Dress For Success? How About Relocate For Success

t's a man's world, at least in the world of startups. But that's quickly changing. The number of female entrepreneurs is growing. Twenty-three percent of entrepreneurs seeking angel investing were female in 2018, up from 19 percent in 2014

Of course, women still face challenges. For example, studies show women who apply for business loans generally receive 45 percent less capital than their male counterparts. Others show, the overwhelming majority of venture capitalists are men. Throw in lingering concerns about the interruption of women raising families while running a company – and many funders and supporters questions a woman's ability to succeed.

With those challenges and more facing budding female entrepreneurs, the truth is that WHERE you start your new business may be just as important to its survival as the type of business. With that in mind, FitSmallBusiness.com ranked each state in the country to determine which are the best for female entrepreneurs -- the second annual study of Best States for Female Entrepreneurs.

Only two of the states that made our Top 10 Best States for Female Entrepreneurs list last year, were included in this year's Top 10. This is due to a variety of reasons including new legislation, and saturated markets. For example, Texas jumped from eighth place last year to first place this year, and Georgia moved from first to tenth. You can find the full list HERE.


  1. Texas

  2. Ohio

  3. Minnesota

  4. Washington

  5. Alabama

  6. North Carolina

  7. Massachusetts

  8. North Dakota

  9. Wisconsin

  10. Georgia

FitSmallBusiness used the following metrics and weights to analyze and eventually rank the Best States for Female Entrepreneurs:

  1. General Business Climate/Opportunity (25%) 

    • Rate of startup growth and share of scale-ups 

    • High-growth company density

  2. Outlook for Women in Business (25%) 

    1. Percentage of minority business owners 

    2. Number of SBA women's business centers

  3. Economic and Financial Health (25%) 

    1. Cost of living index 

    2. Corporate tax rate

  4. Livability for Females (25%) 

    1. Women's economic and social well-being rank 

    2. Women's health and safety rank

"There are many variables that can prevent a startup from taking off," according to Eric Noe, Editor-in-ChiefFitSmallBusiness. "With the information that we've collected, women entrepreneurs can see which states offer them the best chances for success."

EXCLUSIVE Perfume Launch at Target

At Target, they know what guests love new, incredible beauty products …

From exclusive-to-Target brands to the latest trends, they're curating an assortment of beauty products that they believe guests will love to find during their Target runs. With last year’s launches including a K-beauty collection, a celebrity haircare line and a major natural skincare brand, 2018 has some big shoes to fill … so they're kicking off the new year with an exciting announcement: Target’s launching a new fragrance brand exclusively available at Target, Good Chemistry!

Created specifically with beauty guests in mind, the niche fragrance brand includes four collections inspired by different personalities: Confident and Charming, Good and Grounded, Vibrant and Playful and Cool and Collected. Each collection then includes four unique scents that come in perfume, body sprays and rollerballs, so there’s truly something for everyone.

“Beauty at Target is all about the joy of discovering products that work best for you, and we want to ensure this philosophy rings true in fragrances,” said Christina Hennington, senior vice president of Beauty and Essentials at Target. “That’s why we are reinvigorating our fragrance collection by introducing Good Chemistry, an exclusive brand that is all about inspiring our guests to find unique scents that they love.”

The vegan and paraben-free scents are made with essential oils and will be available in all Target stores starting Jan. 21. To help guests find their best scent, they can test out the different fragrances in store before selecting a favorite.

Also launching on Jan. 21 are eight new fragrances from Pacifica, a fan-favorite specialty beauty brand. 

Marketing: POWER of Building Relationships

It takes a dedicated amount of time and energy to build good, strong, lasting business relationships today. They are such an integral and necessary part of success, but people don’t seem to want to put in the work.

Alert: lasting business relationships just don’t happen and develop without the dedicated, consistent work.

Our business network should be a qualified, selective group of people we count on, tap into and rely on for support, direction and insight. We have to find that balance of being givers and takers. We can’t just give or take, we need both. Far too many people don’t ask for help when they need it and that can be fatal in small business.

