating yourself from the crowd.

You can command a price premium from your customers with great confidence; your customers are more likely to keep coming back to you and to refer you to people they know. All this will positively impact your venture.

But, if your answer to the question is ‘no’, you have some more ground work to do. You have to learn some more, speak to experts in the field, take more customer feedback about your offering – in a nutshell, you have to upgrade yourself and your offering.

To summarise: ‘Pursue excellence in your field. And customers will automatically start pursuing you.’

 

Ganesh Vancheeswaran is co-founder of Vibha Women. He is also an author, branding specialist, freespirit, mountain man and occasional nitwit.

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For more informatin on Vibha Women check out our Facebok page: http://www.facebook.com/vibhawomen

Or write to us: reach@iamvibha.com

 

 

 

 

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Owning It – It really is More Than a Title

Should leaders ( everyone is a leader in their own right. Anything we are responsible for, turns out, it becomes ours to own, ours to deliver and ours to also learn from ) be OK NOT KNOWING ?

I mean, we are living in a day and age where fundamentals in business and / or even in a corporate setting can make our lives easier if we equipped ourselves with ‘knowing the HOW TO…’

Whenever I hear folks say – I don’t know and walk away, to me that tells me
– This thing you’re doing? It just isn’t THAT important to you
– You wanna pass the buck on
– You think you’re ABOVE it ( Heaven knows how – pun intended )

And then we whine, complain and shout from the rooftops about how ‘ Noone’s helping me’.

Are you serious???

If this ‘thing’ really really matters enough
– You WILL make it happen
– You will learn
– You will not be ashamed to say , ‘ I DON’T KNOW’
– You will push yourself out there to get the job done

Some of you reading this might think this sounds pretty dictatorial. It’s cool. i’ve really been labelled worse…

But, palming off a job, procrastination and just plain ol’ shoddy work is just unimpressive.

I think as entrepreneurs, we are responsible 24/7.

Why?
Because its ours.
Because we wanted it bad enough to get it off the ground.
And because we owe it to ourselves to finish what we started.

 

 

The author, Caroline Fernandes, is an Educationist and Social Entrepreneur

twitter: Carolinevibha

Caroline Fernandes

These women were brought up in a culture steeped deeply in discipline, focus and the will to continue.

I am reminded of the ‘Bloom where you are Planted ‘ adage. It’s usually tough yet ironically simple to start exactly where you are, and then keep going. Crazy paradox huh. We’ve known of tons of businesses that started out of garages and then others that began owing to some adversity, gap or simply exploratory genius.

WINGS CO FOUNDERS

 

Amongst other entrepreneurial traits, perhaps fate too, synergistic-ally brought these two go-getters together to create WINGS.  WINGS, in it’s extended form means – We Inspire Grand Success – WINGS!

Although many times over as a trend, we at Vibha Women have chosen tpo speak of the venture, our primary goal in sharing these stories, is not to highlight the business, rather the inspiring grit and resilience these many many women choose to carry with them to venture into the world of startups.

Read on to know more about Payal Talwar and Priyanka Kumar.

Payal: A Miranda House alumni, I am an M.Sc, B.Ed and an MBA. I am an IFC certified trainer and am also an NLP master practitioner from NFNLP, US.

Priyanka:  Even though Payal and I have both gone through the same certifications together, before that, we were pursuing different things. I have been a student of psychology (from LSR, DU) and psychological counselling. Both of us are from the Army background.

 

On the Starting Point of WINGS

Payal: Both Priyanka and I could sense the frustration our fellow army wives felt.  These highly accomplished ladies are generally unable to pursue their own vocations due to their husbands being posted at far flung places – which offer no work opportunities.   This resonated with what we felt. We realized the need to create a platform which could provide them projects they could be a part of wherever they might be posted; give them a sense of being gainfully employed.

 

On Determining their Target Customers

Payal: Our business is about providing service – through training programs, content development, content reviews and building an online social media presence for companies. Our target customers are corporates and educational institutes. We also aim to reach out to individuals through open workshops.

