How to Succeed in Male-Dominated Industries

Gone are the days when women were concentrated in lower paying service jobs like retail workers and administrative assistants. Now more and more women are holding high level and high paying jobs in previously male dominated industries. To be successful in these industries, women require a lot of joggling especially if they are married and have children to look after.

Here are a few suggestions for women to get ahead in an industry that is known to be male-dominated.

  • Make sure your value is known

    One of the main challenges faced by women in the ‘male-dominated’ industries is making their value known. It can be intimidating for some women to play by men’s rules. Women need to play on their strengths and characteristic qualities that are sometime lacking in men. Many women think they need to change when working in a male-dominated environment. But, your unique qualities or working styles can be the catalyst that helps you to be noticed as a person of value.

  • Don’t be the ‘Yes’ woman

    In many industries, there is tremendous pressure to work hard and go the extra mile. Women must not feel obligated to say ‘yes’ to anything that doesn’t remotely list under their responsibilities. Agreeing to taking on every project in striving to be a ‘good employee’ will not do any justice to you in the long run. If you don’t learn to say no, you will ultimately hurt both yourself and the company you represent. It is important, however, to stand up for the projects you really want to work on.

  • Be Confident

    Having confidence in yourself goes a long way and can get you where you want to be in your career. Being confident, you won’t feel the need to get the ‘approval’ from anyone as women are just as capable of holding certain positions that appear to be reserved for men only. Being a woman, you may be playing more than one role. It is advisable not to allow domestic worries impact upon your confidence and focus at work.

  • Be strong and structure oriented

    As a woman,you need to not only prove yourself, but be relatively outspoken about it too – something many women are not comfortable doing. Being structured in your work, organized, technically strong, and ensuring you’re assertive goes a long way to earning the respect and recognition for a job well done.

  • Have patience, perseverance and positivity

    Maintaining a positive attitude and focus, together with equal doses of perseverance and patience, will stand you in good stead. One step forward is one step closer to getting ahead.

  • Build contacts

    Networking after work is a big part of building contacts in any industry. This is often done in environments that aren’t particularly female-friendly, but breaking into this is a must.

  • Motivation and mentorship

    Going it alone up the career ladder is hard. One of the most valuable things is to have a mentor – someone who has succeeded in the system, understands the challenges, and can guide you through some of the peculiarities of the industry, as a result of his/her own experience and lessons learned.A mentor can also push you a little harder than you might push yourself.

Remember, the amazing thing about women is that we’re stubborn individuals who will build strong, supportive networks to help each other grow. Keep a positive attitude and always challenge yourself to learn more. With knowledge and confidence, you can enter any office and show that you’re a valuable addition to the team.

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Why Banks Deny Loans to Small Businesses

Starting a business is one of the most rewarding, yet difficult endeavours to undertake. The road to profit is very challenging. Business owners need a great deal of money to launch their venture. They depend upon commercial lending for financing. However, many times loan applications are rejected by banks.
Here’s a list of reasons a business loan can be rejected.

  • Bad credit

    Even though not everyone has the best credit, as far as lenders are concerned, this just isn’t an excuse. Poor credit is simply a sign that a borrower, or their business, does not prioritize repaying their debts. Credit score of the borrower is very important criterion for money lenders to decide whether to accept or reject a loan offer. Most banks typically won’t loan to a business owner whose personal credit score isn’t above a certain threshold (typically about 680).

  • Not enough collateral

    All business loans require collateral. Unfortunately not all businesses have sufficient collateral to support the size of the business loan they wish to borrow. Another obstacle is the price depreciation of certain collateral. Know the value of your collateral before you ask the bank for the loan.

  • Under-capitalization

    Borrowers often make the mistake of under-capitalizing their business loan application. Your personal and professional resources including fixed assets, retained earnings, and the even an owner’s equity, can be attached if required to secure repayment of the debt. Do your homework; know what capital you have on hand. Know what you can pledge and use to grow your business and repay the bank’s loan.

