10 Takeaways from the 2015 #nloweconf

  1. “By not being grounded you’re physically unstable. When it comes to delivering your pitch, you must communicate your confidence physically.” – Liz Radzick
  1. “The key to excellence lies quite simply in choosing to do the work.” – Michelle Cederberg
  1. “By understanding your brand you will be better able to decide which opportunities are best for you.” – Anna Olson
  1. “You have to talk to yourself the same way that you would talk to someone you love.” – Melissa Martin
  1. “What’s right for you may not be right for someone else. Everyone’s balance looks different.” – Paulette Fudge
  1. “Time if your inventory for success. Be fiercely protective of YES.” – Michelle Cederberg
  1. “Opportunity does not wait for convenience.” – Anna Olson
  1. “If you take care of yourself, there’s enough left over to take care of everyone else in your life.” – Melissa Martin
  1. “Celebrity can be taken away, but your decisions and credibility will always be with you.” – Anna Olson
  1. “We need to take our growth priorities and turn them into obligations. Stop saying ‘I’ll get to it when’… prioritize growth” – Michelle Cederberg

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Key Performance Indicators

There’s an ongoing debate about the value of annual physicals in the medical world these days. Some argue doing a general assessment when there are no specific problems is not worth it given the cost. But for the individual who has a family history of breast cancer or for those who have specific issues, say diabetes, it’s accepted that there are things you know you need to track. For the diabetic, it’s blood sugar, level of exercise, blood pressure and weight. For the individual with familial breast cancer, it may be regular self exams and mammograms. Based on “evidence”, these indicators have been identified as key things to monitor as they could well predict a problem before it becomes serious.

In business, depending on the type of business you have, its size, the competitive situation, there are also indicators – based on evidence – that can predict potential problems and give you time to implement strategies to mitigate them. They are known as KPIs – Key Performance Indicators.

Sarah has a retail store selling women’s clothing. Monthly sales is a KPI that she tracks religiously but equally important, she’s found, is the aging of her inventory. If items stay in the store too long, they will be written down.  And the longer they last, the steeper the discount. Keeping track of how fresh her inventory is by product line not only makes sense to preserve her margins, but it also helps her assess whether or not to continue on with a line and how to quickly move a line if it’s staying on the floor too long. Payables are also a key indicator. Her cash flow may feel healthy because she is generating strong sales, but if most of her payables are over 30 days, her feeling of prosperity may be short-lived.

Maya is a clothing manufacturer. She is heavily indebted to the bank. She calculates inventory on a cost basis for her bank although her inventory is stale and many seasons old.  A cost basis, in this case, is inadequate and providing a false sense of security to her bank and to herself. Aging her inventory is a much more reliable indicator of how likely the product is to sell and at what price it should be valued.

Rebecca is a social media strategist who has 10 regular monthly clients for whom she does weekly updates and provides content. She is uncertain about her ability to keep these clients as more and more people are buying their own small-business versions of Hootsuite and creating their own content complete with analytics. She knows her content is what sets her apart but do her clients? Her experience has shown that analytics are not useful unless they are tied to results and action points. Her Key Performance Indicator is her ability to turn posts, adjusting them as needed, into new followers who are potential customers. Demonstrating how she can increase the number of followers, her KPI, helps her show value for her service.

How do you determine what your KPIs are? What are the things you need to monitor to ensure you stay in business, prosper and grow?

Your accountant or business advisor can help.  But here are a few examples to get you thinking:

  • Sales

Are you generating new customers? Retaining existing customers? Those are easy KPIs but how about tracking the cost of new business development? You may be successful in getting new customers but at the expense of making money if your acquisition costs are too high. Maybe it’s better to keep existing customers happy and provide loyalty discounts.

  • Customer-Based

Do you have high customer satisfaction – speedy service, low rates of returns, repeat sales.  Amazon, the hugely successful e-tailer has bet everything on making customers happy and this is what drives their business. One way they know if customers are happy is to track employee productivity diligently – if a package is a day late because the employee is not meeting his/her target of sent packages, you have an unhappy customer. In this case, they have determined employee productivity (one of their many KPIs) can influence customer satisfaction (a notoriously hard factor to measure).

