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Performance Metrics: Useful Tool or Dirty Word?

What are you keeping track of to ensure that your company is reaching its potential?  Performance metrics can be a powerful tool to help guide your decision making within your organization.  If you’ve never even thought about performance metrics, then now is the perfect time to try it out.  Here are some tips to help you get started:

Figure Out What to Measure.

When you’re setting up performance metrics, the most important decision that you have to make is what to measure.  If you are measuring the wrong thing, your metrics will only serve as a distraction and could possibly point you in the wrong direction.  Focus on what is key to your organization’s success.  You want to make sure that your organization’s performance is aligned with its mission, vision and goals.  Most performance metrics focus on best practices, efficiency and critical processes.  These metrics are most effective and most useful when you are measuring specific and quantifiable outputs.

Find a Process that Works for Your Company.

When developing the process that you will use to measure your organization’s performance, you need to find one that meets your specific needs.  For an evaluation strategy to be successful, it must take your industry, your organizational culture and your company’s readiness for measuring performance into consideration.  If you try to do too much too quickly, your efforts will be doomed to fail.

Talk to Your Employees.

To get their buy-in, it’s important that you involve your employees in the decision-making process right from the beginning.  Have a meeting with them and ask what they think should be measured.  When you come up with a process, ask them for their feedback.  Make sure that your employees understand that it is the processes, not their performance, that you are evaluating.

Revise and Refine.

After you get feedback from your employees, re-examine your evaluation process to determine whether or not any changes need to be made.  Are your performance metrics meeting your needs?  Is the data accurate?  Are you measuring the right things?  Remember that the way you measure your performance needs to evolve in order to keep up with your organization’s growth.

Since you’ve invested so much of your time, effort and money into your business, you want to make sure that you’re achieving your desired results.  By measuring certain aspects of your organization’s performance you can allocate your resources in a way that will allow you to meet your goals.

 

(Written by: Karen Bivand, image courtesy of ‘2nix’ via freedigitalphotos.net)

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5 Ways to Conquer Insomnia

Sleeping-Business-Woman-198x300You’re done for the day and the kids are asleep.  You head hits the pillow and…nothing.  An hour passes and you are still up tossing and turning.  It is the absolute WORST!  Here are some tips that will help you relax and get to sleep faster:

Decrease your caffeine intake.

If you have a coffee after 3pm, you might regret it later.

Reduce your stress.

Stress is one of the biggest enemies of healthy sleep.  Make decisions that will lighten your load and give be sure to give yourself some down time each day.

Control your thoughts.

Left to their own devices, your thoughts can resemble a runaway train.  Refuse to get carried away with it.  If your thoughts are spiraling off into a negative direction, bring yourself back to a more positive and relaxing place.

Stick to a schedule.

Our bodies work best when we keep a consistent schedule.  If you go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, your body will anticipate and crave the sleep.

Let it go.

When you’re having trouble getting to sleep, the worst thing you can do is stress about it.  Don’t count the hours that you have left until you have to go to work.  Just take the extra time to watch trashy television and catch up on some light reading.

If it’s 3:30am and you’re still wide awake, you know that tomorrow is going to be rough, but if you start to practice good sleep habits on a daily basis, you won’t have to endure the sleepless nights for long.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)

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5 Bad Excuses for Not Starting a Business

Have you always dreamed about starting a business but are too afraid to take the leap?  There are a lot of good reasons not to start a business, but often it’s just fear that stops us.  Remember, it’s the things that we don’t do that we usually regret.  If you are resting on one of these five lame excuses, then it might be time to get out of your own way!

I might fail.

It’s true, you might.  But you might succeed passed your wildest imagination and even if you do fail, you will likely learn something in the process.

I don’t have time.

Think about the most successful business people that you know.  They have the same amount of time as you do.  The question is what you prioritize and how you spend the time that you do have…and yes, a lot of them are mothers too.

I’m not ready.

You will probably never be ready.  It is always going to be scary and overwhelming.  You just need to take the plunge.

