chicceo's blog

18 Dec 2013 Written by chicceo In

Put The Weight On The Gain

Recently, I was introduced to the behavioral psychology and economic work of Daniel Kahneman, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, and I am now officially obsessed.

His most recent book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, eloquently describes his theories behind our decision making, noting the incredible amount of error our minds output everyday based upon the heuristics we've grown up with or that society has blessed. 

Reading an interview with him today, he said something very simple that really struck me as we all head into the new year. He said, " important source of bad decisions is loss aversion, by which we put far more weight on what we may lose than on what we may gain. Advisors are likely to give us advice in which gains and losses are treated more neutrally—they are more likely to adopt a broad and long-term view of our problem, less likely than the affected individual to be swayed by the fears and hopes of the moment."

Risk aversion and loss aversion (to me) go hand in hand and describe exactly the paralyzing fear we go through when embarking on an entrepreneurial journey. There are some of us that aren't averse to risk and some of us that literally never step out for fear of loss. 

A simple shift in perspective here is all that might be needed if the thought of working for yourself causes you to double over in anxiety. 
11 Dec 2013 Written by chicceo In

Chic Interview with Anna Swonetz

We had the great pleasure of working with Anna Swonetz of anna bee jewelry and Swan + Saxon for our SxSW V2V event we put on in Vegas this year. We were also lucky enough to get a Swan + Saxon custom bracelet into the swag bags that we gave away to VIP's at the event and people could not stop talking about them. The jewelry and design is just beautiful.

We recently also had the opportunity to chat with Anna about her entrepreneurial journey:

18 Nov 2013 Written by chicceo In

Dream Big America & Chic CEO

November 18, 2013
San Diego-based Chic CEO Joins Fellow Partners Kauffman Foundation and Nutrition Capital Network to Promote Entrepreneurship and Highlight Female Business Startups
08 Nov 2013 Written by chicceo In

How To Retain Your Customers

Did you know that retaining 5% of your customers can lead to a 30% increase in profits? 
31 Oct 2013 Written by chicceo In

Amex Open Forum: When To Fire Your Customers

"When we started the company we were struggling. We started understanding that we had the wrong customer." - Avi Wazana

In the video When To Fire Your Customers 
featured on the American Express Inside Successful Small Business Series, Avi Wazana describes how he let go of his best customers. This is something that not many people talk about but we have definitely experienced at Chic CEO. Firing a customer is a very harsh way of saying that it's not a good fit and that is one of the most important things you can do for your business. It's vital that you understand what it is that your company provides and to whom. 
Here's are two different scenarios that we experienced:
1) A advertiser that was not the right fit. When Chic CEO was first conceptualized, we believed that advertisers would provide the main source of revenue and fuel the fabulous content that we provide so we were hungry to find advertisers that were interested. In that hunt - we overlooked a big issue. We have two customers, you - our community and the advertisers and we need to satisfy both in order to have a successful, scalable business. One of our biggest advertisers and one that we worked the hardest to land, turned out to be wrong for our community and in turn, we had to sever the relationship - man, that was a really hard decision, especially because they were helping to pay the bills. Looking back it was the right decision for sure!
2) Believe it or not, Chic CEO is not right for everyone. I know - shocking! But seriously, we know who we intend to serve with our content, tools, resources and events and we speak directly to them (you). If we are able to create that bond that we try to create by offering the right mix of products right when our community needs them, we've hit the nail on the head and we get really happy about that. However - we have heard from some women that weren't connecting with what we were putting out there and in those circumstances we had to really weigh if they were our target market and we should be making drastic changes or if they were the minority. In the case that these few were not satisfied we had to open the door for them to exit gracefully instead of trying to satisfy their needs beyond the scope of what Chic CEO offers. 
30 Oct 2013 Written by chicceo In