  • Financial

Cash flow is crucial for every business. Days to collect receivables or aging of inventory can both be powerful KPIs that impact cash flow.  What are the factors that influence your cash flow? Are you tracking them?

  • Human Resources

How productive your employees are may be crucial to your success. How quickly and effectively customer complaints are dealt with may affect future sales. High absenteeism due to sick leave may suggest a morale problem. What are the KPIs you use to track how well your people are doing and what does this information tell you about your business?

These are just a few examples.  To identify what’s significant for you, think about what is most important to your business. What are the factors that will warn you of potential problems or opportunities? Don’t settle for the obvious – think hard about indicators that will generate insight and results that are actionable.

Finally, once you have your KPIs, how can you make sure they are used effectively? They should be:

  1. Collaborative – people should know what you are tracking and why. Often solutions to problems come from unexpected sources;
  2. Meaningful – does what you are monitoring have the potential to impact your business;
  3. Understandable – have they been articulated in clear language;
  4. Time balanced – are you considering things that affect your business in the short term as well as in the long term.

By understanding and measuring your chosen key performance indicators, your business, like the diabetic who measures their blood sugar, is much more likely to have a long and healthy life.

Staff_dmooresDeborah Moores is NLOWE’s Business Growth Advisor for Avalon. Deborah was co-founder of one of Canada’s first Internet recruitment companies, founded in 1995 – yes, there was Internet back then – and knows first-hand of the challenges and rewards of starting and growing a business. 
If live in the Avalon region and you are interested in contacting Deborah regarding growing your business, please contact her at 1.888.NLOWE.11 or 709.754-5396, or by email: dmoores@nlowe.org

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Fitness Defined

Fitness. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you see/hear/read that word?

It’s a concept that has been distorted and overcomplicated through years and years of media propaganda, societal demands and expectations, and body shaming campaigns of so-called health and fitness professionals.

What is the FIRST thing you think of, when I say the word “fitness”

  •  “6 pack” abs?
  • Bodybuilder-type physique?
  • Marathon runners?
  • Someone who spends hours at the gym per day?

It is the mission of Metabolic Meltdown, to change this perception. To empower and educate people to understand that fitness is so much more than having a low body fat, and chiseled muscle.

I know, I know – just let me explain.

For the remainder of your reading right now, do me a favour.

Clean your slate. Empty your cup. Basically….open your mind. 

Fully open your mind to a new way of thinking. Allow yourself to forget everything that has been demanded of you, and impressed upon you in the world we live in, in terms of becoming fit.  

Instead, let us begin to view the concept of fitness as a complete, 360 degree approach. 

Fitness, you see, is a multi-faceted idea.

When my career in fitness began, It was a result of a deep down love for all things exercise, and in motivating, inspiring, and assisting others to become the best version of themselves. I can say with a whole heart that I am passionate about what I do, and I love every aspect of it.

BUT,  what if I told you that looking back now, I would not describe my early years in the fitness industry, as having successfully achieved “fitness” myself. 

I know, that sounds like I’m either being ridiculous, or I have a pretty low sense of self-worth. Many of you have seen professional photo shoots I have done over the years, in building our business. Those photos have showcased real decreases in body fat, significant muscle development over time, etc. And I worked hard to achieve all those things. I am absolutely not denying that they were the results of a lot of hard work in the gym. 

Knowing what I know now, however, I still wouldn’t describe those days as my “fittest”. 

Do you know why? 

Because back then, I was over training, and oftentimes, under eating. Always striving to become that 5-10 lbs leaner. I had a long list mentally, of “forbidden foods” that I would never even think of eating. I cut carbs, and sometimes worked out 3+ times per day. I was never really satisfied with any performance in the gym, or presentation in a photo, and never capable of gracefully receiving a compliment on any of those things. 

Also, for a period of that time, I was working hard to build a career in fitness. So, I was still working full time at my office work, and also working almost full time in the gym. On top of that, I had my beautiful baby boys at home, and my amazing husband. Not to mention my own workouts 1-2 times a day that HAD to get done. The obvious result of this piece of the puzzle, was lack of sleep, and therefore lack of self-care. 