 

On facing Obstacles

Priyanka: One of the major challenges has been marketing and business development. Initially, it was just the two of us managing everything.

We were unable to do justice to business development effectively. Now that our team has expanded, it is easier – though of course, there’s always more scope!

Also, regular cash inflow has always been on our mind.. 

 

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How do you market your business?

Payal : We are in the business of helping our clients. We believe that our work speaks for itself.  Most out our clients have given us business only because we have been referred to them by other clients. We just focus only on quality, and our intent of serving them.  Business happens. 

On What Inspires them : (S)heroes, Books?

Payal : Priya Kumar, Ashelsh Rao (our NLP coach), Priyanka – my partner and lifeline!

Priyanka :  J While doing business we both use ‘Go Givers’ as our guide.  It has been authored by Bob Burg and John David Mann

What is your advice for entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs?

Priyanka: It’s a long haul – be prepared, be consistent – results are slow but sure. Take stock every now and then and be willing to adapt/ open new avenues.

A few more details about the business

A team passionate about spreading our wings and soaring to touch the skies, constantly challenging ourselves to rediscover our potential in the untiring quest for excellence – and enjoying the process to the hilt, is how we would like to describe ourselves.

We like to call our workshops ‘SELF-REVAMPING CLINICS’ filled with dialogue & dance, learning & laughter, creative madness and mental mobility, all in equal measures.

We are into providing training, building social media presence and developing and reviewing content

Website link

www.wingsteam.in

Facebook/Twitter/Linkedin/Pinterest/Google+ links

https://www.facebook.com/wingsteam.in/

Email/Phone number for Business enquiries

payal@wingsteam.in                                                  9899514419

Priyanka@wingstaem.in                                             8587099331

Radhika@ingsteam.in                                                 9489378165

Wingsteam@hotmail.com

 

The author is an Educationist and a Social Entrepreneur. To get yourself featured, feel free to email us on

reach@iamvibha.com

Twitter: Caroline Vibha

Caroline Cares Fernandes

 

Coaching is Much Deeper Than You Think!

Coaching is focused on enabling you to get a grip on your self, gain more and more clarity about what you want ( career goals) and then..the most valuable part of the master plan
Actioning everything you outline in your framework!
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Do not assume that a coach is some random image consultant who helps you with your hair and make-up and gets you all ‘poised’ for success
😦 Such a disappointing reputation some folks have built around this heavily responsible role.
Events are doled out by the dozen, but carry nothing fleshy in it. facades are great to show, but they will eventually crash if substance is missing.
 
Your name and reputation will carry you only that much farther, until people begin to see through the cracks and holes!!
 
And yes.
A coach can listen to your troubles ( personal woes and downfalls) -but only for the first leg of the process. No wallowing, it’s just not done!
Your coach has a responsibility to ensure you KEEP GOING!
 
That you are on track, no matter what!
 
And that you will carefully, patiently stay the course everyday!
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Take sports and coaching and you will associate a person who is there to get your prepped, help you stay focused and make sure your thoughts and actions are goal- oriented!
 
Don’t you think your careers and business ventures need that ?
 
Don’t you think you as an entrepreneur need that too?
 
There is nothing frivolous about the role a coach plays in your life and for your career- growth !
 
Take yourself seriously – things will materialize ! 🙂
The author is a Coach and Educationist
twitter: CarolineVibha
Caroline Fernandes
 

My life’s been a series of serendipitous incidents that way!

As luck would have it, this fine lady has probably been at the right place, at the right time !

Say what you will, but to me, it’s an artistic blend of what you see in front of you and how you choose to respond 🙂

It’s interesting how perception shapes our reality.

When we absolutely love what we do, it sure does Nithya.jpg

seem to enable us to open our eyes to a world of possibility!

Meet Nithya David and read on to know more about her:

‘  I started my career in advertising account management with JWT Chennai, handling mainly Lifestyle and Pepsi businesses. My passion and dedication to the Lifestyle brand, displayed during their Bangalore store launch, caught the eye of Mickey Jagtiani, the founder of Landmark Group. I was offered a Marketing Manager–GCC role with Landmark Group in Dubai. After a couple of years with them, I was back in Bangalore with Ogilvy & Mather. Another chance encounter with Shekhar Kapur (the director) led to a marketing job with Gotham Comics.’