Amex Open Forum: Always Be Open To New Ideas

"There's not only one way to do something and if you're stuck in that rut of 'this is the way we do it, and this is the only way we do it' you won't be successful" - Benjamin Grossman
In the video, Always Be Open To New Ideas, featured on the American Express Inside Successful Small Business Series, Benjamin Grossman and Craig Samuals, owners of B&C Restaurant Group believe that they have something to learn from everyone in their company. Their example of cutting tomatoes is a great lesson on allowing the people around you to innovate. 
Being open to the ideas offered up by others is how they've been a successful team so far, cut costs, cut labor time and maintained a thriving business. 
If we pay attention to the people and things around us, we will start to notice little efficiencies that tend to pop up while doing menial tasks. Finding new ways to sort inventory, file emails, organize events and even cut tomatoes can result in big impacts for your business' bottom line. 

In addition, it's great to figure out ways to add in double checks so that you don't have to back track when a simple mistake is made. With Chic CEO we have at least 2 people look at every important piece of communication that goes out so that links are correct, images are fine, and misspellings are caught. Little mistakes like that can lead to duplication of work, upset clients and lost productivity. 

Take some time to evaluate new ways of doing things, of asking friends in completely different industries how they might handle a certain task - do some research.  You might find that you are able to do things faster, smarter and for less money than if you had stuck to how you've always done it. 
30 Oct 2013 Written by chicceo In

YOU-Training by Brandon Hawk

Brandon Hawk, a member of our Brain Trust, will be holding an event in Dallas on Nov 8-10! If you are in the Dallas area, you definitely don't want to miss this!

30 Oct 2013 Written by chicceo In

Amex Open Forum: Relationship Marketing

"Relationship Marketing has to be from the heart and has to be real. Those people will come back to you and help your business grow." - Isabella Hewitt
In the video Using Relationship Marketing, featured on the American Express Inside Successful Small Business series, Isabella Hewitt runs a retail shop called The Spot. As she describes in her video, she tried magazines, newspapers, the Internet, social media and more. Relationship marketing is her best tool. By building a relationship with her customers, she found it to be the most effective way to retain them. 

Almost everything we do in business has to do with creating relationships - that's why getting referrals is so important. Entire industries like real estate or insurance are powered by referrals. Referrals are an extension of building strong relationships with your current customers.

So how can you build strong relationships with your customers? Isabella recommends finding out what is the most important thing in their life at the moment and recognize it. More marketing isn't always the answer, she says, it's the impact you are making in their life with relationship building.

Sending flowers, notes, remembering birthdays - these are small gestures that ultimately foster and create a great relationship with your customer. 

What’s one lesson you’re learned as either a business owner or aspiring entrepreneur? Share your response with us using #sharingadvice on Twitter or Facebook!

sponsored by American Express
28 Oct 2013 Written by chicceo In

Amex Open Forum: If It's Not Working, Change It

In the video If Your Business Isn't Working, Change It featured on the American Express Inside Successful Small Business series, Angela Jia Kim provides some really key insights in her quick video about changing the plan. I’m very familiar with the resilience and innovation that is constantly necessary in order to run a successful business. There has never been a successful business that has not made changes to fit market and customer demand. It’s something that is very seldom talked about however.
When you are just starting out people either say that “you absolutely have to have a business plan” or they say “I never had a business plan and did just fine.” But the truth is that every business has a plan whether it’s written out or just in the entrepreneur’s head. I happen to be a fan of creating an actual business plan, at least in the form of an outline so that you have direction.
Our business changes constantly and as the owners of the company, it is our responsibility to react, reiterate and respond but even more importantly is to look ahead and try to anticipate the needs in order to plan. That’s the plan that is most important. Having direction keeps things in focus so that when opportunities arise, you have a filter to run the opportunities through.
We ask successful entrepreneurs all the time to talk to us about their mistakes, successes and learnings. Inevitably they all include a pivot or a time when they had to change their plan. Often the changes they make – take their businesses in very different directions than they ever originally intended. Just like Angela’s change from just creating a skin care line to creating a spa, she listened to what her customers wanted and in turn, found a brand new channel in which she could sell her skin care products.
27 Oct 2013 Written by chicceo In

10 Ways to Improve Your Board Meetings


A VC who is a veteran of hundreds of board meetings explains how to make sure yours aren’t a waste of time.