I wasn’t spending the amount of time I wanted to spend with my family. I was spread pretty thin (no pun intended). 

Looking back, it was a combination of all these things that eventually set off alarms in my brain, and alerted me to the fact that this was far from the example of “health and fitness” that I wanted to set for my clients, my followers, my friends, my family. In fact, a lot of these trends I described above, border on disorderly eating, and exercise obsession. 

Was THIS what I wanted other people – other women, other wives, other mothers – to aspire to? On the outside –  I looked great! Lean, muscular, strong, The picture of fitness!

In actuality – over trained, under fed, exhausted, stressed, burning the candle at both ends…..the OPPOSITE of fitness!

MMslideshow

My partner in business and fitness, is Heidi Clowe. And she was my partner in the gym back then as well. Over a several month process, following similar paths and spending countless hours training and working together, we began confiding in each other. Our struggles with balance, and other personal things. We have so many similarities when it comes to the importance of family and friends and we both knew that somehow, somewhere in the mix of things, we were allowing our passion for exercise, hold us back from real fitness. 

It was as if a light bulb went off. An apparition of sorts. We knew how to train, training is top priority! We also knew what to eat, and when. And somewhere deep down inside, we also knew that enjoying big meals with family and friends was not only okay, but it is a major part of a balanced, happy, FIT life. 

So, we took our common philosophies, or common goals, or common dreams, wishes, and life’s desires, and we created a fitness business that for once, actually and completely, whole heartedly, focused on REAL fitness. Fitness of REAL life.

How do you do that, you ask? 

You ignite that passion for physical challenge, physical betterment, and physical development, and get the fun back into your workouts. 

On top of that, you begin to focus your nutrition on fuelling for performance, instead of tirelessly striving to rid your body of every ounce of body fat. 

The final piece of the puzzle is to add all the things that make you emotionally and mentally fit – and that comes from investing time and energy into cultivating the important relationships, with important people, in our lives. Time with loved ones is not, and never should be an expendable item.

Surround yourself with people who share the same zest for life – the love, support, and encouragement of family and friends, the willingness and eagerness to spread warmth and positivity. BE the type of person who goes out of their way, to bring a smile to someone else’s face.

Get out and explore. Live life. Take chances. Tell someone you love them. Reach out to a long-lost friend or family member. Volunteer. Pay compliments. Have deep, meaningful conversations. Develop a healthy relationship with food. Try new things. Let people see the REAL you.

My clients, friends, family, and followers have been with me every step of the way on this journey. Right now- I am stronger than ever.  How do I know this?

tankGillWell, for one, my deadlift, my bench press, and my squat, are the heaviest they have ever been. YAY! But more importantly – my marriage is the best it has ever been. My kids are as happy as they have ever been. My relationships with my parents, my siblings, my in-law family, and my friends, are better than ever. I am strong. A million times over, and in a million proud and happy ways, I am strong.

We, as a society, have spent decades following the “less is more,” “lose fat today,” “trim your waistline,”and “shed       unwanted pounds” approach to fitness.

Not only is that an unrealistic approach, but it is a dangerous and damaging approach, It is one that is setting up our children for guaranteed failure against the fabricated ideals of our society. 

Heidi and I, and everyone at Metabolic Meltdown (MM) are here to tell you that this is the end of that way of thinking. 

Done. Fini. Finito. Gone-zo. Over it! 

It’s time that we decided that instead of constantly trying to shrink, become smaller, be less than what we are today, that its time we become MORE. 

Become MORE. Do you hear that? MORE.

Gill&HeidiAnd the most rewarding experience of all, is that Heidi and I see a REAL shift in the perspectives of MM clients. 

When I first started to write this article, I posted in our MM Members Facebook group, and asked them what comes to mind when I say the word fitness. The responses almost brought me to tears. Because the reality of what we have created at MM, is that people are discovering what fitness actually is.