Selectivity, consistency and engagement are essential for finding great people and growing relationships with them.

Here are ways to build lasting business relationships in today’s professional world.

1. Be Authentic

This is pretty simple. Be who you are and accept others as they are. It’s easy to create a false persona, especially online, but that is not the way to start a relationship and short lived when we start qualifying people and companies. Find people and companies you feel a natural connection and ease of communication with and things you both have in common. The authenticity of connecting personality, beliefs and point of view can accelerate relationships.

2. Identify Shared Goals and Values

We seek out people in life we like, share similar goals and values with. Are they honest, kind, knowledgeable, helpful? How do they treat others? This is about moral character. Do we respect them? I have sadly seen too many people present themselves one way only to take advantage of people, once they have their trust. We may not always share the same point of view with everyone, but the shared values are a must.

3. Develop Mutual Respect

I find this takes time, unless someone is referred to you by a trusted connection. We prove ourselves over time and through different activities and experiences. Join a chamber, professional group, or online community which are all great environments to develop relationships. Be patient, selective and watch people in action. Building mutual respect is an essential for growing relationships.

4. Share Some Vulnerability

We are human and sometimes that means sharing and supporting people through difficulty, challenge and change. Showing our vulnerability is part of our authenticity. One word of caution: this is best shared with a select few rather than more publicly. Use good judgment here.

5. “I’ve Got Your Back”

Let people know that you have their back as a way of showing loyalty to them. I have been at way too many events where gossip and unnecessary conversations go down among people that simple shouldn’t be doing that. As tricky as this can be, I have selectively addressed certain people directly and respectfully asked them to reconsider those conversations and choose not to continue interacting with them.

6. Make Meaningful Connections for People to Network with Each Other

The greatest compliment in business is a referral. We should be thoughtful, have the right motives and be connecting people for the right reasons. Not all referrals work out. It takes two to make it happen and work, so don’t be doing all the work.

7. Get More Personal

If you really want to get to know people, ask them to go for coffee so that you can talk more personally, one on one. Be willing to share experiences, ideas, points of view and simply learn more about each other’s story, family and professional history.

8. Plan Something Fun to Do Together

All work and no play makes us dull! Be willing to go out and do something fun together that may not have anything to do with work. Music, art, entertainment, meet ups and community events are all fun things to do to see different sides of people. Not to mention some random and memorable conversations and laughs that can come out of it.

9. Let Go of Expectations

Always go into relationships with an open mind, realistic expectations and never assume. People are only who we think they are based on what our interactions have been with them. One of the best pieces of advice I got from a client was: accept the way people are not as you want them to be. If we have preconceived expectations of people, then we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.

10. Schedule Brainstorming Time

Block out dedicated time to brainstorm, engage and do business together. Best to set a regular time, a time limit and an agenda for what you want to accomplish in it. Leave some time unexpected discussion.

11. Offer Something Before Asking for Something

In 2010, Trendwatching.com came out with a trend brief that highlighted “serving is the new selling”. They put a name on what we were already knew was the trend shift in sales and marketing and now it is the norm in business, social media and content marketing.

When we educate, help and inspire others with our experience and expertise, we are building the foundation for trust that underlies relationships that endure. When we blog, create content, speak, do a workshop, webinar, write an e-book, go to events, we are serving and helping.

When we get more serious and engaged on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media where community gathers and exchanges ideas, we are serving and helping . Serving and helping builds trust like nothing else.

Trust is the one ingredient that builds strong, long lasting business relationships.

If you put in the time and work, you will be rewarded.

Events: Mary Kay, DEC Partner for Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit


Mary Kay announced Tuesday it will host its inaugural Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit Jan. 27 at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas.

