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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Seriously, Intelligence is Over-Rated.

I used to wonder where the point of getting good to great would happen.

I mean, how do you know when you’re getting really really good at what you’re doing?

Simple. You’ll find people, a steadily growing number of them actually, will want to meet you. Not because you’re known or something, and yeah, that happens to happen anyway, but because what you do is getting the results people want.

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So, we are seeing a lot of tense hesitation with women when they transition between where they are, to where they need to be. The Real versus the Ideal states.

We find that all this is to a very large extent, a state of mind.

Through our interviews, discussions, coaching and events, more and more we are realizing women do not take the step into the unknown, simply because it’s the unknown.

Sure, you’re probably thinking how is this different from the way men think, correct?

Correct. To look at it from the surface it is human nature to resist change and resist it we will. Excuses, delays, avoidance and denial flood our minds and stop us dead in our tracks, sometimes self-indulgence in opting to be mentally paralyzed too.

But, studies have shown that when it comes t0 us women, these challenges tend to take on a slightly if not grossly skewed shape. We have a gender based lens that enables us to perceive events that lead us to go into self- deprecation. We bring ourselves down, and filter situations from this world view.

In due course this takes us into a loop which stops us from progressing to getting to that ‘ really really good space’ aka, becoming experts at what we do.

Some of of the basics that can incrementally lead to disengaging this thought process are:

  1. Developing a clear Leadership Vision
  2. Self- Confidence Building
  3. Understanding what Success Means to us
  4. Networking
  5. Influencing and negotiating
  6. Others

We invite yoou to take notice of the fact that core skills around what you do have consciously not been mentioned here, as we consider that a given for success.

Over the course of the next few weeks, we at #VibhaWomen plan on addressing these facets via our workshops that will work in tandem with more sharing of thoughts and experiences that you can read here as well.

 

Join us either at our workshops or read more about this here shortly.

We also invite you to share your own thoughts around this.

More to follow, see ya soon.

 

The author is an Educationist, Social Entrepreneur and Coach

Twitter: #CarolineVibha

#iamvibha #vibhawomen #carolinecaresfernandes

Caroline Cares Fernandes

If you’ve been the ideal perfectionist all along, the crazy balance between being a mom and managing your career or business can be anything less of a nightmare going wrong!

Moms of one have it hard, but after the second third or fourth, we manage to master the art of letting go. You have to get to a meeting and your child is sick? images (5)

You can’t call in and let them know, and you’re worried about being a horrible mom for leaving. Just one of those regular Catch 22 situations playing out really well.

You’re at home and you son or daughter begs you to stay back when you really have to have been getting stuff done at work yesterday.

Tough. Exhausting. Guilt-ridden.

I remember a colleague, back during the phase when I worked full-time at corporate,whose children were well in their 20’s and off to university out of India. I would constantly fret about time management, worrying about not being there enough for my son and of course how I felt I wasn’t doing enough for him while focusing on work.

She told me how being on the other side of things at present, made her look back and think about how she felt that she had done everything she possibly could. And yes, they turned out alright too.

She said to me,’ If you were to ask yourself – what additionally could you do for your child what would you say?. The honest answer would be nothing. I realized, and have to keep reminding myself, that I do everything in my power to be present for my child.

It’s also important for partners to pitch in. Household work. Grocery shopping. Laundry. The children’s homework.

Sharing home responsibilities make it a whole lot lighter on the mind and body.I know single moms find it really hard. It is. If there’s a way you could have parents, a friend or a care-taker to help, it would ease the burden of the basics that you have to automatically worry about all the time.

Drop the cards.

It’s OK to go out and have ‘Your time’. You aren’t committing a crime meeting a friend for lunch, or the random shopping to buy yourself something nice. It’s important to feel good. In fact it’s needed if you need to really be there for your child. Go. And return refreshed.

Today, with the work we do at ‘Vibha: Woman Empowerment for Entrepreneurship’, we have women who are in their 50’s whose children are off pursuing their own dreams. These women find they are presently stuck, frustrated and afraid.

They have dedicated their whole lives to their children. In fact, they have completely side-stepped their own development and growth at the cost of now feeling lost.