When we asked what was the first thing to come to mind when hearing/seeing the word “fitness” , here was what was said amongst the MM clientele:

  • 2 years ago: Scary. Today: my happy place”
  • “Feeling good, inside & out”
  • “Healthy results”
  • “Happiness”
  • “Goals, achievement, and support”
  • “My gift to myself”
  • “The ability to find a place where there is friendship and support and you will come to love and need fitness/workouts for both physical and mental health. And, when you can’t get to your workouts you really miss it!”

These days, I practice what I preach, with my entire heart and soul. So does Heidi, and every other Coach at MM.

I have achieved a higher level of “fitness” than ever before in my life. I am not saying that I do not have daily stress – I’m an entrepreneur, of course I do! But I now have a beautiful balance in my life. 

I workout every day. I always try to learn something new, and I always try to be as good a student as I am a teacher and motivator. I am always learning, and always interested to become MORE of me.

I have more family time than ever before. I deliver my kids to and from school each day, and we eat dinner as a family every night. All four of us have interests/hobbies/extra-curriculars, and we all support and encourage each other in those. 

I no longer stress about what I will eat, when invited out to dinner. I’m no longer “afraid” of certain foods, or any associated negative impacts to my body. 

I do not have to force myself to exercise. I keep it fun, and fresh, and it’s a highlight of my day, every day. 

Let’s properly fuel our bodies, and then push them to do MORE. Let’s ward off heart disease, diabetes, and other physical ailments through fuelling our body like the machine it is, and the gift we’ve been given. Let’s fight back against arthritis and osteoporosis through lifting weights (proven to retain bone density and joint mobility as we age). 

Do MORE. Be MORE. Be the biggest, baddest, healthiest, happiest, version of you, that you can possibly be. 

That, my friends, is Fitness

GillMMMom

Gill Whelan is a 35 year old MUN Alumni, having completed her Bachelor of Commerce Co-operative degree in 2003. After years of experience in Accounting in both oil and gas, and federal government,  Gill became certified as a fitness coach in 2009, and found her passion! In 2013, Gill, along with her business partner Heidi Clowe, took the entrepreneurial leap, and founded Metabolic Meltdown. Gill is happily married to her best friend and love of her life,  Peter, and they have two sons. Hunter age 6 and Pete, age 8.

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Experience St. John’s, NL

“Come get your duds in order, ‘cause we’re bound across the water” ……..to St. John’s, NL!  Come for the scenery; come for the culture; come for the business or pleasure; but above all, come for the unforgettable experience!  With its craggy shores, colourful houses, unique dialect, incredible hospitality – and our very own time zone –  this is a destination like no other, where you can enjoy old world pleasures in a world class city…..and the first sunrise in North America!

The beautiful capital city and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador have been growing in leaps and bounds over the past decade.  As the hub of activity for the Canadian off-shore petroleum industry, a leader in ocean technologies and an abundance of mineral resources, this once, virtually unknown city is now enjoying accolades and recognition all over the world.   Our beautiful urban city, with its cultural distinctiveness and huge arts community, is proud to be part of a thriving tourist industry and on more ‘bucket lists’ than Henry and Liza!

With our state-of-the-art meeting and convention facilities, surrounded by the oldest city in North America, St. John’s has quickly become a much sought after business destination from not just other provinces in Canada, but from other countries.  As corporations are quickly jumping on the destination bandwagon to ensure their conference and convention attendees enjoy maximum appreciation, they are also looking towards locations that offer an extensive array of activities that are accessible and enjoyable.  They know we fit the bill, but where do you start?

Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism, Destination St. John’s and the city website all offer up-to-date information and resources.  Another great resource, to get you heading in the right direction, is a destination management company.  These companies provide a personalized, individual-oriented array of business and leisure services for those looking for a unique and unforgettable Newfoundland experience.  With extensive local knowledge and expertise, they offer all the resources necessary to ensure that your destination event is a major success.  They also have the unique ability to combine business and pleasure so that your journey doesn’t end when the emcee walks off the stage. Destination management companies are the wish granters.