“For 53 years Mary Kay has been empowering, mentoring and promoting women entrepreneurs. Our founder, Mary Kay Ash herself was one of the greatest business minds of all time and millions of women around the world have built successful businesses by following her proven leadership and sales techniques,” Mary Kay’s Chief Marketing Officer Sheryl Adkins-Green said in a media release. “No one person or company has more experience with women’s entrepreneurship than Mary Kay. We believe that the Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit will help inspire current and future female entrepreneurs.”

“We can think of no better partner than Dallas’ own Mary Kay to provide effective tools and resources for the next generation of women innovators.”

Mary Kay is partnering with The DEC (Dallas Entrepreneur Center) to bring together experts and thought leaders for the summit that will focus on women business owners. 

“We have seen a great increase in women entrepreneurs starting businesses in North Texas in recent years, and we believe programs like this Summit are invaluable in helping these companies grow,” co-founder and CEO of The Dallas Entrepreneur Center Trey Bowles said. “We can think of no better partner than Dallas’ own Mary Kay to provide effective tools and resources for the next generation of women innovators. We hope to bring some of the success-proven mindsets, processes, and practices to the women that attend this inaugural Mary Kay Women’s Summit.”

Businesses will get a chance to pitch their ideas in the first-ever “Pink Tank” for a chance to receive seed funding from The DEC. Judges will include Adkins-Green; Abe Minkara, director of business development for Mark Cuban Cos., and fashion designer and CEO Abi Ferrin. If you want to apply to pitch your business, visit this link

Gloria Mayfield Banks, internationally renowned motivational speaker and No. 1 U.S.-ranked Mary Kay Independent Elite Executive National Sales Director, will be the featured keynote speaker. There will be breakout sessions throughout the day, as well as opportunities for networking and mentorships. 

Sessions will include:

  • Why Women Make Great Entrepreneurs — featuring Amber Venz Box of RewardStyle and Valerie Freeman of Imprimis Group.
  • 10 Questions You Need To Answer Before You Become An Entrepreneur — featuring Shama Hyder of Marketing Zen and Yasmeen Tadia of Make Your Life Sweeter.
  • How To Build the Best Team For Success — featuring Sheryl Chamberlain of Cap Gemini, Kristi Libby of S.W.C./SoCu, and Jill Scigliano of The DEC.
  • Customer Development: How To Find And Grow Customers — featuring Melissa Youngblood of LCC Management Consulting.
  • Building Your Brand —  featuring Heather Capps of HCK2; Holly Mason of Mason Baronet; and Jessica Nunez of True Point.
  • Fundraising: How To Fund Your Business  Julia Taylor Cheek of Everly; Louise Kee of Golden Seeds; Cynthia Nevels of Integrality, and Cristin Thomas of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business.


Time: 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Date: Jan. 27
Place: Fairmont Hotel, 1717 N. Akard in Dallas.
Registration fee:  $100 per person through Jan. 1, includes breakfast, breakout sessions, lunch, keynote speakers, mentorship opportunities, Pink Tank and post-event reception. Starting Jan. 2, the registration fee will be $125 per person and $150 at the door. 

For more information or to register, visit www.marykaywomenssummit.com or info@thedec.co.

Business: Overlooked Fundamentals

Amin & Co. - Dallas Marketing Firm

Running a business is complicated, which means there are some factors or tasks that tend to get overlooked. From basic concepts to more involved processes, members of our small business community have plenty of tips for dealing with those sometimes overlooked business tasks. See the full list of tips below.

Be Sure to Spend Enough Time on Marketing

So how much time should you be spending sharing content or connecting on social media or networking at industry related events? How long should you be spending on marketing in general? It depends. Answer the Small Business Trends poll and see how you stack up against others for amount of time spent marketing your business.

Learn the Difference Between User Experience and Customer Experience

The user experience and customer experience are important considerations for any business. But they’re not the same. And understanding what each is can make a big difference for your business. Caroline Sober-James explains more in this Acumium blog post.