I don’t have the money.

Just start small and grow slowly.  What’s the rush?

I don’t know where to start.

There is a multitude of resources available for new entrepreneurs.  You can start by signing up for some workshops.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)

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5 People You Should Count as Your Friends

ID-100171728When you’re trying to move mountains, sometimes you need a little help.  That’s why the savvy mompreneur has brigade of professionals that she keeps on speed dial.  Make sure that these five people get a box of chocolates this holiday season.  You never know when you might require their assistance:

A good caterer.

You’ll be glad they’re on your list when you have to put an amazing lunch together at a moment’s notice.

Your printer.

10,000 brochures by the end of the day?  No problem!

Your daycare provider.

Having someone you trust who is always willing to take your kids for a few hours; priceless!

Your dry cleaner.

Someone who understands that you need your favourite skirt to wear to your client meeting (which is in three hours).

A computer expert.

When your files start disappearing, your computer expert is your knight in shining armour.

(Written by:  Karen Bivand, image courtesy of ‘stockimages’ via freedigitalphotos.net)

 

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Join Us on Nov. 22 – Be a SOCIALIGHT

SociaLIGHT Logo with Tagline

This November 22, join 1,000 entrepreneurs, startups, community leaders and innovators at the SociaLIGHT Conference, an event promoting leadership and business as a force of good.

Learn from internationally acclaimed speakers including Bob Proctor from the movie “The Secret” and Forbes Top 20 Most Disruptive Millennials, Miki Agrawal and more! Meet with over 30 of the top brands, organizations and businesses committed to your ongoing success!

We are proud sponsors of this event and our community gets a special rate!

Celebrate with “MOMPRENEURVIP” and get tickets for $97 or 2 day All Access tickets for $197. Hurry, this will be a sold out event!  www.socialightconference.com

socialight conference november 22 2014 with bob proctor, mompreneurs
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Are You Out of Touch?

Are you at risk of becoming a dinosaur?  It can happen more quickly than you might think.  One minute you are at the top of your game, but then you blink and suddenly feel as if the world has moved on without you.  When you are an entrepreneur this is more than an annoyance; it can have serious implications on your business.  Here are some tips that will help you to stay ahead of the curve:

Spend time on social media.

Social media is everywhere and it is current up to the minute.  By investing half an hour online each day, you will keep yourself up to date on recent news, events and trends.

Keep current with technology.

Read blogs and industry publications to get a sense of the technology that is being used by your customers and your competition.  Take a look at your work processes and see if there are any areas where more advanced technology might benefit your business.  If you are not naturally a ‘techie’ person, find a friend or a networking contact that is and see if they have any suggestions for you.

Network

The best way to find out what people are talking about is to get out there and talk to people.  Ask them what’s going on in their business.  Those with strong networks are the first to find out about everything.

Join professional associations.

Become a member and actually attend events such as workshops, trade shows and conferences.  These are all opportunities to make connections and to find out what’s hot in your industry.

Read the newspaper.

This one is obvious, but when we’re busy running a business and packing lunches for school, it might not be your top priority.  Catch up on the news whenever you can; you never know what possibilities might be hiding in those pages.

When you are an entrepreneur, there are opportunities all around you.  The problem is that if you are not plugged in, you could miss out on all of them.  Keeping yourself current should be a priority that you work at on a daily basis.  Don’t let the world pass you by!

(Written by: Karen Bivand,  photo courtesy of ‘stockimages’ via freedigitalphotos.net)

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5 Ways to Make Your Meetings More Productive

How much time and money does your company spend on meetings?  Do these meetings actually contribute to your company’s bottom line?  Here are five tips that will help you ensure that all of your meetings are both efficient and effective.

Keep them short.

Most meetings should be no longer than 30 minutes.

Start and finish on time.

Don’t reward lateness.

Only hold meetings when necessary.

Don’t have meetings just for the sake of having them.

Assign someone to each action item.

Someone needs to take responsibility for every task.

Make next steps clear.