Historic and diverse, St. John’s abounds in amazing architecture, museums, galleries and theatre, wonderful vintage stores, luxury shops, upscale gourmet dining and home-cooked comfort – and everything in between.  Shuttles, tours, charters, whale watching, ice-berg spotting, scenic walking trails, festivals and a host of other activities throughout the city and surrounding areas create engagement and enthusiasm to ensure your ‘experience’ is above and beyond your expectations.

So, whether you decide to have a gawk around town, go up along shore, hang out for a ‘scoff and a scuff’, or simply relax and enjoy the serenity and the beauty of this majestic old city we call home, you’ll be wrapped in warmth and hospitality from the moment you arrive.

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador…..where the hardest thing to do is to leave!

 

joy-moyles2

Joy Moyles is the President & Creative Director of Grand Productions, an events company that plans, designs, executes and manages both destination and local events here in St. John’s, NL.  She can be reached at 709-341-7034 or through www.grandproductions.ca.

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Greetings from Anna Olson

Spring is just starting to show itself, and I find this time of year inspiring for its newness – it’s a perfect time to consider a fresh start, even more than at New Year’s!  In fact, I look at every day as a fresh start and that can mean different things depending on the day. Perhaps it’s about getting that bit of exercise in, reorganizing your work schedule for the summer, or simply cleaning out the junk drawer or writing thank you notes.

As we use our support systems within the community and within each of us, we are taking steps to set ourselves up for success.  In understanding ourselves within, how we project ourselves to the world becomes an authentic expression and hardly feels like an effort. That sense of self, and of self as a brand can then evolve and grow as you do.

I look forward to sharing my story, visiting with you and getting to know you.  Cheers to inspiration and a BIG cheers to spring!

 

Anna_Olson_hirez1

 Anna Olson
 Entrepreneur & Host of Bake with Anna Olson
 2015 NLOWE Conference Keynots

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Lessons Learned From Pitching The Dragons

 

LizradzickLiz Radzick
Professional Coach & President of Manifest Consulting
2015 NLOWE Conference Speaker.

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The Energy Habits of High-Performing Women

ENERGY. When was the last time you stopped to think about what it actually does for you? I’m not talking about the energy that fuels your home or vehicle, I’m talking about big picture personal energy: the force that fuels you – physically, emotionally, mentally – in all you have to do. When you’ve got lots of energy you feel as if you could move mountains, and you don’t really think about the source that’s driving that productivity, do you? It’s when we have none that we become more aware of the essential role energy plays in our success. FACT: If you’re running your own business you can’t afford to be low on energy.

As a professional speaker, health expert, and high-performance coach I’ve spent the past 20 years speaking to audiences across Canada, coaching clients from all walks of life, and educating people about health, happiness, life balance and success. Over the years I’ve identified commonalities among the high-performers I’ve met, interviewed and coached; energy habits that make them standouts in everything they do. In my Thursday morning session at NLOWE 2015 I will share them with you. I’ll be answering questions like:

  • Which morning ritual will set you up for high-performance success like no other?
  • What do high-performers say is the ultimate key to time-management and focus?
  • What do women need to be aware of in their quest for high-performance that our male counterparts typically do not?

We’ll also talk about setting clear intentions for your business, protecting your time, and optimizing your energy so you can set yourself up for business success like never before.

Wait to see what happens when you identify all the factors that energize you mentally, physically and emotionally, and then create habits to integrate them into your daily routine. I believe that if you embrace the energy habits of high-performing women you show up as a leader and strive for success in all you do. You take on bigger challenges, and better manage stress. You find ways to take care of yourself – mind, body and spirit. You feel great about yourself and your capabilities. As an entrepreneur, how would that change your business?

I’m thrilled to be your Thursday morning workshop presenter, sharing The Energy Habits of High-Performing Women. I’ll talk about all of this and more, I’ll have my books and other great resources on hand, we’ll laugh a lot, and you’ll gain ideas and inspiration to help you on your energetic path to career growth in 2015 and beyond.

2014_hirezMichelle Cederberg, MKin, BA Psyc
Workplace Energy Expert, High-Performance Coach

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Eating 9-5!