  • Cash flow problems

    Lenders see no reason to offer money to a business that has serious cash flow problems. Banks want to see that businesses have enough money to make monthly loan payments in addition to covering rent, payroll, inventory and other costs.  After all, if a business isn’t even making money to begin with, then there is no need to hand it a business loan in the hope that is generates growth. There has to be adequate cash flow available to repay a loan. Most bank term loans are not ideal for start-ups or very young businesses. They typically look for a few years of revenue generation. Start-ups can apply for SBA loans (which are loans made by a bank with a portion guaranteed by the US government). Most large banks have SBA loan departments, so be sure to check with your local branch.

  • Lack of preparation

    Many businesses simply aren’t savvy about the application process and believe they can walk into a bank, fill out an application and get approved for a loan. Before applying for a bank loan, businesses should have a written business plan, financial statements or projections, personal and business credit reports, tax returns and bank statements. They should also have copies of relevant legal documents including articles of incorporation, contracts, leases, and any licenses and permits needed to operate.

  • Difficult conditions

    Even if a business has excellent collateral, credit, and is well run, there is still the possibility that it will soon face industry-specific difficulties. For example, a lender may be hesitant to lend a business loan to a transportation company in the wake of rising fuel costs. The lender may expect that the soaring costs of fuel are just going to overtax the transportation company and make it difficult to grow or generate a profit. Outside influences are always considered prior to a loan approval or decline. They can include industry experience of a borrower, a business’s location, local or regional economic trends, competitors etc. In addition to these, seemingly unrelated factors, such as local climate conditions, may also influence an applicant’s approval or denial.

These reasons are warning signs to look out for on the road to getting a business loan. Even if borrowers achieve success and borrow business loans, they still have to successfully run their business and payback their lender. While not all ideas need financing to get started, getting a business loan is a great aid to launching a new company.

It’s Time to Make a Career Change

People change careers several times during their lifetime. The main reason is that they don’t make informed decisions about the careers they choose. They do not take into account their own interests, values, personality types while selecting career path. Because of these reasons, you may find yourself wondering whether you should be doing something different. Here are some valid reasons to leave your current career for a new one:

  • Loss of purpose and passion

    If your career has no meaning, you are no longer excited about it or you have grown tired of getting up in the morning to compete for something you don’t believe in anymore – it’s time to move on. The financial incentives are not enough, when the chance to find real personal significance and happiness is missing.

  • Talent potential is not valued

    When your talent is not valued, it’s difficult to stay motivated.   When your boss doesn’t trust your potential and will not sponsor your career advancement, it’s extremely hard to remain loyal. You must value your talent potential more than anyone else. Never allow your talent to be taken for granted.  If it is, it may be time to move on.

  • Professional growth is stunted

    If you are unable to challenge yourself to grow and mature, then how can your employer help you? If you think your employer is not investing in your professional development, you must move on. If you don’t stretch yourself to do more or remain in your comfort zone for too long, you will have to pay the price later. Your resume should reflect enough success stories to merit advancement in your career.

  • Workplace culture is not trustworthy

    A hostile work environment that operates in silos – where the executives are not transparent – is difficult to trust. This type of workplace culture becomes corrupted and begins to impact your performance and ability to advance. When you are part of an organization that is full of leadership and workplace problems, it’s time to consider a career change.

  • Not sufficiently awarded

    It’s easy to become contented in your career, but in today’s fiercely competitive and dynamic marketplace, you must be your own manager and continually be accountable to keep a “reward scorecard.”   Rewards are qualitative and quantitative measurements.  If you are not being rewarded for your work – based on industry standards (or better), it’s time to consider a career change.

  • You make excuse for a day off

    Do you make excuses to call in sick or let go opportunities to take lead? It may be time to assess your current career. If your sense of satisfaction fades away, you aren’t worried your performance review didn’t go well, or you spend more time on surfing internet than concentrating on business, it might be time to move on.

  • Your life has changed

    When you chose your career your life may have been different than it is today. For example you may have been single then and now you have a family. The crazy schedule or the frequent travel that is typical of your career may not suit your new lifestyle. You should look for an occupation that is more “family friendly.”

  • Your job is too stressful

    Some occupations are inherently stressful. You knew that from the beginning about yours. You’ve come to a point, though, when it’s become too much to handle. To preserve your mental and physical health, you will have to find a career that is less stressful.

