Fall Fashion Forecast – Business Women's Guide to Fashion

As we enter the Fall Season, business women should embrace a new, fun and exciting style for professional success. Fall is a great time to try deep and earthy colors. It is also good to mix and match patterns to create a style of your own. There are many trends that have fallen into this season but we think there are three in particular that are worth holding onto for a chic, comfortable and creative style.

Listed below are New Fall Trends that every business woman should incorporate into her professional wardrobe.

Lace

Lace is such a romantic and soft fabric that works well with materials such as cotton, rayon, wool and silk. Lace is also appropriate for the workplace when matched with complimentary styles and looks. Lace is no longer restricted to the black and white colors. Women are buying lace tops and blouses in deep rich colors such as purple, blue, brown and navy. Women can pair these lace tops with fitted suit jackets for a formal appeal. Or they can pair the lace tops with cardigans and v-neck sweaters for a soft layering affect. Lace can also easily move from the office to the lounge for an after work cocktail or networking event. This stylish material is not just limited to clothes, designers are incorporating lace in purses and handbags. Lace is also a wonderful material for shoes and other accessories.

Vests

This is the season that women are making fashion investments in their professional wardrobe. Vests which were inspired from the 60's are coming back in style in a mighty way. Whether they are cropped, fitted, one button or three buttons, women are pairing them with nice slacks and a button down shirt. Vests have a slight menswear appeal which adds a subtle edge to a woman's outfit. Vest looks dynamic with skirts to add a more feminine appeal. Skirts can be full, a-line or high at the waist. This season, vests are being made in different colors and fabrics and adding more variety to the classic wardrobe. Women can expect to find vests hot for this season and we think it might spill into the Spring Forecast.

Wide Leg Pants

Wide leg pants are becoming more and more popular and can be worn by almost any body type. We recommend that women get their pants tailored to properly fit their body proportions for creating a smooth and sophisticated silhouette. Wide leg pants were a hit in the 70's are now being mirrored by the younger generation. Wide leg pants look great with a fitted blouse or sweater or fitted jacket to create a balanced look. They should also be paired with heels or shoes with a height or platform to create a longer and leaner look.

Lace + Vest + Wide Leg Pants

A great combination for the fall is all three of these hot styles in one! A lace top with a fitted vest and wide leg pants will be a great business casual …

Why Are HostGator Coupons Ideal For A New Online Business

You want to find a HostGator coupon to save money on your hosting, correct? But what if you could get more than the actual discount. The best HostGator coupons offer so much more, especially for a new online business. The hardest thing you will face when you start your new online business would be the marketing aspect. Its certainly not easy to drive traffic to a website if you have no experience.

First of all, you can use a HostGator coupon such as: blogoffers

This will offer you a $9.94 discount on your first invoice or you could order the baby monthly plan and get your first month for 1 cent. This is one of the most popular coupons and will save you enough money to buy a domain name.

There are many webmasters that have a partnership with HostGator and offer extra services such as search engine optimisation and other free advertising bonuses, just for using a specific coupon. This is due to HostGator paying the webmaster for each signup through the specific coupon.

This means that if you signup to HostGator through a partner, you can get more targeted traffic to your new website, at no extra cost. After all, your more than likely going to sign up to HostGator anyway, so why dont you get an extra bonus package for doing the same thing.

Its always best to take full advantage of specific services related to HostGator and the coupons as you need all the help you can get when promoting the site online. This gives you the boost that you would need from day 1 and the targeted traffic you get as a bonus may land you your first sale. Some webmasters will also offer live support when using their coupons to help you get your website up and running.

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Introduce Your Business to New Clients With a Corporate Gift Basket

Giving corporate gift baskets to potential clients is a good way to make a long-lasting positive impression. This gesture shows that your business is invested in its clients and wants to go that extra mile to make sure they’re happy.

The gift baskets you give do not have to be super expensive or large. In fact, a corporate gift basket like that could make the recipient feel awkward, and we don’t want that. gifts containing alcoholic items are also probably best left alone; if your recipient doesn’t imbibe, this renders the basket useless. The same goes for baskets obviously aimed towards a certain gender, such as a basket filled with frilly pink spa items. The best way to go is to opt for small to medium sized corporate gift baskets filled with goodies anyone could use, such as candies, desk supplies, or baked goods.