When people are held accountable, things are more likely to get done.

Meetings often amount to a waste of time and when they’re long, they can be downright painful.  Starting today, take control of your meetings and your employees will thank you for it.

 

 

 

 

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TELUS Small Business Week: Highlights & Photos

Small Business Week is an annual event that brings together Canadian entrepreneurs and small business owners, and Mompreneurs was proud to partner with TELUS to present the first-ever “Small Business Week for Mompreneurs” event on October 23, 2014.

Close to 50 women met at the beautiful TELUS House at 25 York in Toronto, with a chance to network and mingle while enjoying a catered luncheon and learning from two of Canada’s leading tech companies, TELUS and Citrix GoTo Meeting.

 

TELUS content context crop

Tasha Caruso, Senior Social Media Manager for TELUS, opened the morning presentation with a focus on social media and the extensive changes society has seen in the past decade.  One of the key elements focused on was the importance of content with context, as well as “The Conversation Prism“. It was eye-opening to get a real sense of just how much our lives have changed since the evolution of social media, and understanding what that has meant for businesses globally. By the end of Tasha’s presentation, it was clear that no matter what size your business is, relating content WITH context to drive your social media engagement is definitely vital.

 

 

gotomeeting quoteFollowing further networking and connecting, and a delicious catered lunch, the event continued with a presentation by David Potter, Marketing Lead in Canada for Citrix (GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar). One of the most impactful aspects of David’s presentation surrounded the fact that the typical “workplace” is no longer typical at all – entrepreneurs and business owners no longer need to set boundaries on where, when, or how they do business, thanks to the amazing technologies and programs offered by Citrix such as GoToMeeting.

 

 

 

Featured Tweets for #MompreneurSMBZ:

testimonial cathy

testimonial filita

testimonial goto

testimonial HQ

testimonial sandra

 

Thank you to all for attending and supporting the “Small Business Week for Mompreneurs” event – we look forward to presenting further events to help you grow your network and support your businesses!

To find out more information on TELUS and Citrix GoTo Meeting, take a look at our Member Discounts!

 

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Strong Girls – Strong World

Strong Girls Strong World - Malala in Canada, Status of Women

 

On October 10, Prime Minister Stephen Harper congratulated Malala Yousafzai for receiving the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize and announced that she would be visiting Canada on October 22, 2014.

In recognition of her courageous and inspiring work to promote education for young women, and for her tireless efforts in favour of children’s rights, Malala Yousafzai was named an honorary Canadian citizen by the Governor-General-in-Council on October 16, 2013. Honorary citizenship is an extraordinary mark of recognition.

To mark Malala’s visit, the Government of Canada invites you to join us for the Strong Girls, Strong World event webcast on October 22, 2014, at 9:30 a.m. ETD. This event will bring together adolescent girls and influential Canadians to explore important issues girls face in Canada and abroad.

The live webcast in the morning will feature a number of well-known public figures to highligh the power of education to reduce poverty and inequality, raise awareness and create sustainable development.

Make sure not to miss the special afternoon question and answer session hosted by the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, featuring the inspiring Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize recipient. This event will be streamed live starting at approximately 2:30 p.m. EST.  You can also subscribe here for a reminder message so you don’t miss this special event.

This joint effort by Canadian girls, stakeholders and community partners builds on momentum created by Canada’s global leadership on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, which aims to put an end the needless deaths of women and children across the developing world within a generation.

Strong Girls, Strong World is another example of the Government of Canada’s unwavering commitment to girls’ human rights.

We encourage you to share the live stream link with your family, friends, colleagues, and classmates.

GET INVOLVED
• Visit Status of Women Canada’s Strong Girls Strong World website for e-tools, including an educator’s toolkit to help teachers and youth workers start a conversation about girls’ rights. This site also offers infobite graphics that can be shared on social media, along with the hashtag #StrongGirls2014 and the Twitter handle @Canada_swc to raise awareness of girls’ rights.
• Visit the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada’s website to learn more about Canada’s targeted efforts to #EndChildMarriage and put global #EducationFirst.
• Follow the Status of Women Canada’s social media channels to learn more about #MalalainCanada and join global supporters for #StrongGirls2014.
• Share your experiences via the Status of Women Canada’s Twitter and Facebook channels, and tell them about how education impacted your life.
• Sign up to receive the DFATD electronic newsletter Development in Focus.

