Connect with us

Entrepreneur

The 3 Pieces of Advice Ursula Burns’ Mother Gave Her That Helped Her Become A Fortune 500 CEO

The former CEO of Xerox attributes much of her success to her mother’s guidance.

Published

on

Free Book Preview: Unstoppable

Get a glimpse of how to overcome the mental and physical fatigue that is standing between you and your full potential.

May 24, 2021 5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Unbelievable as it might seem, it took until 2009 for the first Black woman to become CEO of a Fortune 500 company. It happened when Ursula Burns accepted the top role at Xerox. Now a board member for enterprises like VEON, Diageo and Uber, Burns is the model of corporate success for anyone wanting to climb ranks and become a leader and pioneer in their chosen field.

When times got tough in the C-suite, Burns says it was the pearls of wisdom her mother shared over the years that helped her pivot and make important decisions. “I don’t want to overemphasize this, but not a day goes by when I don’t think about my mother and what she would think about what I just did. I often adjust my approach,” Burns said in a 2011 interview with Fast Company.

Here are three lessons Olga Burns taught her daughter that helped her become the business visionary she is today.

Related: Female Business Owners Share Successes, Challenges, and Advice for Entrepreneurs

1. “If you get the chance to speak, then speak”

In 1990, a senior executive at Xerox named Wayland Hicks offered Burns a job as his assistant. At the time, Burns believed it would just be basic administrative or secretarial work.

Then she realized she was thinking about it all wrong. It could be that, but it could also be her big break — if she took advantage of the opportunities presented each day. As Hicks’ assistant, Burns had the chance to rub shoulders with all the people her boss worked with. She worked hard to earn their respect and consideration, using her honesty and confidence as assets.

Fast forward to 1999 — not even a decade later — and Burns was already Xerox’s vice president of global manufacturing. It was around this time that Burns began to work closely with Anne Mulcahy, another Xerox employee who had ascended the ranks internally. Mulcahy became CEO in 2001, and noted in a Fast Company interview that “The thing I valued most about Ursula, and why I valued her participation in senior management, is that she has the courage to tell you the truth in ugly times.”

At every step of Burns’s journey, she took the opportunity to let her voice be heard. Burns became Mulcahy’s successor in 2009 in a remarkably seamless transition.

Related: What You and New Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser Can Learn from Other Female CEOs About Sustainable Success

2. “Your environment does not define you”

Ursula Burns grew up on the Lower East Side, supported by a single mother working every possible job to help she and her two siblings succeed. Many people let the circumstances of their upbringing diminish their capacity for success, but Olga Burns never let her daughter feel like her environment would hold her back.

“She constantly reminded me ‘Where I was didn’t define who I was,’” shared Burns in her Lean In story. In other words, Burns always knew her current environment did not define her future prospects.

Related: We Need to Fight Unfair Conditions for Women in Tech

Even though her origins are humble, she didn’t allow them to define her. When she was offered a spot at a prestigious university, Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, she almost didn’t go because she thought she wouldn’t belong. She ended up going for it, thanks to her mom’s words, saying the courage and confidence of her mother enabled her to take that opportunity.

3. “Leave any place you are a little bit better than you came in”

Ursula Burns is known for her legendary “missionary” style leadership. Throughout her career, she’s practiced what she preaches. She credits that attitude to her mother. “She would always say that you have to leave the place — any place you are — a little bit better than you came in,” Burns said in an interview with World Finance.

Throughout her time at Xerox and even during her stint as leader of the White House National STEM program in 2009, she did her utmost to make any place she was in better.

Burns used her advantageous position of leadership to trust and listen to her team. When people spoke up, she heard them. Even if they didn’t have the traditional background Xerox or the White House might expect, she still listened to what anyone had to say. She also did her best to find and provide mentors for up-and-comers, because she credited so much of her own success to finding mentors to help her flourish.

And of course, Burns never would have become Xerox’s CEO if she’d abandoned the company during the insolvency crisis of 2000. Instead, she stayed and helped it work through it, keeping her mother’s words at the forefront of her mind. She credits determination as a key factor in her ultimate rise to CEO.

Final takeaways

Ursula Burns’s guidance counselor told her in high school that she could either be a teacher, a nun or a nurse. Instead, she chased her passion and ambition. She credits that attitude to the life lessons her mother taught her; for up-and-coming entrepreneurs, the same lessons can apply.

  • Use every opportunity as a chance to speak your mind.

  • Where you are today does not define who you’ll be tomorrow.

  • Make sure that you leave every place a little better than you found it.

These lessons not only guide aspiring entrepreneurs to a more successful future, but a happier and more fulfilling journey along the way.

Related: Female Business Owners Share Successes, Challenges, and Advice for Entrepreneurs

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/entrepreneur/latest/~3/FCgTNrC8JMw/371191

the-3-pieces-of-advice-ursula-burns'-mother-gave-her-that-helped-her-become-a-fortune-500-ceo

Entrepreneur

The Unbearably High Price of ‘Free’

Using the word ‘free’ in your marketing is a quick way to get attention, but it’s also a double-edged sword that has tripped up a lot of businesses.