Get Honest Feedback for Your Business Idea

Coming up with a great business idea is, of course, important. But you also need to gather some honest feedback about your ideas if you want them to succeed, as Cate Costa discusses here. Members of the BizSugar community also share thoughts on the post here.

Invest in LinkedIn Marketing

LinkedIn can be good for more than just keeping in touch with your professional connections. There are plenty of marketing opportunities that the platform presents, as Aaron Agius details in this Search Engine Journal post.

Determine Your Brand’s Social Media Persona

Lots of brands get on social media and just start posting without giving it much thought. But to really make an impact with your social media, you need to determine a persona. This post on the Inkhouse Inklings Blog by Sarah Mitus explains the importance of having a persona for your social media efforts.

Pitch Your Online Content for the Right Audience

Finding your target audience is absolutely essential to any business. And you need to constantly keep that audience in mind when creating and pitching your online content as well. This Two Feet Marketing post by David Lowbridge includes some thoughts on pitching content to your audience. And you can also see discussion about the post over on BizSugar.

Use These Tech Savvy Ways to Tell Your Brand Story

Every brand needs to tell a story. And you can actually use technology to help convey that story to customers and potential customers online. Here, Ivan Widjaya shares some tips about using technology to tell a brand story in this Noobpreneur post.

Improve Your Email Click-Through Rates

When it comes to email marketing, there’s a lot of emphasis put on gaining subscribers. But if you want your email marketing to have any impact, you also need to focus on improving your click-through rates.Here, Neil Patel shares some strategies for improving click-through rates on emails.

Build Customer Trust to Stand Out in a Crowd

There are tons of flashy strategies out there for making your business stand out. But few are as effectively as just building good old fashioned trust with your customers. Sherry Gray of ChamberOfCommerce.comdiscusses more here. And BizSugar members discuss the post here as well.

Use SEO to Get Local Customers to Cling to Your Content

When you think about the importance of SEO, you probably consider how essential it is to online businesses. But local businesses can use SEO and content marketing to reach customers as well. Here, Bhupinder Kaur Chhabra outlines how SEO and content can benefit local businesses in the Blurbpoint blog.


Business: Multiple Ways to Repurpose Content

Image Credit:  Syed Yaqeen

Image Credit: Syed Yaqeen

  1. Create a blog post. Make a bulleted list of the teleseminar highlights and post it as an article on your blog. You could even offer it as a guest post on an industry blog.

  2. Turn it into a short eBook or whitepaper. Get the audio transcribed, put a nice cover on it, and now you have a digital product to sell or giveaway.

  3. Podcast. Take the teleseminar recording and upload it to a place like SoundCloud or iTunes. You can take those links and embed them into your blog for an audio post. This example assumes you’re starting with an mp3. If you’re going to repurpose a blog post into audio, Audacity works very well. I’ve used it to record and edit all of my podcasts.

  4. Audio training. Turn the teleseminar into a digital product that’s for sale on a platform like Gumroad.

  5. Create a video presentation. Services like Tunes to Tube take your mp3 and an image, turn it into a video and then upload it to your YouTube channel for you.

  6. Make a talking head video. Take some of the best nuggets from the teleseminar, turn on your phone’s camera and talk about them. Most phones have simple video editing software and one-click social media sharing.

  7. Create a deep dive teleseminar. Say you created a teleseminar about your 5-step process for organizing closets. Step 1 was purge what you don’t need. You can create an entirely new seminar that goes in depth around that step. For example, you could talk about why it’s important to get rid of old items, how to decide what to toss, where to donate items that are still in good condition, etc.

  8. Make a presentation. Create slides using PowerPoint and then share it via SlideShare.net.

  9. Develop an infographic. Use a site like Visual.ly to make an infographic with highlights from your seminar.

  10. Schedule a webinar. For those who are more visual learners, present the teleseminar information with slides in the background this time.

  11. Newsletter. Highlight the best tips from the teleseminar and share them with your mailing list.

  12. Physical CD for sale. Use an online CD maker to upload your teleseminar and make it a physical CD. This product can now be sold when you attend events or mailed to potential clients. If you’ve done multiple teleseminars, upload each track, add a transcript and sell it as a home study class.