A great way to draw a client to your business even more is to include some items with your company’s logo on them. Don’t go overboard with huge logos that obscure the entire object; a modestly-sized one will do the trick wonderfully, whereas an oversized logo can look tacky and desperate. Some good items to put your logo on include pens, laptop bags, water bottles, and travel mugs. These are all items that a person can really use on an everyday basis, and they’ll think of your company every time they use it.

There is one final thing to consider. Giving a gift to a potential client is a great idea. However, keep in mind that it is inappropriate and often against company policy to give gifts to any client you are currently in negotiations with. This can be interpreted as a bribe, even if that’s not how you intended it. Even if your company policy says nothing about this, the client may feel uncomfortably pressured by your gesture. To avoid any sticky situations, opt to give corporate gift baskets to people who have not yet gotten involved with your business, but who are thinking about doing so. This is not to say that you shouldn’t give gifts to potential clients at all – just use your better judgment to avoid any mishaps or embarrassing situations.

Corporate gift baskets are a perfect way to show potential clients that your company wants to do business with them. It gives your business the image of being genuine, thoughtful, and involved. Why not try it next time?

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Fashion Week – Business Women's Guide to Fashion

Fashion conscious professional women share a common bond that literally transends age, race, religion and careers. Professional women can use their image to promote confidence, professionalism, strength, authority, power and prestige in the business and academic worlds. Being properly dressed at meetings, work, networking events and other business related activities is very essential to growth, development and respect. It is very important that women pay attention to the clothes and accessories they buy and how they wear their clothes in the business arena. There truly is a thin line between what is acceptable and what is un-acceptable.

Listed below are helpful tips on how professional women can build their wardrobe and wear the proper clothes to project a confident, consistent and chic image!

Foot Works

Women should pay close attention to the type of shoes they wear when conducting business in a professional or formal atmospheres. Shoes should always be well made and fit the feet properly. Too tight shoes can be uncomfortable and easily noticed by others. Women wearing too big shoes, can project a sloppy image that does not represent confidence or the proper style. A woman's shoes should also be properly polished and not have scuff marks or tears in the leather. We recommend that women polish their shoes at least twice a week and alternate shoes so that they do not wear out quickly. Another good way to preserve shoes is to keep them in a shoe box and use shoe trees to keep and maintain their shape.

Top Management

Women should also have nice, well made tops and blouses for wearing under suit jackets or with a business casual ensemble. Tops should be professional looking and fit properly. Tops that are too big look sloppy and do not flatter the silhouette. Tops that are too tight or clingly are inappropriate for business. The best way to mainain tops is to hang them on hangers or fold them. You can even place dryer sheet in between the tops to prevent static cling, resist wrinkles and keep a fresh smell. Tops which are made of delicate materials such as silk should be dry cleaned or hand washed.

Wearing the Pants

Women should also pay attention to the their body type and how they select their pants or trousers. Women who are petite should select straight cut pants that will flatter their figure and give them an appearance of being tall. The straight cut will keep their shape and will not overwhelm their figure like other styles. Women who are tall should select pants that are extra long and loose, boot-cut or wide leg styles. These styles balance the figure and give the tall woman a nice shape. Capri pants may not be the most flattering style for a tall woman. Curvy women should select pants that are tailored to their figure and are not baggy or too tight.

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How to Start a Gift Basket Business From Home on a Shoestring Budget

Opening a gift basket business in your home can be one of the easiest ways to enjoy doing something you love, while making a nice profit for yourself. According to a recent government study, the home gift basket business is growing by leaps and bounds. If you have a creative mind, and like the idea of selecting unique items for gift baskets that make people happy, then this is a great business idea for you.