On Starting Upstream

I’d always wanted to do something on my own, and had always dreamed of starting my own company by the age of 30. So I guess the universe just conspired to make it happen for me. Only, I thought my enterprise would be in the retail/fashion space. I have no background in HR but I have extremely good networking skills and unbridled passion for anything that I do. In short, the craving for independence combined with ambition resulted in Upstream.

On Target Customers

Upstream is a talent recruitment firm. It was started in 2007. We do placements for advertising agencies and corporate houses across India.

Our target customers are two-fold: qualified personnel and corporate houses who are looking at a right fit both ways. My job is to understand the requirements at both ends and match them.

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On Taking Initiative in the face of Challenges

First, the perception of this business itself. People think this is just a hook-up job, and the existing recritment firms are largely to blame for this image. They are neither well-versed in the functions of advertising and marketing and end up just supplying ‘people’.

I go a little deeper, and sometimes I can sense annoyance at the other end. But unless I am convinced, there is no way I will pass on a talent to the organisation. Even after that kind of screening, you end up placing someone who hops to another job too soon.

The industry is filled with such job-hoppers who move from organisation to organisation in search of more money and better designations. Perseverance is rare in this business. The sad part is, even organisations don’t curb this itch to hop. And that happens because skilled talent is in such short supply  especially when it comes to advertising.

On Marketing

My business relies completely on word-of-mouth and references.

On Inspiration 

Schuana Chauhan, Head of Parle Agro is an inspiration and so is Indira Nooyi, Chairperson and chief executive office of PepsiCo.

On Advice to Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Not really advice, but some directions:

–  Never never let go : It’s going to be an extremely tough ride. But remember, if it doesn’t kill you, it will only make you stronger.

– Always keep your eyes and ears open. Life is series of opportunities strung together and do not miss even the smallest one.

– Trust your instincts – Being an entrepreneur  is like venturing into the unknown. And in such times, your instincts are sharper. Trust them blindly. If you allow your instincts to guide you, there is no way you’ll fail.

Wanna know more  about Nithya? Here’s how you can explore:

Website link – www.swimupstream.in

Facebook/Twitter/Linkedin/Pinterest/Google+ links

Email/Phone number for Business enquiries – 9900822077 – nithyadavid@swimupstream.in

 

The author is a Social Entrepreneur and Learner

Twitter: CarolineVibha

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‘Everything in my life including where I am today is inter-connected’

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Rekha Kurup is a down-to-earth, profoundly evolved person. She also happens to be a part of Vibha Women’s mentor panel. I have known her for a year now and am happy and proud to watch the time that her brand is speaking out, loud and clear.

She facilitates Vibha’s anniversary celebration with a deeply meaningful workshop for our members this February 13th. Read on to catch a glimpse into this strong woman’s mind and heart!

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I see myself as a boundary weaver, women-centered spirituality/feminine leadership coach, a feminist yogini and a rising daughter called upon to stand tall bearing the fruits of her ancestry and weaving her way forward – among other things. 🙂

I was one of 147 Women leaders from around the world chosen to be part of the 2015 Class of the VVLead Fellowship Program from a highly competitive pool of over 1200 outstanding applicants. In Jan 2016 I have transitioned into a VVLead Alumni – part of the Global VVLead Team. I am an avid reader and also a writer. I published my first book (a research study) in December 2014 in India titled Rising Daughter, Silent Mother and Fading Grandmothers. Available on flipkart, amazon.

I have cherished every journey of my life from being an Computer Engineer over a decade long career in Silicon Valley of California to volunteering with non profits to organizing a variety of peace building events to being a mentor for youth and adults to building partnerships and bridges between community groups and more. My deepest calling was always to be of service to the community.