Published

on

Using the word ‘free’ in your marketing is a quick way to get attention, but it’s also a double-edged sword that has tripped up a lot of businesses.

Free Book Preview: Brand Renegades

Discover how two entrepreneurs used unconventional business strategies to turn their startup into a multimillion-dollar company.

June 13, 2021 5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

One of the most powerful words in the English language is the term “free.” Do any of these phrases sound familiar?

  • “Buy one get one free.”
  • “Get a free gift with purchase, valued at $499.”
  • “Get a free eye examination.”
  • “Try our membership for FREE.”
  • “Get FREE delivery”

It seems like just about every company uses some kind of “free offer” in their marketing. So why is the term “free” used so liberally?

Because, frankly, it works — by appealing to our basic human emotion of greed.

The word “free” has appeared in more advertisements than there are grains of sand on a beach. And it goes way back to the genesis of advertising when giving free samples was the best (and only) new way to get customers. So what makes “free” work so well?”

Free gets attention. It makes people feel like they are getting a great deal. On a subconscious level, it works in reverse, too — you feel like you’re missing out if you don’t take advantage of something for free.

But using the word “free” in your marketing can be a double-edged sword, especially if you don’t use it correctly.

Related content: The 5 Triggers of Psychological Pricing

Is there a wrong way to use the term “free” in your marketing?

Absolutely. There are thousands of ways that using the term “free” in your marketing can trip you up, reduce your product or service value, and do irreparable damage to your brand.

Let me give you a real example. One of our clients was in the business of producing extremely high-end Italian-made leather shoes and bags for men. Their most famous pair of boots retailed for $3,500. Their most popular bag, a messenger-style laptop bag, retailed for $950. The company’s previous marketing agency advised them that the best way to double their boot sales would be to offer the messenger bag for free.

As far as irresistible offers go, that’s a pretty good one, and it did in fact, increase sales of the boots — in the short term. But it was a strategic disaster in the long term because now they had conditioned their clients to expect the messenger bag for free.

In other words, by offering it for free, they had completely devalued that product (remember it was the company’s top-selling bag.) Even worse, by offering something of high perceived value for free, they had also damaged their own luxury brand. Why would people ever pay full price again?

The good news is that people have a short attention span, and with the right strategic pivot and messaging, you can erase the damage of using “free.” But it takes time.

The same dangers apply when you start using discounts in your business. If you discount your products, why would people ever pay full price? They just wait for them to go on sale. When our Italian client came to us, they had a branding and sales disaster on their hands through no fault of their own. Fortunately, we were able to get them out of their pickle by repositioning their products and reinventing their brand — a move that resulted in them being purchased eighteen months later by a competitor.

Moral of the story: Using a free offer can be a slippery slope and must be used sparingly and carefully.

Related: The Price Is Right: How to Price Your Product for Long-Term Success

Before using “free” in your business, ask yourself:

  • Does this have a real value that we depend on for revenue?
  • By offering this item or service for free, will this adversely impact another related service or product (for example, if you offer the first consult for free, and expect to be paid for all future consults)?
  • Why are we considering offering something for free? What else could we offer that would help us achieve the same result?
  • What if it’s not your business using “free”, but your competitors?

    Now, if you’re on the other side of the fence and your competitor is offering something for free that you are charging for, it’s time to put your marketing into high gear.

    Just because there is no money exchanged doesn’t mean that it’s not paid for in other ways — for example, in lost time, huge frustration or poor quality.

    Think of the experience and quality of “free” healthcare versus a private plan. Draw these analogies in your marketing to establish your value in the minds of your clients.

    “Free” is still a mighty word used to grab attention in marketing. But handle with extreme caution, and don’t be lured into using it to stimulate short-term sales at the expense of long-term growth.

    Related: 3 Lessons About Setting Your Price Learned From a Vegas Prostitute

    It seems like just about every company uses some kind of “free offer” in their marketing. So why is the term “free” used so liberally?

    Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/entrepreneur/latest/~3/-ft2fOOD5wI/372155

    the-unbearably-high-price-of-'free'

    Continue Reading

    Entrepreneur

    Have You Stashed Too Much Money in Your Emergency Fund?

    Think you’re totally set with a full year of expenses set aside in an emergency fund? Hold up. You might have too much socked into liquid assets. Read on to learn more about how much is too much for your emergency fund.

    Published

    on

    Think you’re totally set with a full year of expenses set aside in an emergency fund? Hold up. You might have too much socked into liquid assets. Read on to learn more about how much is too much for your emergency fund.

    Free Book Preview Money-Smart Solopreneur

    This book gives you the essential guide for easy-to-follow tips and strategies to create more financial success.

    June 10, 2021 6 min read

    This story originally appeared on MarketBeat

    Last year heralded the case for a robust emergency fund. As people lost jobs left and right due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you probably checked and double-checked your emergency fund (I know I did).

    However, have you ever thought about how so much of a good thing can be just that — too much? Your emergency fund could end up way too plump.