Branding: Personal Branding Mistakes

Personal Branding Mistakes - Luxury Brand Marketing Expert

Entrepreneurs are supposed to be the face of their respective companies, but these seven costly mistakes can interfere with that role.

Every company has a brand -- an image, a reputation, and a persona that defines that company's character and reputation. What most people don't realize is that you can also establish and build a personal brand -- an image, a reputation, and a persona that defines your own professional character and reputation.

When working together, a strong corporate brand and a strong entrepreneurial personal brand can work wonders for attracting new business, but too many mistakes can compromise the entire operation. Be sure to avoid these seven personal branding mistakes as you build a reputation for yourself:

1. Neglecting to use personal branding altogether. The first mistake is by far the most egregious and damaging, but hopefully if you're reading this, you've already avoided it. A personal brand is almost necessary for an entrepreneur in today's world.

2. Not establishing a consistent persona. Just like a corporate brand, a personal brand has to be consistent to be effective. Know who you are, what you're good at, and what your goals are.

3. Being fake. Even though you can craft and customize different attributes of yourself in a public context, it's a good idea to remain sincere and true to yourself. People want to deal with other people--not with fictional characters.

4. Never guest blogging. Guest blogging is your greatest tool to success. Start out small by writing for other local establishments and niche blogs in your industry, then scale up to more authoritative and visible publishers.

5. Not getting social. Social media is how most personal brands build their empires. Get involved on as many platforms as possible, and don't neglect local networking events!

6. Skipping out on local opportunities. There are tons of opportunities to build a reputation for yourself in your own city. Get involved at conferences and speaking events.

7. Forgetting about your followers. Respond and commune with your followers regularly; build actual relationships with them.

If you can avoid these personal branding mistakes, you'll have a far greater chance at making a lasting impression with your personal brand. Work together with your corporate brand for the best possible results.


Business: Protect Your Brand

Creating a strong brand in the eyes of your audience can be the difference between building your business to unimaginable heights, or sinking your ship before you even get started.

Many people have the illustrious dream of having a business empire as big as the beloved philanthropist and billionaire entrepreneur, Oprah. From Harpo Studios, O Magazine and OWN Network, Oprah is the master of creating an empire that rests solidly on companies and revenue streams that play off her inspirational stance in personal development, along with her incredibly unique name.

Now, of course Oprah has trademarked her companies to keep her brand right and tight.  But often people think simply registering a trademark is all they have to do and they’ve hit the brand jackpot. However, a chief component and underlying thread to Oprah’s mega-success is keeping her brand strong and preventing dilution.  

Brand and/or trademark dilution occurs whenever there is a likelihood of confusion between your goods and/or services and someone else’s, because they have incorporated key components of your brand into their own. If your brand is no longer distinguishable from another seller in the eyes of the public, you could run the risk of losing your intellectual property protection under the law.

To ensure this doesn’t happen to you causing you to have an elusive, watered down brand that no one remembers, here are five legal strategies you can use to ensure that your brand remains strong:

1. Trademark your brand name

Have you ever heard of another Oprah? Probably not because she’s one of the few people that have taken the steps to trademark her name to ensure she’s the only one with that name in the eyes of the public and her marketplace. Trademarking your name ensures that it remains unique to you and it’s brand GOLD for your company. While you can trademark products and services as well, if you want to develop a strong personal brand or develop multiple streams of income for your company, follow Oprah’s lead and trademark your name.

2. Police your mark

Once you have your name trademarked, did you know that you could lose your mark and all the exclusive rights that come with it if you don’t police the Internet to ensure others are not using your mark in the marketplace where you have it registered? Well, since you’re running a business and you don’t have time to scour the Internet for fakers, set up Google alerts so you’re notified every time you have an infringer (I sometimes call them a brand bandit) on the loose.  Then, consult with your attorney to determine your course of action.