If you want to make a career change, talk to the career counsellor for guidance and making a right move. Think about roles or jobs where you can use the knowledge and skills you already possess. If you are convinced that you want to make a career change, then take a dive! There is never a perfect time, so don’t wait. Try to prepare plan B, and then do it!

Should Start-ups Hire Interns?

hiring-intern-in-startup

For some start-ups it is inevitable to hire interns at the initial stages of their company’s growth. While this may initially appear to be a good practice, especially with start-ups’ tight financial constraints, the grind of managing the interns could overshadow the benefits of having them in your office.

Internships are a “give and take” relationship because the commitment goes both ways – an intern works for your start-up, but you have to teach the intern the necessary skills and give him or her individual learning plan in return. The intern is working for you because he or she wants to learn and get experience in his or her field of expertise.

Pros and cons of hiring interns
There are mostly ‘pros’, but you need to be aware of one con: Interns are time consuming in the beginning of their internship. You need to take the time to teach them a new set of skills and integrate them into the workplace.

Here are the benefits of hiring interns:

  • The most important benefit to the start-ups is that they get cost effective dynamic workforce.
  • For most interns, it is their first job, so they give their best to the employer. They are motivated and have desire to learn and progress within their field.
  • Interns fill positions and assist employers with innovative ideas and technology.
  • Internships allow employers to connect with and build relationships with students early in their academic careers
  • Employers can test the candidates before offering him/her full time position within an organization.
  • Smaller, less important tasks could be given to interns, so that experienced workforce could devote their full attention to more productive work.

However, these benefits could come at a cost of your time and energy.

  • You spend more time teaching them how to work and what to work on
  • If you have more number of interns, your business activities may suffer when interns go back to school.
  • Most start-up founders will take the interns under their wing and teach them what they know. As an internship cycle usually repeats itself every 3/6 months, it can be quite taxing.
  • If handover is not done properly when an internship comes to an end, you could lose your business.

In a small start-up, interns can either make or break your company. However, if handled and planned correctly, internships can be meaningful to both you – the employer and your interns.

If you plan to hire interns for your start-up, register on TheGongzuo.com and advertise your open positions to get qualified interns.

Best US Cities for Startup Businesses

When we think of tech start-ups, Northern California region comes to our mind. Companies in Silicon Valley area receive the largest share of funding from venture capitalists, but there are several other promising cities around the country to launch tech start-up.

The following ranking is based on start-up survival rates, available talent pool, day-to-day start-up costs etc.

  1. Austin, TX – Austin has topped the list, becoming alternative to Silicon Valley. It has a smaller population and that is  great for quality of life. It has the necessary talent available needed for tech industry.
  2. New York, NY – This is city is very much open for business. Internet businesses are thriving in Manhattan. NYC’s mass transit system is a big plus in its digital success.
  3. Seattle, WA – Seattle has great universities producing engineering and IT graduates. So, it has the highest density of tech talent. This is the biggest advantage for entrepreneurs.
  4. Denver, CO – It has comparatively low office rents, affordable for budding CEOs and CFOs. It has smaller population, so people enjoy great quality of life.
  5. Atlanta, GA – It has great public transport and subway system for commuters. Low cost of office spaces is good news for start-up owners. They get more money in hand to expand their business or to hire quality workforce.
  6. San Francisco, CA – Here, over half of the population holds a Bachelor’s degree. This is fantastic as it means there is a good spread of academic qualification and experience throughout the city to aid recruitment. Major downside is, it is the costliest place to open a new office.
  7. Washington, D.C. – Academic talent pool is larger than most of the cities. This is fantastic news for anyone looking for a more academically qualified workforce, or looking for specific qualifications that come out of advanced degrees.
  8. Miami, FL – Miami has one of the most thriving local business cultures of the entire Top 10 cities of this list. It can attract many different businesses from different sectors. It can attract many different businesses from different sectors.  Miami is blazing ahead in terms of number of new company formations.
  9. Los Angeles, CA – It has second lowest transportation cost among the top cities listed here – good news for employees needing to get to their workplaces and the bosses who need to get them there early. LA is great place to start and grow business. It has a high rate of new entrepreneurs.
  10. Houston, TX – Houston is the best city in terms of office prices. Being highly populated, it gives great local market for businesses. It has a wide variety of skills available, which is a big plus.