By Rachel Pike (Senior Associate, Draper Fisher Jurvetson)


A great VC is four things: a fundraiser, a manager, a deal-spotter, and a board member.  At DFJ we learn by doing. As part of my training for role #4, I’ve been to almost two hundred board meetings. Some were productive and energetic, and some were a waste of time. What was the difference?

25 Oct 2013 Written by chicceo In

Exclusive Brand Personality Workshop in Orange County

Partner Update

Hi ladies!
We have a special announcement to share with you...Michelle Ghilotti, owner of MGI, a branding, coaching and empowerment agency for women and one of our most recent partners, will be in Huntington Beach, CA on November 15th (10-2pm) to teach an eight-woman BRAND PERSONALITY workshop she likes to call the "anti-workshop".

24 Oct 2013 Written by chicceo In

Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988

Partner Update

 Women Entrepreneurs Mark 25th Anniversary
of the Passage of the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988
Washington, D.C - October 25th marks the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988 in the United States. The legislation, designated as H.R. 5050 – for the equality it set out to establish – was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.
16 Oct 2013 Written by chicceo In

Amex Open Forum: You Can't Always Do It All

I hear busy entrepreneurs say things all the time like “Instead of getting a bookkeeper, I'll just enter everything into Quickbooks myself” or “I’ll just save the money I would have spent on a designer and use Photoshop to create an ad.” But, when it comes down to it, they spend so much more time than what the project is worth.
In the video, You Can't Always Do It All featured on the American Express Inside Successful Small Business series, Jessica was so right that it’s a fallacy that time is money. Time is not money. In fact one of my favorite quotes by Carl Sandburg is: “Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”
What I interpret the quote to mean and what Jessica said are the same. Your time is more important than money for precisely the fact that you cannot make more of it even though time is often spent as if it were money.
As a busy entrepreneur with limited financial resources it seems intuitive that you can just save costs by doing the work yourself. No one said it was going to be easy, right? But, you know what  - you can’t do it all. And if you think that you can – you will drive yourself crazy because there’s always more to be done.
16 Oct 2013 Written by chicceo In

Insurance is Sexy

Wait, what? Oh you heard me, hot stuff. 

Business owners rarely stop to assess their need for insurance because they don't think that it's as sexy as all of the other areas of their business. I'm here to tell you - that's just not the case, sister.
• What's sexier than peace of mind? If you own a retail shop, go into other people's homes to work with them, or you are just a general consultant - having business insurance will give you some reassurance that you are doing what's right for you and your clients. 
• What's sexier than being protected? We use seatbelts, sunscreen, knee pads, etc. We protect ourselves so that we live longer, live healthier, and look better. Your business deserves that too!! Getting insurance is like sunscreen for your business. Use it everyday. 
• What's sexier than buying shoes? Insurance isn't that expensive and leaves you more money to buy shoes. Simple. 
Get sexy - get insurance for your biz. Our friends at KTL Business Insurance are so excited to help you find the best way to insure your biz so you are totally protected. JUST GET A QUOTE so you see what I mean - it's affordable and you'll feel so much better. 
Now go break in those new shoes. 

27 Sep 2013 Written by chicceo In

The Tory Burch Foundation, Goldman Sachs and You...

Guest Post

The Tory Burch Foundation and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses are partnering with Los Angeles City College and Long Beach City College to provide an extraordinary entrepreneurship and management education opportunity for a select group of qualified, early-stage, women-owned small businesses in Southern California, beginning in January 2014. Deadline to apply: November 4, 2013. Classes will be delivered at Los Angeles City College's Van de Kamp Campus.
Women who own a small business open at least one year, with a minimum of $25,000 in revenue, at least one additional employee and a commitment to growth are encouraged to apply.

27 Sep 2013 Written by chicceo In

Protect Yourself from Facebook Social Ads Using your Pictures

Partner Post from Geek Girl

Gone are the days when Facebook used to have to ask you for permission to use any of your pictures for advertising and all you needed to do was give them this permission merely by opting-in to the program.