We are all well aware that poor diet is a contributing factor to chronic disease. Lifestyle and dietary changes can help prevent up to 75% of chronic diseases, including the major contributors here in Newfoundland and Labrador, like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Chronic disease is not only a burden to the individual living with it, but it can create a financial burden for families and workplaces as well. Medical expenses and increased work-related costs associated with disability, sick leave, decreased productivity and insurance, are a few of those increased costs. In the workplace, chronic disease of employees has been associated with increased absenteeism, reduced employee performance, increased injury, as well as increased prescription drug and medical costs.

Nutrition interventions in the workplace can work to improve health outcomes. That said, eating at work can be challenging. Workplaces can present many hurdles to eating well such as frequent celebrations like birthdays and retirements, food-filled meetings, after work cocktails, Friday fast food lunches and common area treats (Who hasn’t thought to bring the extra cake/pie/box of chocolates into work to get rid of the ‘extras’?). It’s no surprise that research shows when treat-type foods are close by at work, people are more likely to eat them. Plentiful, tempting treats in plain sight, coupled with an environment of colleagues enjoying them, creates a tasty situation that’s hard for even the most diligent of healthy eating enthusiasts to resist, myself included.

So what’s a workplace to do? Make a company commitment to make healthy eating a priority, while enlisting the help of a registered dietitian. Dietitians use food as medicine and specialize in working with individuals and groups to improve eating habits and address nutritional needs to improve health outcomes. In fact, it’s been shown that structured dietitian-led interventions can make a difference to health by helping to reduce the risk of those above mentioned chronic diseases. To be exact, reducing the risk to develop type 2 diabetes by up to 60%, lowering heart disease risk by lowering blood pressure, improving cholesterol levels by up to 10%, and improving healthy eating behaviours to increase vegetable, fruit and fibre intake and decrease fat intake. Working with dietitians can also help to create healthier workplaces by helping companies cut costs on employee health insurance plans by over 34%, decrease disability days by 87%, and reduce health-related lost productivity by 64%.

March is national nutrition month, and no better time to get focused on improving food choices from 9-5. Interested in making your workplace a healthier one? Advocate for healthy eating environments that include supports such as wellness events like lunch n’ learns, health fairs and contests, or nutrition counselling (does your workplace insurance cover this benefit? If not, ask for it!). Host healthier choices in workplace cafeterias and vending machines. Serve better food choices at meetings and work related events. Get a group together to organize a healthy lunch club and share recipes. Ask for adequate eating places and enough time to eat or take an activity break (as we know sitting is the new smoking, so it’s equally important to be active and eat well!).

If you are interested in getting your hands on some complimentary nutrition month handouts with information on healthy breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for your workplace just drop me an email at info@recipeforhealth.ca. For more ideas on making your workplace a healthier one, you can also follow me on twitter @DietitianRecipe for fresh ideas every day in March.

 

2013_Awards_Amanda_BurtonAmanda Burton, MSc, RD is a registered dietitian with Recipe for Health, a nutrition counselling and consulting practice in St. John’s. For more information on the services we provide visit www.recipeforhealth.ca. Registered dietitian services are frequently covered through private healthcare insurances.

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Five Lessons Learned Growing Up in Labrador

Growing up in North West River (NWR) Labrador, into a ‘trapping” family, I got to learn some wonderful life skills that I have been able to pass on to clients.  What we learned was ‘hands – on,’ taught to us by our family and friends.

North West River was the health and education centre for most of Labrador.  The school, and 52 bed hospital were run by the International Grenfell Association (IGA); educators and medical staff came from all over the USA and Britain.

Each spring when the ‘schooners’ (later the  Kyle) came to NWR  we would get a  barrel of second-hand clothes from our cousins from Brigus, my mother’s home, and from  Mount Pearl.  We were very lucky because clothes could only be brought from the Eaton’s catalogue and could take months to arrive (plus, the Eaton’s catalogue had other purposes once it was scanned over.)  Mom was an expert seamstress and she could whip up a jacket, pants, dress, from those clothes in a matter of days!  I was very nosey and wanted to learn everything from her.  I spent hours at the kitchen table watching and helping her.  She was very particular, which taught me patience and the importance of ‘doing it right.’  I was also very clumsy and managed to lose a mitt every few days in the school out house… so night after night I would sit up and watch Mom knit a mitt to match the one I lost!  She could click those needles way into the night, under a dim lit oil lamp, making socks, mittens and sweaters.  My knitting skills were honed at a very young age, especially when I received cracks on the knuckles if I missed stitches or tried to cover up mistakes.