RELATED LINKS
Strong Girls Strong World
Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada congratulating the recipients of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize
Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
Saving Every Woman, Every Child Summit 
International Day of the Girl – October 11
Youth Zone 
Learn more about young Canadians who are making a difference 
How to get more involved

 

Questions or comments? Contact Status of Women Canada via email: communications@swc-cfc.gc.ca.

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Where It All Began: 4 Years of Incredible Moments

Today marks 4 amazing years since the very first “Mompreneur Showcase” in Milton, on October 16, 2010 – where have 4 years gone?! In true celebration style during our 4th Anniversary Party, we reminisced while looking at old photos, we laughed, we cried, and we indulged in some pretty amazing dessert in the process!

Many have asked how this whole ‘Mompreneur thing’ began – truly, I call it a journey, and one that I am so proud and fortunate to have been on for 4 years now. Here’s how it all began, and how this crazy journey has led Milton Mompreneurs and our entire Mompreneur network to where we are today:

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July 2010: We’d just moved into our new house; the kids were 2 and 3.5 years old, and we were just starting our summer holidays. On our second day in new surroundings, I turned to my husband David and asked him what he thought of an idea I had: to put together a group for women who were in business but who were also mothers. His response: “what’s the worst that could happen?!”. So I put the word out via an online mom’s forum: any women who were moms and also business owners were invited to meet at Starbucks and chat about business casually over a grande latte. 12 women came out to that first event, and it was the start of something new and exciting and full of prospect.

October 16, 2010: Word began to spread of  our group – the “Milton Mompreneurs”.  The women who were initially taking part in our networking chats expressed an interest in showcasing their products and services – and so was born the first “Milton Mompreneur Showcase”. It was a whirlwind of activity and women and community members – 40 exhibitors, 400 visitors, and amazing excitement all around. For many of the women who exhibited that day, it was the first time they had told the world that they ran a business, and they first time they took part in exhibiting to the public!

February 2011: Milton Mompreneurs connected with another local women’s networking group called Milton Area Female Entrepreneurs (MAFE), organized by Sandy Hatzis. The thought was that by putting our two groups together for networking events, we would be covering all our bases: women in business and women in business who are mothers! On a random Monday morning in February, we had 80 women attend our first joint meetup, and the energy was incredible. Both Sandy and I knew that we were onto something pretty amazing!  In that same month, on February 14th to be exact, I filed incorporation papers for what is now our “Mompreneur HQ” – Mompreneur Showcase Group Inc. Though it was initially my ‘5 year plan’ to open up other Mompreneur chapters, so many women were approaching me and asking how they too could start a group in their community – so I made it happen! It was a learning curve for sure, but in the end, by the end of February, we had 3 new Mompreneur chapters in other communities around the GTA.

April 2011: The 2nd Annual Milton Mompreneur Showcase took place – we upgraded to an Arena floor, went from 40 exhibitors to 120 exhibitors, and went from 400 visitors to just over 1,000 visitors. In just 6 months time, things were really picking up speed! Over the next year, we continued to host monthly events in the Milton community, while also opening new Mompreneur chapters and continuing to develop the Mompreneur brand and business platform.

September 2012: Another big stepping stone came into play, via the purchase of the Canadian trademarked word “mompreneur” – this now positioned our ‘little’ Mompreneur company as THE Mompreneur company for all of Canada! By the end of 2012, we had developed 15 Mompreneur chapters in various communities, all formed using the same model of our very first group in Milton.