And unless you knew, and you opposed this and knew how to opt-out, then chances are you are probably in danger of having Facebook use your own pictures in what they call “Social Ads”.
The way Social Ads on Facebook works is based on relevancy; say you like Unicorn Meat. Facebook knows you like Unicorn Meat so what they will do is show an ad to your friends on Facebook with your picture on it tricking your friends to believe it’s got to be good if you like it.
13 Sep 2013 Written by chicceo In

DNA of an American Entrepreneur

A recent study by Hiscox reveals some interesting data...

DNA of an American Entrepreneur: Hiscox study reveals challenges and triumphs
Half of US small business owners are optimistic for new year with compelling differences between male and female small business owners.

 • More responding U.S. small business owners (50%) are optimistic about the coming year than they were in 2011 (45%), however optimism is down from 2012 (55%).
 • Over the last 12 months, male small business owners reported 5% more growth in both revenues and new customers than their female counterparts, with 50% of male small business owners reporting revenue growth and 57% reported new customer growth.
 • 34% of male small business owners worked on average between 40 to 49 hours per week, while female small business owners (also 34%) were most likely to work an average of 29 hours or less per week.
 • Women are using social media for a variety of business reasons, whereas men use social media tools primarily for hiring and recruiting. While the popularity of social media has made it a valuable recruiting tool, as those who have an MA in Industrial and Organizational Psychology have noted, you must be careful when using it in this manner. When hiring, some candidates might be turned off if they discover that you have screened them through social media, as it feels like an invasion of privacy. At the same time, conducting this screening could reduce your risk, since you will have an idea of each candidate’s lifestyle before making a hire.
 • Despite the mainstream popularity of crowd funding, over 90% of male and female small business owners have not considered it as a funding option.

11 Sep 2013 Written by chicceo In

Women-Owned Business Certification

Women-owned businesses have seen significant growth over the past quarter century, and there are no signs of slowing up as women-owned businesses continue to outpace the national average of business growth. With  this influx of business, obtaining women-owned business certifications is becoming increasingly important for companies looking to distinguish themselves and achieve a competitive advantage. Additionally, women-owned businesses can see a jump in sales, as large corporations and government agencies allocate portions of their business dealings specifically for women-owned companies. This prospective business is not easily handed out though, as companies must endure an arduous application and approval process to become certified as a Women Business Enterprise (WBE), Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB), or 8(a) Business Development Program participant. The investment involved in becoming certified though is well worth it, as the certifications can be the final consideration in closing a deal on new business. Simply put, women-owned businesses that meet the certification criteria cannot afford to pass up this golden opportunity.

Our friends at Top Floor Legal have prepared a White Paper on the topic. 

09 Sep 2013 Written by chicceo In

Curating Customer Service

Feedback (good or bad) can come from a million different sources these days - Facebook, email, Twitter, Yelp, blog comments, and on, and on… Getting your customer's issues resolved when they reach out to you via a multitude of channels can be really difficult and time consuming. 

Chic CEO has recently partnered with Deskero - a robust traditional help desk software but with a difference: it is proactive.

By bringing messages from Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social networks together with email and telephone messages - you are able to expand the number of customers you reach. Customers can submit help tickets via a simple ticketing system to get their issue resolved before they take it to a public forum. Just install a simple widget on your site and you're off and running. 

Deskero even has a knowledge base that your customers can use to search for answers to their questions. Enter a few of the questions most frequently asked by customers, along with your responses to those questions and upload additional files such as images, demos, or screenshots. Customers can resolve their issues from within your knowledge base.

One of my favorite features? Deskero compiles all of your customer's data and convos then complies them into a really beautiful graphical report. There are 20 templates to choose from. 

We're so excited to have Deskero as a new partner! Sign up for free - and start putting your customer's feedback to work for you!! 
Here a the promo code you can use for any of their services:      
*this is for a 50% discount for six months for any plan. Expires 10/31/13



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