Being in California deeply nourished that desire as I volunteered vigorously and passionately in different capacities in partnership with the Schools, Universities, NGOS, City and County. I was an active volunteer with the Art of Living Foundation, International Association for Human Values and several other ngos. When life presented the opportunity to shift careers in 2005, I chose to quit my high paying IT career to humbler beginnings in the nonprofit community. It was supposed to be a sabbatical for 6 months to a year but then never could go back into a regular paying 9 to 5 job. I volunteered for over 2 years with universities, local schools – teaching stress management, mentoring, capacity building, peace partnerships, organizing events/seminars/discussion forums and more.

In late 2008 I took on the role of Executive Director of the YES! for Schools Program in California (youthempowermentseminar.org) which extended to nearly 5 years. Along with the National Director, William Herman, we built the program ground up – envisioning, goal setting, recruiting, training, campaigning, fundraising and more. Our collective effort built a phenomenal team as well as movement across the country that impacted and is still continuing to impact thousands of lives of students, educators in the United States. During that time I saw up-close the impacts of patriarchal urbanization and the direct impact of sexualization and objectification on the bodies and sexuality of men and women – especially women and girls.

As a backdrop to everything going on, the traumatic collapse of my own decade long marriage (2010). Everything happened in a way that was deeply awakening and made me question everything – women’s relationship with her body and sexuality, her purpose separate from the roles she plays, her inability to recognize as well as respond to abuse in marriages, gender perceptions based on cultural and social conditioning, “do”s and “don’t”s of feminine identity, the age-old dogmas defining womanhood, the shame, disgust and silence surrounding body and sexuality, and most importantly the direct and indirect influences of mother-centered and father-centered cultures on body, sexuality and self.

I knew that there was more to me as a woman than I have been told or had access to because I experienced it in powerful embodied ways and yet in the living culture – images of that power were visibly absent. So I set out on my next adventure that took me to Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (ITP) for my Masters of Art in Women’s Spirituality. ITP and California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) are the only two schools in the world that have a program that allows women to rediscover women-centered spirituality, leadership, spiritual feminism and more. It changed the entire course of my life and gifted me my purpose.

Now for the Aha moment!

My life is filled with AHA moments I think for as long as I can remember. Every AHA moment has moved me to the next level of my life. So this AHA moment brought me here where I am today. It happened when Theorist and activist educator, and co-director of the Women’s Spirituality program – Judy Grahn, interviewed me prior to enrolling me in the program. During the interview she asked about my matrilineal Nayar roots of Kerala which I was not very particularly connected with and not connecting with my empowerment and purpose. However little did I know that my life was going to shift phenomenally. Dr Grahn informed me that for the last 20 years she as well as the co-director of the program Dr. Dianne Jenett have had a close association with Kerala’s earth-based spirituality, and have done considerable research, and in fact, it had been their deepest wish and longing for a Nayar girl to come to the program and there I was sitting right in front. In the past there had been just another Indian girl in the program. So me a Nayar girl sitting in that room for that interview was really a surreal happening. It was meant to be! That interview as well as that program brought me back to my ancestry in a way that I never imagined. It has also set the course of the rest of my life and what I do today. Women-Spirituality M.A program gave me the opportunity to investigate, re-inform, gather, discover, reclaim, remember, and re-member that phenomenon that is Woman and the magic she embodies, is born with, is connected to, is capable of creating and invoking in others – in ways that I was never aware of.

Today I work with women from around the world to revive that wisdom rooted in their own ancestry, lineage, culture, and more. Women hae experienced deep healing, empowerment, awakening through the various offerings of the she stands tall project. In 2013 I decided to end 14 years of my life in California to explore transition to Bangalore, India. In 2014 I knew that I had to be in India and revive this wisdom that seems to have gone completely underground from the visible social culture. This is a sentence from my book that captures some of my experience:
“I was beginning to realize that my feminine body and sexuality served no purpose outside marriage, belonging to a man, or becoming a mother. Although fully clothed, naked, and erotic images of the Goddess adorned temple walls and palaces, these images did not have any relevance to the living bodies of women in my culture.“

 

 

On her Target Audience

In partnership with my mother, Balamani Kurup, I have launched The She Stands Tall Project LLP in Bangalore, India whose mission is to create sacred, open and safe sisterhood containers that support the personal, relational and transpersonal exploration of the Feminine. Our vision is for women (and girls) to become catalysts of transformative change within themselves, their families, their communities and the world. We do so by educating, empowering and engaging women to reclaim, redefine, and re-inform the various factors that positively affirms a woman’s relationship with her body, sexuality and self through the investigation, discovery, documentation, revival and re-creation of practices and methods that support and nurture the development of a gender egalitarian society.

