The Power of Micro Habits

microGuest Post :: Ever wanted to carve out weekly hours to work out, or 20 minutes a day to meditate?  I know I have.  But with two small kids and a new business, starting any sort of regimen has been ‘challenging’, to put it mildly.  Owning a business is a time-consuming endeavor, and it can feel near impossible to carve out regular windows of time. Good habits and stress relievers usually take the back burner to the business and home life. And sadly, once you break a habit, it can be hard to get back into it. Fortunately, research has shown that all you need to do to spark some big changes in your life is form some micro habits. We’re talking maybe five minutes out of your day - something actually attainable!  In my case, I decided to start small, and tear myself away from my coworking business once a day to at least walk around the block.  But once I begin, that short walk often turns into twenty minutes of brisk exercise.

Here are some ideas you can use to create micro habits that can inspire new behaviors:

1. Have big dreams, but attainable daily goals. Thinking abstractly has been proven to help motivate people. However, if you set unattainable daily goals you can quickly become discouraged from those dreams. Read more

Master Your Nutrition For Better Business Focus

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 10.39.59 AMGuest Post by Sarah McMillan :: Nutrition is key to focus. Imagine the last time you were on a business call and were distracted by an empty stomach, or even worse sluggish because your only option for lunch during your hectic day was fast food. In addition, as a mom you’re not only responsible for your nutrition, but for that of your family. That’s alot of pressure!

Recent research shows that healthy snacking throughout the day can not only increase your focus and productivity, it helps with weight loss and overall health. Avoiding extreme hunger increases the likelihood that you'll pick the healthy snack rather than raiding the cookie jar or overeating at meals. “Indeed, Megan Mullin, a nutritionist at Canyon Ranch SpaClub in Las Vegas, recommends that her clients eat small meals every three to five hours” for overall health. The key is keeping healthy snacks around to avoid the temptation of reaching for a overly sweet or fatty option.

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4 Tips To Perfect Your Pitch

shutterstock_215261320Guest Post ::  Imagine you want your kitchen painted. How you’d ask your significant other for help versus a professional would probably be pretty different.

How you describe your business, and what it can offer to others, should be similarly tailored to the audience. Successful sellers and marketers know that the best sales tactic is to demonstrate the benefits for the person to whom you're pitching. But the way you execute your pitch will vary greatly depending on who the recipient is — a potential client isn't going to be interested in the same things as a venture capitalist.

How do you start crafting your perfect pitch? There is an avalanche of information online, from The Huffington Post to Forbes. There are four major things to keep in mind when working on your pitch:

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The Power of the Pause

pauseThis may seem counter-intuitive to business owners but I believe that the most important skill you can develop is to take the BUSY out of BUSIness. I do this daily by taking time for reflection. The “power of the pause” is hands down the single most powerful tool in my toolkit. I create this in moments of silence, my morning meditation, time in’s throughout the day and an annual 24-hour escape. And also, by sitting in Circle. Slowing down to pause in the middle of the day to be in Circle with other women is a tremendous gift that allows both personal and group reflection. Together, we tap into group wisdom far greater than we hold individually. We mirror each other’s essence. “We help each other become who we want to be,” as one of my most frequent Circlers likes to say, with a beautiful beaming smile on her face.

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6 Secrets to Successful Small Business Marketing

Leah Stern headshot (1)Guest Post :: We all know how little time and money small businesses have to spare. You can save lots of both by taking an organized approach to your marketing strategy.

1. Ask your customers (or potential customers) why they buy from you.

You can maximize your marketing dollars if you target those who are most likely to buy your product. These folks are called your ideal clients. Don’t assume you know everything about their motivations. After all, it’s important to remember that you are not your target market.

Learn more about these people - find out in their own words what appeals to them about your product and how they decide what to buy and who to buy from. Having this conversation shows you what customers really value and helps you learn how best to reach them. It could keep you from wasting lots of time and money going down the wrong avenues.

2. Form a marketing strategy with specific goals.

Depending on your industry, some marketing tactics may be more advantageous and efficient for your business than others. Don’t start throwing spaghetti on the wall and hope it sticks. Once you’ve done your market research (see above), work on an achievable strategy that will focus your efforts where you can maximize your resources. Read more

How Great Leaders Guide Teams to the Summit


Guest Post: About 18 years ago, I began an athletic journey called “The Seven Summits,” a quest to climb and summit the highest mountain on every continent. Early on in the ascent of my first, Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,740 feet), I realized the uncanny similarities between high altitude mountaineering and an organization’s or leader’s journey to reach the summit of Employee Engagement, which is typically defined as reaching Best-in-Class or Award-winning status (the top 10% of all employers).

One of the most striking similarities is in leadership qualities. Pick your expedition leader or manager carefully—it is the single most important factor in determining your success, either on the mountain or in the workplace.

Having a Plan

During my climbing expedition of Mt. Elbrus in Russia (18,510 feet), I had the honor of climbing with Mr. Vern Tejas, one of the most revered climbers and expedition leaders in the world. Vern mirrored what every great workplace manager does to achieve success; first and foremost, he had a plan of action. He insisted that we plan our climb and climb our plan. We were warned that deviating from our plan could be a recipe for trouble. In fact, the infamous “Into Thin Air” Mt. Everest disaster (29,028 feet) and the 2008 K-2 disaster (28,251 feet) both occurred because the leaders did not stick to the plan. Before both climbs, the climbers planned that if they were not at the summit by a certain time, they would turn the expedition around and head back down the mountain. Neither group stuck to their plan and many people perished. Read more

Cost Saving Travel Tips For Small Businesses

flightcarGuest Post by Tiffany Larson, FlightCar :: Travel expenses are often one of the easiest ways for a small business to unknowingly hemorrhage money until it’s too late to remedy. Fortunately, there are a few quick hacks to turn that travel budget from terror to triumph:

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Jill Salzman on WBEZ 91.5’s “Afternoon Shift” With Niala Boodhoo

10987637_848986998477999_6653866902778394239_nGuess who joined WBEZ 91.5's Niala Boodhoo and Melba Lara for this week's "Afternoon Shift" segment? None other than our founder, Jill Salzman. Hear their tech talk on President Obama’s new executive orders on cybersecurity, Governor Rauner’s announcement about a new innovation council and Facebook’s new way to manage user accounts after they’ve passed away.

Hit the big orange "play" button on the left, below:


Get More Done with Parenting Help from Dr. G

dgWanna get more work done? We all love our kids, but we also know that parenting can be hard. Getting the behavior you want from your child can feel like a battle. So, mom of 4, author, and family MD, Dr. G, wants to help.

Especially for mom entrepreneurs, setting boundaries is key to successfully working from home guilt free. Work-life balance is so important and you can use these clear boundaries to protect your work and your relationships. Help your life reflect your priorities. Dr.G can help with all of this and more!

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Get Out And In Their Shoes at Rosecrance

inmyshoes_photo2Wanna get out and see brilliant art for a great cause? Rosecrance, a not-for-profit organization and leading national provider of substance abuse treatment for teens, adults and families, recently launched “In My Shoes,” an art exhibit created to help parents understand teenagers’ points of view about the pressures they face and how they're confronted with the potential to use and abuse substances.

The exhibit will be featured at the Robert Crown Center for Health Education in Hinsdale, Illinois, during National Drug Facts Week, Jan. 26-Feb. 1. The exhibit will remain at the center through Feb. 6 -- so get out there and soon. Read more