Learning how to start a gift basket business begins with coming up with cool ideas for creating gift baskets at home. To make this task easier for you, remember that most gift baskets have a theme like:

*Anniversary

*Baby Shower

*Birthday

*Christmas

*Easter

*Get Well

*Mother’s Day

*Retirement

*Thank You

*Valentines Day

*Wedding

When you start out with a theme, this makes it very easy for you to begin finding items that can go inside the basket. Keep in mind that you can buy the same items for each basket that shares the same theme. You can add little touches to make it more personalized for a particular recipient when required.

If you have trouble coming up with ideas for making gift baskets, you can go online and visit various sites that feature them. Use these as guides to making your own unique creations. Once your imagination has been sparked, you should have no trouble coming up with ideas.

Okay, now since you are going to be making this a profitable business venture, you need to switch hats for a moment and think like a small business person. You will need to find customers for your baskets, which means you need to set up a marketing system that works well.

If you already have a large network of family and friends, this is a great way to market yourself without having to spend much money. You can create some attractive brochures using your home computer, make up some sample baskets and take pictures of them, and include the photos in your brochure. Be sure to give your business a catchy name.

Hand out your brochures and let everyone know that you can make any type of basket for their special occasions. You may begin to get inquiries and orders right away.

If you don’t have the advantage of a large personal network, you can still get your business going relatively easy. Go ahead and name your business and make up the brochures. You should also set up a simple website to display samples of your baskets. Be sure to put the website address on the brochures.

Go out and visit small gift shops, beauty salons, doctors offices and other small businesses in your area. Ask if you can leave a few brochures with them. When people are waiting around at the counter, or for their appointment, they’ll see your brochures and take one home. This can get the ball rolling for you fast.

There are a few other things you need to know in order …

Giving a Business Client a Gift Basket From the Company

When searching for the right gift to say thanks to a client consider a variety of options before spending the money in order to accomplish the desired customer result. Sales professionals and business owners who want help finding the right gift for a clients may find the best solution for various situations can be a company gift basket. Many business leaders and sales people give gifts to their customers each year as a token of appreciation and as a subtle reminder to think of their organization the next time the client wants to place a similar order.

The easiest route to take for gift baskets is to get one that someone has already put together. Shopping for a gift basket that is already put together for a on the web is easy and in many department stores during a holiday season. Typical gift baskets that can be purchased include edibles such as candy, cookies, crackers, wine, meat, cheese and so forth. Also flower arrangements can be bought at a local florist or ordered over the internet at anytime. However these gifts are gone after only a few days. They may be appreciated, but will these gifts be remembered months later when the client wants to place a new order? Non-seasonal gift baskets are harder to find unless shopping is done at a specialty shop or gourmet store.

Although food baskets are nice, a client can get too many during the holidays or from competitors during the sales cycle. To insure remembrance, plan a special gift basket and find someone inside or outside the organization to customize it and arrange it in a nice container. If the container is a reusable item for the person receiving the gift basket, then it makes for an even better gift as they continue to use it! Company logo items used in a custom gift basket make an excellent reminder to the client every time it is used. These logo items are often practical gifts that will last for months to come. Often these types of gifts include mugs, calendars, clips, magnets, pens, or notebooks with the company name as the gift-giver imprinted on it along with the website and possibly a phone number. A miniature gift basket can be made by placing several small items in a mug and then wrapping it in cellophane, tying a bow around the top, and adding a gift card or business card. These types of baskets are nice-to-have and do have the desired company reminder aspect. Often customers will appreciate a gift that is both practical and helpful.

For a sales person who is looking for a meaningful appreciation gift to give clients during the sales cycle or when shopping for a holiday season, consider something to go along with the typical company logo item that reminds the client of their willingness to help grow the customer's business as well as their own. Business books are often appreciated by professionals so they make a great addition to any …

Pull in More Business with the Power of Coupons

Don't you just love a good deal? Well, so do your customers! One of the most effective ways to offer customers a great deal is by offering coupons. In fact, Advertising Age (an authority in the advertising business) reports that 87% of all shoppers use coupons. AC Nielson Co., another famous marketing research firm, says that 95% of all shoppers like coupons, and 60% actively seek out coupons before making purchases.

Those are pretty high numbers! The effectiveness of coupons has already been proven, so it may be time to consider adding a coupon strategy to your marketing activities.

