5 Tips for Women in the Workplace: Bobo's Founder, Beryl Stafford
Tips for Women in the Workplace
One rainy afternoon in 2003, my daughter ‘Bobo’ and I baked a batch of gooey, oat treats in our home kitchen in Boulder, CO. We shared them with a number of our friends, and after receiving rave reviews, I took them to a local coffee shop. I sold them on a whim, having no idea what would come from it. A week later, they re-ordered, and soon word began to spread around town about these ‘Bobo Bars.’ Grocery stores caught wind and bought in, and pretty soon larger distributors came calling. Fast forward 5 years and, much to my shock and excitement, Bobo’s had become a national brand.
I built Bobo’s with determination, passion, and the refusal to back down from any challenge. My hard work and leadership skills have made Bobo’s one of the fastest-growing multi-million dollar brands in the industry. I currently divide my time between my hometown of New Orleans, LA, and Boulder, Colorado, where I act as President of the company.
In honor of Business Women's Day, I wanted to share 5 pieces of advice that I have learned over the years for women in the workplace. I kept these in mind when I built Bobo's, and I still keep them in mind today. I hope they help women everywhere as much as they have helped me:
1. Be Tenacious
Believe in yourself, don't take no for an answer, and keep pushing forward. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want, even if you are the only woman in the room. When one of my customers finally agreed to sell my product after I firmly and confidently sold him on it, he wrote in the memo line of a check, 'to Mrs. Tenacious.' Fifteen years later, he is one of our happiest and most satisfied customers.
Find a group of people with more experience or resources than you have the gumption to ask a lot of questions. Set up lunches or activities with peers and don’t be afraid to say, 'I don’t know'. Surround yourself with like-minded entrepreneurs who have similar goals, so you can bounce ideas off of one another and have an open, honest dialogue about what tactics work, and more importantly, which don’t. Learning from others is one of the best ways to grow, and who knows, you may make some great connections along the way.
3. Always Be Honest
Whether dealing with customers, friends or employees it is imperative that you always act with integrity and tell the truth. To gain respect and trust in business - or in life - you must always treat people openly and fairly. In addition, you must always be honest with yourself. Maybe you spent a long time planning something that fell short, or you put money behind an idea that never netted results. No matter how hard you tried, you must be realistic about the outcome. Accept when something did not go as planned so that you can learn from it and move forward.
4. Get To the Point
In our hurried world of texts and emails, it’s important to communicate quickly and concisely. Get your point across as efficiently as possible, and leave out the fluff. Always remember, if you don’t have time to read through lengthy emails, then your colleagues and business partners don’t either. Say what needs to be said, and leave the rest for a more appropriate time.
5. Start Your Day With a Routine
Get up early. The morning is the most productive time of day for me, and starting early means you’re more likely to accomplish all of your daily tasks. I’m more focused and alert in the morning, so I like to tackle my least favorite projects at the start of the day. That allows me to feel at ease in the afternoon and leads to a more relaxing evening. And because we all need to keep our energy up for our extremely busy days, I always try to remember to grab a Bobo's Oat Bar to put in my purse for those mid-day slumps.
For more advice from Beryl, check out her latest article on Building A Business From The Ground Up on Money Inc. here.