March 2013: In 2013 we hosted the “Mompreneurs Conference” with CityLine‘s Tracey Moore, a national event that welcomed 200 business women from across Canada! At this event, we crowned our first winner of the “Mompreneur Award of Excellence” – a $30,000 prize awarded to one talented mom in business. I was also honoured in Milton by being named “Entrepreneur of the Year” through the Milton Chamber of Commerce – an honour that I continue to hold near and dear to my heart!

March 2014: The 2014 Mompreneurs Conference took place, with keynote speaker Arlene Dickinson of Dragon’s Den. To say that this accomplishment was huge for me is an understatement, as Arlene is, in my books (and the books of most women in business!), the quintessential “mompreneur” – it was a weekend that I truly will never forget.

That Brings Us to TODAY: Over the last 4 years, so much has been accomplished since that very first meeting at Starbucks, and that very first “Mompreneur Showcase” in the little banquet room of our local sports centre. As a collective community between the whole Mompreneur Organization, here is a look at our ‘numbers’:

  • We now have 18 active Mompreneur Chapters, all supporting business women in their unique communities
  • Our collective online community consists of over 14,000 amazing women in business across the country
  • Social media is HUGE for us, with over 40,000 collective followers on Twitter, and over 33,000 fans collectively on Facebook
  • There have been over 500 hosted “Mompreneur” events, both online and in-person, since 2010.
  • Collectively, Mompreneurs and its chapters have raised close to $100,000 in charitable donations for our communities
  • Milton Mompreneurs has raised over $30,000 through various events both independent and partnered, funding of which has stayed in full within the Milton community. We have been proud to support organizations such as Halton Women’s Place, Milton United Way, and The Sunta Caruana Music Scholarship Fund.

 

THANK YOUS

To the early supporters: David, Emily, Patsy, Mom, Kristi and Jonathan Budworth, Kyla Holt, Sheri Medina, Andrea Sadgrove, Lena White, Anna Maria Di Nicolantonio, Tammy Fitzgerald, Adina Ingram, Ilona Di Caro, Patricia Curto, Natasha Pearcy, Piri Darabont

To our collaborators:  Sandy Hatzis – MAFE,  Sam Kassam Macfie – Milton Momstown, Piri Darabont – Intact Marketing, Bridget & Shawn Saulnier – The Mohawk Inn, and the team at HalTech

To our consistent supporters of Milton Mompreneurs:

Bridget & Shawn Sauliner – The Mohawk Inn

Hedi Nowak – Harrop Restaurant & Gallery Upstairs

Theresa Brereton – Theresa Brereton Photography

Amy Leask – Enable Training

Deborah Hilton – Health Matters Home Care

Allycia Uccello – Art Camp

Julie & Shawn Creighton – Academy of Martial Arts

Michelle Hawco – The House Mom

Angie Wagenaar – Isagenix

Carolina Rey – Toys Trunk

The Lizzi Family – La Rose Bakery

The Town of Milton, Mayor Gord Krantz

Athena & David O’Connell – BANG! Creative Communications

Grace Moores, Jennifer Williamson, Suzanne Culley, Pat Cluett

Nicole Horn – Old Europe Duvet Co.

Dean & Allison De Fazio – SNAP’D Milton

The Teams at Milton Canadian Champion, Hawthorne Villager, and Discover Milton

 

Truly, I would not be the person I am today, as a mother or as an entrepreneur, if it wasn’t for the incredible support and network of powerful women I have been blessed to surround myself with – for everyone who has supported Mompreneurs past and present, and for those who continue to support us in future, I truly appreciate all that you have brought into my life. The many many ways in which you have shaped our group has changed the lives of many women across this country, and I’m not sure I will ever be able to fully express my gratitude.

While some businesses have come and gone over the last 4 years, others have flourished and taken off just the same. I have seen members go through so many life-moments: pregnancies, weddings, divorces, first-days of school, going ‘back to work” – through it all, I have found that the support we are able to give each other, no matter which life-moment we happen to be in at any particular time, THAT is what drives us all to success.

Here’s to many more years to come – truly, thank you to everyone!

xo Maria