Lesson #1:

Making mistakes, I learnt many years later, can affect a client’s success, so I am very careful to give accurate and timely advice.

I also loved dropping in on anyone who was doing crafts.  Ms. Blake was bedridden as a teen, but she could knit and crochet the most beautiful things.  I dropped in many times so that she could show me how to make doll and baby clothes.  Mrs. Groves and Aunt Annie were experts at embroidery.  They showed me all the wonderful steps to this beautiful art and I won many prizes later on for my duffel and Grenfell cloth work.

My twin sister and I were expected to help people around us.  One lady wanted some help with cleaning.  They were big into the salmon fishery so this Saturday I was told to scrub the BIG kitchen while she helped with the salmon.  Before closing the door she yelled back –“now Katherine, use lots of elbow grease” – come lunch time I had everything out of the cupboards and when Mrs. Michelin asked what I was doing, because the floor was not yet touch, I replied, “I can’t find the elbow grease!”

Lesson #2:

Oh boy, from then on I learnt to not waste time and ‘just ask’…”what do you mean?”  There is nothing wrong with asking questions, and when going into business, you should ask every question in the book.  I promise, it will save a lot of grief later down the road!

My father was a very successful trapper who despised the Hudson’s Bay Company because they kept many of his fellow trappers indebted to them year after year.  My father had an entrepreneurial spirit.  I always felt that trappers and fisher people were entrepreneurs before we knew the meaning of the word.  Although he did not have a high education he read everything he could get his hands on.  He wrote lovely letters to his sisters and Mom.  His grandmother and great grandmother wrote books about their life in Labrador.  And so I too love to write!  I have written two successful plays for the Carol Players Drama Group, winning both writing and acting awards.

Some years ago I was asked to write a skit and perform for Queen Elizabeth II.  Talk about stress!  But, I finished it and got it approved and when the Queen came to visit NWR, myself and a guy, performed it.  The pay was based on the Queen coming to our small little community and my character was trying to make my ‘old man’ presentable.  It worked!  Before her arrival, I was coached on how to greet the Queen; only lightly shake her hand – Did I say ‘lightly’?  I was so darn excited I grabbed her hand and gave a mighty shake.  I am a nut for royalty!

Lesson #3

Find something you are passionate about in your personal and professional life and foster it. Passion is key to success, and who knows, it might even result in your meeting the Queen of England!

I have been, and continue to be very lucky throughout my life.   I have never ever stopped learning. I have worked at IOC, Century 21, the Labrador Inuit Association, Health Canada and ACOA.  All of those positions allowed me to travel, learn and meet wonderful amazing people.  Six years ago I retired… and four days later, came to work for NLOWE as Business Start-Up Advisor in Labrador.  I may be one of the oldest NLOWE Advisors but don’t write me off or get that shovel to start diggin’…I am still very active and loving every minute of my job.

Labrador is no stranger to me.  I have been to every corner of Labrador via dog team, plane, boat, helicopter, skidoo and have taken so much from every visit and meeting.  You learn respect, and appreciation.  You learn to listen.

Lesson #4

Listening is so important in business and in life. The best way to improve you communication skills is to improve learn to listen because only then can you understand perspectives, and the wants and needs of others.

What an amazing ride I’ve had!  Helping women get into business has been the icing on the cake.  What I have learnt throughout my life has helped me in every step of the way working with NLOWE.  I consider myself a sponge, taught so much; by so many, that I want to use my knowledge to help women start successful businesses, big or small.

My incredible journey, would not have happened without wonderful parents who taught me so much, family and friends who put up with my nosiness, and having co-workers who have never let me down.

And, none of it would be so enjoyable without my amazing and exciting clients!

Lesson #5

Find ways to keep life fun, and surround yourself with wonderful people!