3. Send 'Take Down' notices

Now, every time you find someone using your mark without your authorization, it is time to send him or her a "Cease and Desist" letter, also known as a "Take Down Notice." This letter puts that person on notice that you own the mark in question and they are required by law to remove any infringements from their websites, servers, products or services.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1996 was instituted to protect your intellectual property on the Internet. Violators run the risk of losing their own protection under the act, so usually they will comply upon first notice. Also, this Act applies in many cases when individuals steal your marketing copy, blog posts and any other works protected by intellectual property law. It is a great way to protect your brand’s integrity.

4. Use the 'common thread' technique

This is a surefire way to strengthen your brand using what you already own. For example, Oprah uses some variation of her name most of her business ventures (O Magazine, Harpo Studios, OWN Network). Using the components of your brand name for any revenue streams or businesses you want to create is one of the smartest ways to keep your brand and its name in the public’s memory. Even corporate companies use this technique such as Virgin (Virgin Airlines and Virgin Mobile, to name a few.), because it provides solid brand recognition and more exposure for you and your message.  

5. Include Intellectual Property protection

Make sure your contractors and employees sign agreements that state that they cannot use your intellectual property (IP) for their own personal or business use. Even better, make sure that you have the power to authorize their use in all scenarios.  Include a clause that indicates that you own all intellectual property created for you during their engagement with your Company. I’ve seen countless entrepreneurs forget this step only to have a contractor steal their content or fail to transfer the rights to the property causing nightmares for the company. Having this clause in your contracts can save you some serious brand agony.

Creating a strong brand in the eyes of your audience can be the difference between building your business to unimaginable heights, or sinking your ship before you even get started. If you have big empire dreams and someone like Oprah inspires you, it’s time to get serious about protecting your brand.


Interview: Q&A with Adina of S.W. Basics

LUXE Ambiton (Beauty Influencer): Q&A with Adina of S.W. Basics 

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Business: T.G.I.M.

Image Credit:   Yacine Samb

Image Credit: Yacine Samb

Monday can totally feel like a drag. You just had a great weekend of fun and play and now it's back to the workweek. Even those who love their job can find Mondays a real buzz kill.

But Monday can also be an exciting beginning. With the right approach it can stimulate efficiency and productivity for the entire week. It takes a strong constitution to start the week with focus and determination, yet, this is exactly what the most productive people do. Here are 5 key ways they use Monday to their advantage.

1. They start with a positive attitude.

So much time and energy is used up by a bad mood. Super productive people don't like to waste any energy and they certainly don't want the week to lag from a bad start. They focus their mind on joyful productivity from the moment their feet hit the ground in the morning. They revel in the excitement of what they can accomplish. Instead of lamenting going to work, focus on where you truly want to be and what will take you forward.

2. They dedicate time for organization.

Starting Monday firefighting will put you behind schedule for the entire week. Super productive people understand that organization doesn't happen magically on its own. Time is required to think things through and create process. Otherwise, a haphazard approach will create chaos and eat the very time you thought you might save. Block out an hour first thing Monday morning and get your ducks in a row.

3. They prioritize their objectives.

If you don't have clear objectives on Monday, you will find yourself with a short week to get things done. Super productive people assess the entire week so they can manage their resources accordingly. That gives them the ability to meter out the week and adjust as necessary. Make your lists and calendar your time. It will free your mind for the week.

4. They anticipate obstacles.

Obstacles are an inevitable part of every project and work environment. Monday is a great time to focus on the obstacles of the week. Super productive people incorporate room for unknown speed bumps into their plan, so that when the inevitable happens, they don't get tripped up.

5. They line up their allies.

People are busy and you can't assume that they will use Monday to set up their own week. Super productive people take into account the human resources required and schedule appointments right away so they don't have to chase people later in the week. A colleague asked early for help is much more likely to respond and act than someone who is jarred into action by a surprise S.O.S.