One rainy afternoon in 2003, my daughter ‘Bobo’ and I baked a batch of gooey oat treats in our home kitchen in Boulder, CO. After receiving rave reviews from friends, I took them to a local coffee shop and sold them them on a whim. A week later, they re-ordered, and soon word began to spread around town about these ‘Bobo Bars.’ Grocery stores heard and bought in, and then larger distributors came calling. Fast forward 5 years and 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 my house in Boulder, Colorado, where I remain in an active role as President of the company.
In honor of Business Women's Day, I wanted to share 5 pieces of advice for women in the workplace. I kept these in mind when I built Bobo's and I still keep them in mind today. Here they are, I hope they help:
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. One of my customers early on in my business once wrote in the memo line of a check to me, 'to Mrs. Tenacious' when he finally agreed to sell my product after I firmly and confidently sold him on the product. Fifteen years later, he is one of our happiest customers.
2. Network - Find a group of people with more experience or resources than you have and 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 open, honest dialogue about what tactics work, and more importantly, which don’t.
3. Always Be Honest - Whether dealing with customers, friends or employees it is imperative that you always act with integrity and tell the truth. If you want respect and trust in business, or in life, you must always treat people openly and fairly. In addition to being honest with others, you must always be honest with yourself. Maybe you spent a long time planning something that just didn’t work, or you put money behind an idea that never netted results. No matter how hard you tried, you must be realistic about the outcome and 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. It’s 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.
For more advice from Beryl, check out her latest article on Building A Business From The Ground Up on Money Inc. here.