Staff-KatherineBaikie-Pottle

Katherine Baikie-Pottle is NLOWE’s Business Start-up Advisor for Labrador. Katherine has written award-winning plays and even performed one of her skits for the Queen.
If you are interested in contacting Katherine regarding a start-up in Labrador or would like to learn more, please contact her at 709.497.8446 or 1.888.896.8494, or by email: kbaikiepottle@nlowe.org

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Delivering the Perfect Pitch

#nlowetipsIf you follow NLOWE on Twitter, you may have noticed our #nlowetips hashtag. A few times a week, we send out #nlowetips tweets to provide you with advice we have picked up either from attending professional development events, or from listening to the women business owners we have met along the way. Recently, we tweeted the following #nlowetip: “Remember the Cs when delivering your business pitch: clear, concise, conversational, and confident. #nlowetips”

Before we dig in a little further on this, let’s backtrack a little. Did you attend the 2014 NLOWE Conference? (Or, as we call it on Twitter, the #nloweconf.) If you did, you might remember that we held our inaugural edition of the Pitch Competition. The Pitch featured three selected women entrepreneurs chosen from a number of video submissions, who then delivered their pitches on stage at the NLOWE Conference in St. John’s. After they presented their pitches, conference delegates chose the winner. Whether or not you remember the Pitch Competition, we have some good news for you today: we will be hosting the second edition of the Pitch Competition at the 2015 #nloweconf in Corner Brook!

The Pitch logo

To get you ready and prepared for this competition, here is some advice on crafting and delivering the perfect pitch.

  • Be CLEAR – When delivering a pitch, you need to make sure you leave no basic questions unanswered: who you are, what your business is named, where you are located, who you sell to, and what you sell. It’s important to clearly describe how your business operates without getting too confusing, and without rambling.
  • Be CONCISE – Since a good pitch is delivered within 15-30 seconds, and you’re expected to include a lot of information (see above), you have to make every single word count. When you’re coming up with your best pitch, try a few draft pitches, and then take the best, most concise sentences and add them to your final. By practicing your pitch in advance, you will learn what terms come naturally to you, and what phrases you are comfortable in saying. It’s also important to remember that not everyone you meet will be an expert in your field of business – try to avoid jargon or terms used specifically within your industry, and instead, use words that everyone can understand and relate to.
  • Be CONVERSATIONAL – A good sales pitch will leave your audience wanting to know even more about you and your business. Adding a tip, a fact, or a “did you know” somewhere in your pitch can lead to a conversation when you’ve finished your delivery. Conversational pitches are great for networking events. They serve as an icebreaker and a potential conversation continuer as well.
  • Be CONFIDENT – This may be the most important piece when it comes to the delivery of your pitch. Confidence is key! Make eye contact. Stand up straight and tall. Don’t fold or cross your arms; instead, open up your body and use your hands when you speak. Enunciate your words. Speak clearly. These are all ways to convey your confidence to your listeners.

A sales pitch is a great tool to have in your business arsenal. Having a well-rehearsed and customized sales pitch in your back pocket is a great way to introduce yourself in any situation where you would need to describe your business, and it’s a great way to boost your confidence in settings where you might feel uncomfortable. At NLOWE, we often hear our clients and members say that they dislike networking events because they are too shy or they are not fans of small talk. With your pitch ready to go, you already have your ice breaker, and if you phrase your pitch in the right way, you’ll also be in charge of the conversation going forward, and you can steer it in whichever direction you please.

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If you are interested in participating in the NLOWE Pitch Competition 2015, visit www.nlowe.org/thepitch for more details on submission requirements and important deadlines.

NLOWE Advisors are well-trained in the art of perfecting the pitch, so please don’t hesitate to contact your advisor if you would like some help crafting yours today!

Staff-Melissa-WheelerMelissa Wheeler is NLOWE’s Business Connections Coordinator. Business Connections groups are free of charge and open to women business owners in Newfoundland and Labrador who are ready to explore or are currently selling business-to-business. Groups typically consist of 4-10 businesswomen.
If you are interested in participating in the Business Connections program or would like to learn more, please contact Melissa at 709.754.5538

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