Why consider offering coupons?

  • Consumers will break their regular shopping routines to take advantage of good coupon offers.
  • Coupons re-engage your old customers. It gives them a good reason to start buying from you again rather than your competitors.
  • Coupons provide you with an opportunity to sell additional products. Often, customers will use the coupon and then purchase additional items at full price, including impulse purchases.
  • The success of your coupon campaign is easy to measure. Simply count the number of coupons redeemed to see how well it worked. Getting customer feedback can also help you improve future offers to get even better results.

Do What Works

Not all coupon offers are created equal. Some obviously work better than others, so here are some pointers on making your coupon campaign successful:

  • Dollars-Off deals work the best because they are tangible. Customers know exactly how much money they will save.
  • Percentage discounts are more effective when they are higher percentages (at least 25%).
  • People love to get something for free. Buy-one, get-one-free offers are very attractive to customers. You can also be creative with your bonus offers, like "Free Marker Set with the Purchase of Any White Board" or "Buy 5 light bulbs and get the 6th one Free."
  • Be specific in your headline – let customers know up-front what the offer is. For example, "Save $ 20 on any ceiling fan this month only".
  • Use pictures on your coupons whenever possible. It helps customers understand the offer and makes it more compelling. Don't forget to put your logo on your coupon, as well as your contact information.
  • During your coupon campaign, make sure to capture your customers' contact information so you can include them on your mailing lists.

After the sale, be sure to follow-up with your customers and provide them with a steady program of sales flyers, preferred customer discounts, new product information, and of course, MORE COUPONS!

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7 Top Tips From the Business Woman of the Bible, Lydia, for Today's Woman of God

Lydia was one of the most successful business women in the Bible. You will find her story in the Bible in Acts 16: 14-15. According to Biblical records, Lydia was a business woman who dyed and sold purple cloth, a material used by the wealthy and elite of the day. This meant Lydia worked in a high-priced market with a high-end target market.

But Lydia was more than just a woman who sold luxury goods to the elite and the powerful. From all accounts it appears she was also the head of her household, an employer of others, and a woman of great Christian faith. She was the first European convert to Christianity and the first to establish a church in her home for other Christians. Fellowship times included examples of how to do business and worship as a part of a business woman's day.

As a powerful woman of God, Lydia has much to offer today's Christian business women. Here are seven valuable lessons for women of God from the Bible woman, Lydia.

1. Keep prayer in your daily activities. The bible story of Lydia says she met the Apostle Paul at a place of prayer. She also opened her home to have worship services for others. Keep your implications in order as a woman of God. Remember to pray unceasingly about everything including your business activities by making prayer a priority activity on your daily schedule.

2. Work to please the Lord. Lydia took her responsibility as a Christian business woman to work "as unto the Lord" very seriously. You can show Christian beliefs through your nature and personality without being pushy or unprofessional. Show Biblical principles through your actions and decisions in your business.

3. Design a powerful company. Lydia was a no-nonsense business woman who built a major company in a wealthy market. Nothing says a woman of God has to play small in the business world. Christian business women should be open to working in all types of industries and not shy away from the potential of going big. If you are pursuing big dreams use Lydia as your role model for growth.

4. Try non-traditional opportunities. By being a successful and wealthy merchant of purple cloth Lydia was in a non-traditional business category during her times. Don't shy away from embracing non-traditional business opportunities. Consider working in fields where few if any woman are already excelling and create new paths to success.

5. Find your balance between work and home. Lydia maintained her household even while running a powerful business. Each woman has to find the way to balance, keeping her home in order while running a business. It might mean downsizing or hiring help. Use your business skills to figure out what works for you to get it all done.

6. Learn to grow your business. Lydia's business was so successful that she had to hire employees. Growing a business means eventually needing to hire help. That help might come in the form …

How To Create A Business Model

Could a stranger enter your office and operate your business? They could if you have a business model that defines each step of your business process. Create one by using a simple business template that provides actual business processes.

Start with an outline of what you do each season of business.

Sell ​​Product or Services

Define your product or services within a pictorial scale, including price, value, and description of what each entails. Give your products names that identify, define, and value the individual product or service, and then put them in your product or service journal.