It is a massive vision and undertaking and definitely, a beginning and bringing together of women doing similar work around the world. Together we can shift the patriarchal roots of culture and social organization.

On Embracing Challenge

Challenges have been numerous in different disguises, guises, faces, shapes and sizes. 🙂 Every challenge is a doorway to greater possibilities, an adventure, an opportunity to own the realization that I am more powerful than anything and everything that can come my way.

There is a deep wisdom that seats rooted inside of me that pulsates with everything in this universe. I am not an independent being but an interdependent alive vibrant being interconnected with everything on this planet. When I am focused on the greater good of the entire web of life – challenges cease to bog me down – they merely are milestones for pause, regrouping, relearning and beginning again with a fresh perspective and renewed energy. I meditate, breathe, and ritualize through every aspect of my life with intention, attention, faith and surrender. I live my life inside out consciously, compassionately and connectedly and know that I am merely an instrument of walking my purpose on the earth at this time. When that changes I will know and I will be ready to transition to newer pastures in this body or another.

On Marketing 

Predominantly Word of Mouth. Those who have experienced a women’s circle with The She Stands Tall Project never forget it and they spread it and bring more into the circle. We also partner with other organizations, schools, institutes and others. The faculty, alumni of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology are also one of the strong advocates for the work and help spread the word.

On Inspiration

For that first I need to understand what anyone means by business. Most business that I see and have seen in todays world are about self-centered profit – disconnected from those around. It has become about force, domination, self-success, power and fame. So I definitely donot subscribe to that idea and paradigm about business. 🙂
My parameters of success are connected to transformational impact in terms of people, life, society, earth, environment, and more!I follow a feminine business paradigm for my work in the world and there are many who inspire me that direction: Joanna Macy, Starhawk, Shilop McCleod, Anne Blumenthal, Jennifer Berezan, Luisa Teish, and many more! Women who are doing phenomenal work in the world in shifting it, transforming it, and also making money and putting money back into the world!

Advice for Entrepreneurs

Let the entrepreneur in you have a deeper vision for yourself, the community, the earth, the environment and the world, and let that vision move, create – your work, services, product. May your entrepreneurship create, recreate and reniform solutions in the world, for the world and with the world – let it not become the source of more problems, conflict and unrest. Build your entrepreneurship on values that inspire deepest human qualities.

 

For more details about business

Website link: theshestandstallproject.com Facebook/Twitter/Linkedin/Pinterest/Google+ links: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheSheStandsTallProject Linked: https://in.linkedin.com/in/rekhagkurup Twitter: https://twitter.com/KurupRekha Company Page: https://www.facebook.com/sthreestandstall Email/Phone number for Business enquiries: rekha.gkurup@gmail.com | +91-9972490513

 

The author is a Social Entrepreneur and Learner

Twitter: CarolineVibha

Caroline Fernandes

Remind Yourself & Keep Going!

Do you remember Why you became an entrepreneur?

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This thought and reason should be crystal clear in your head.
Keep reminding yourself and encourage yourself to venture deeper into this concept-
You could have been doing something else, been somewhere else

WHY did I become an entrepreneur?
HOW can I make a difference to the people I have sought to offer my time and effort to?

At the start,it’s ok because there will be a lot of rumble and noise in your head. You may have to win over the fears and doubts you have been building skillfully within you.

But when you can effortlessly narrow this idea down to a single sentence your actions become an extension of your thoughts

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Keep Going!

 

The author is a Social Entrepreneur & Learner.

Get in touch to know more about Vibha Women

twitter: Caroline Vibha

Caroline Cares Fernandes