But all is not lost.

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At Vibha, we are extending our support to enable such women to follow their long- forgotten ideas and build on them.

Women say that they feel or have been made to feel they are old. And should hold back on considering a business now.

‘Now? What do you know about that?’

‘ Where will you start?’

‘ What have you got to show for it?’

To you I say, shut out all that noise. Yes, you may fail. Yes, it might not be the right choice to be made. But, you will live through it. A better learner. A stronger person, knowing fully well you can fail, become wiser and try again. But try.

We want to support them via mentoring ( that can help clear out doubts at various stages), financial aid to get them through the first stage of running the business to break even and sustain and infrastructural support too.

To the younger women, I have to say, don’t allow your guilt to get the better of you. Don’t allow the outside to let you shy away from your dfream or idea either. It’s not an easy job, what you do. Taking care of another life, enriching them as children, tending to their every need can be very overwhelming.

Sometimes, we also tend to hold on tight to them ( our children) really tight with the fear that that’s all we have. Through our outdoors networking sessions at Vibha, we aim to completely dissolve those doubts, strengthen your resolve to continue. You owe it to yourself.

 

Reach out to know more:

reach@iamvibha.com

The author is a Social Entrepreneur & learner.

Twitter: Carolinevibha

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Collaboration at home can enhance the way empowerment is broached at work and more importantly at home – it starts with the family, not the woman

A mother of three, three girls might I add, Selvi and her husband hail from a city slum in Bangalore. Working hard to put her children through ‘good schools’ as she calls them, she wants her three girls to have the ability to get well-payingselvi

jobs that will fetch them the badly needed independence she has not seen her mother have nor herself for a very long time.

Growing up with a single mother wasn’t easy. Her past morphs her understanding of family roles,  but does not stop her from dreaming tall for her off-spring. Fortunately she has a husband who is supportive and helps in sharing house responsibilities in between the three jobs he has kept for the last decade. With a few loans and a life of living paycheck to paycheck, all three of their kids are fluent in English. She wants them to earn for themselves as a priority to fulfilling the life she never lived.

She works half days, everyday to be able to balance work, children, keep home and have some time everyday for long walks.

Her neighbor, Mary is not as fortunate. She is acclimatized to living in an abusive home. With an alcoholic husband she restricts her location of work within the confines of the slum.

This concept is universal. It exists beyond age and socio-economic status too.

Speaking to many women from varied backgrounds in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, women have great ideas. Sometimes a nudge in the right direction is what is needed for them to take the next step and act. Let’s face it, it helps to know your spouse or partner offers you the necessary hand to focus on your enterprise.

For a lot of women, especially in a country like ours, India, they continue to live with their in-laws too. Decisions, discussions and perspectives are deeply impacted via the status quo.

We aren’t talking about this openly, but we need to. Some women opt to open business but lack the necessary work- life balance they could badly do with to strategically make time to add value to their business as well as their kids without the guilt that comes with work.

There’s a growing need to improve engagement and understanding at home- with your spouse, and significant others. Speaking freely and openly, sharing responsibilities, educating children on their own contributions towards family chores ( yes, a lot of women take on way too much at home. Role sharing isn’t such a bad thing). If she has to cook, keep house, take care of children, their homework and then work too, she is drained, Chances are so will her desire to work.

How does a women get out there and feel confident if she’s not getting the support and time she needs to plan, execute and more?

More and more of us women must come together to work out how family involvement can be increased, open up the levels of communication.

Those networking sessions you attend? Bring your spouse along too. Share your passion and thoughts together. Call me crazy, but transformation has to be collaborative not delegative especially at home. You can’t expect to focus and deliver if you’re not at peace personally. You can’t delegate work to your spouse. Work has to be shared responsibly and maturely.

In #SherylSandberg’s words,’ Anyone who wants her mate to be a true partner must treat him as an equal and an equally capable partner.’

We have a long way to go, but we must get a move on. One family at a time,collaborating for a better more wholesome approach towards empowering not just the woman, but the family!

The author is a Social Entrepreneur & Learner

Caroline Cares Fernandes

twitter: Caroline Vibha