Define Niche Market

Identify your buyers. Who are they? How much will they spend? How often will they buy? Will they return for more product? Are you going to meet them personally, or online? Will your buyers come to you, or do you take your sales to them?

Select Payment Options

How will you be paid for products and services? What finance plans will be available? Decide how you will accept payment and whether your accounting program will be cash or accrual. Will you send invoices, statements, and other billing options? How will you communicate collections?

How Product is Delivered

One of my favorite sections of the business model is the product section. We get to define our product, decide how it's produced, and how to deliver our products. Some products are easy to figure out, others require a bit of finesse.

I specifically remember one product that included ordering a mass production from an auto-supply company, ordering boxes, and then spending hours inserting products in boxes, then shipping them out via USPS at the end of each day. Labeling because my most difficult problem. With each order I was downloading labels for shipping. After one particularly grueling week of shipping hundreds of boxes, my daughter found a "drop shipper" who did all the shipping.

We simplified our Business Model, increased our profit, and cut a huge chunk of labor off the shipping process.

The business model offers you a selection of methods for delivering not only one product, but several products. You can drop ship some, while personally shipping others, and some can even be digitally transferred. The key is to have a plan and know what happens with each product grouping.

Service Delivery Options

Another key component of your business is the overall development and delivery of services relevant to the end game of business transactions. Every business has a certain number of services, but determining how those are performed, delivered, and completed is part of the overall business model.

Functional Business Models can be as complete or as circumspect as you wish them to be, but for more automated systems, or for systems that are operated by non-owner entities, the more complete the Business Model, the easier it is to hire assistants to complete the work.

Creatively put as much effort into your Business Model as you expect to get out of it. The better it is written the more …

The MAIR Model – A Non-Linear Approach to Business Start Up

As an entrepreneur and someone whose business involves working with entrepreneurs, I'm always interested in different models of business start up, and an article I read recently reminded me of the MAIR Model. I first came across this when doing and MSc in Entrepreneurship at Stirling University in 1995, and have used it quite a lot since for training both advisors and entrepreneurs, both in my work with support organizations and my consultancy with Eriskay Associates. Since then, it seems to have come in and out of fashion a bit, but I like it for its logical simplicity and the fact that it is not linear (ie step one, step two, step 3 …)

The basic idea is that you explore four 'interactive variables': Motivation, Abilities, Ideas and Resources. Clearly, each has a critical role to play in its own right:

Motivation: I guess that's what separates thinkers and dreamers for actors and doers … The willingness to really go out and work hard, often under conditions of little short term reward and lots of uncertainty, seems to be one of the hallmarks of successful entrepreneurs .

Abilities: We could start a whole separate thread on this – what are the key abilities that make a successful entrepreneur – no doubt a mix of both hard and soft skills.

Ideas: Arguably, these need to be clearly rooted in a market need to be valid, although, there are some business that seem to be product-led rather than market-led … fashion, any Apple product, the Rubik's cube .. .

Resources: Entrepreneurs are kind of hamstrung until they get resources behind them. I guess we automatically think of cash here, but skills, knowledge and contacts can make a lot of difference to.

… but you also need to think about how these factors interact – a good idea is of limited value, without the motivation and resources to turn it into a business and this is where the final components of the MAIR model come into play: Planning and Organization! Arguably, this is the real job of the entrepreneur. Bringing all the factors together to create something that did not exist before, and may just change the world!

As far as I know, the academic origins of this model lie with Gibb and Ritchie (1982), but I have seen references to it dating back to the 1970s, where it was apparently in use at Durham University Business School. It has appeared in a number of articles since, but I am surprised that it has not gained more traction.

By comparison, think about SWOT analysis – it provides a simple mnemonic and a recognized structure for analysing a situation. And, despite it's many deficiencies (the subject of a future article!), It has gained widespread usage. So, why has the MAIR model not achieved the same? Incidentally, one of the other advantages is it's adaptability. In a very interesting article by Pat Richardson et al (The challenges of growing small businesses: insights from women entrepreneurs …