    Where People Usually Put Their Emergency Funds

    Where do most people stash money in order for it to remain truly accessible? Most people put their funds in one of the following categories:

    • High-yield savings accounts: You usually find high-yield savings accounts at online banks, not at brick-and-mortar banking institutions. (They don’t have much overhead due to their status as online banks, so they can offer higher returns.) High-yield savings accounts usually earn around 0.50% annual percentage yield (APY).
    • Money market accounts: A money market account, also called a money market deposit account, offers a deposit account that pays you interest based on current interest rates in the money markets. You can find money market accounts at local banks. Money market accounts often come with a debit card and check-writing capabilities.
    • Checking or savings accounts: You won’t earn much interest with checking or savings accounts at a brick-and-mortar bank. Earnings for both of these types of accounts can range from 0.03% to 0.04%. However, you can access your money at any time, which means that these accounts offer major liquidity.

    Any of these options make sense because you can easily get your money out when you need it. However, if you put too much money into any one of these, you could risk a lack of growth and put yourself at a disadvantage, tax-wise.

    Before you choose the right vehicle for you, check rates, fees and withdrawal rules.

    Too Much of a Good Thing Can Be Too Much

    Emergency savings offers so many great things — to a point. Let’s take a look at the downsides to putting an overly large amount in your emergency fund.

    Downside 1: Your money may not grow.

    Where do people usually park an emergency fund?

    Somewhere liquid and highly accessible, like a money market account or a high-yield savings account, right? You want to have access to that money the second your boss says, “Sorry, but I have some bad news…”

    Here’s the deal. Let’s say you save $1,000 at 0.01% APY. After a year, you’ll end up with just $1,000.10. If you put the same $1,000 in a retirement account that earns 6%, you would earn $1,062 after a year. See how you could lose out?

    Most accounts that offer a safe haven for your money often don’t offer ample returns.

    The average stock market return hovers around 7%, three times higher than any high-yield savings account rate offered anywhere today.

    Downside 2: You could lose out on the tax front.

    When you focus on saving in your emergency fund too much, you may neglect your tax-advantaged retirement accounts, which could include 401(k) plans, IRAs, 457 plans or 403(b) accounts.

    Let’s say you have the opportunity to contribute $6,000 into a traditional IRA. Your contributions get deducted from your taxable income. You would only pay taxes on the remaining balance.

    Let’s say you make $60,000 per year. Your taxable income automatically gets reduced $6,000 to $54,000 from your traditional IRA tax deduction.

    What happens when you save your money in a high-yield savings account instead of a tax-advantaged account? You miss out on that reduced taxed income.

    Downside 3: You may not clear out your debt.

    You may hear so much about the importance of emergency funds that you ignore the fact that you still need to pay off debt. That begs the question: What kind of debt do you have? Credit card debt? Student loan debt? You may want to pay down those debts first and then tackle your emergency fund. Or you can save $1,000 for emergencies to start out and then tackle any outstanding debt.

    Downside 4: You may sacrifice other goals.

    When you don’t contribute to your kids’ savings accounts, to your own retirement or maybe even save for a down payment on a house, stop and ask yourself why.

    A gargantuan emergency savings might not mean much when you’re stuck putting a vacation on a credit card or forgoing a child’s college savings account altogether.

    So… How Much Should Go in Your Emergency Fund?

    Obviously, this answer depends on a few factors, including your current income amount. Many financial experts advise saving three to six months’ worth of living expenses.

    For example, let’s say you generally spend about $4,000 per month on general expenditures, such as your mortgage payment, utilities, food, health care premiums and other items. You should save between $12,000 and $24,000.

    However, you may want to adopt the 3/6/9 rule instead, depending on your job situation. In other words, you may want to:

    • Save three months of expenses if you have a steady paycheck, have no mortgage or dependents.
    • Save six months of expenses if you have a steady paycheck, have a mortgage or dependents.
    • Save nine months of expenses if you have irregular income or if you are the only one in your family who earns money.

    How Much Equals Too Much in Your Emergency Fund?

    As you can see, it’s easy to have too much in your emergency fund. If you find that you’ve stashed more than six months’ worth of emergency money in your account and have a steady paycheck, no mortgage or dependents, ease up.

    Carefully consider whether you have too much in your account based on the stability of your income and the number of people depending on you. You may also consider the level of support you receive from others. (Your parents might love it if your family moved in if it came down to it!)

    When you do decide on the right amount, automate transfers so they occur each and every week or month. That way, you don’t have to think about saving — it just happens.

    Featured Article: What is an overbought condition?

    Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/entrepreneur/latest/~3/YHuKBmQ-q-o/374198

    have-you-stashed-too-much-money-in-your-emergency-fund?

    Continue Reading

    Entrepreneur

    How to give good feedback to your collaborators?

    The feedback process must be close and continuous.

    Published

    on

    The feedback process must be close and continuous.

    Free Book Preview: Unstoppable

    Get a glimpse of how to overcome the mental and physical fatigue that is standing between you and your full potential.

    June 8, 2021 1 min read

    This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

    This story originally appeared on Querido Dinero

    Feedback is the analysis of a person from different perspectives to show what they do very well and accelerate their professional career, but also what they need to improve because it slows their growth.

    The difference with the evaluation of results is that the feedback process must be close and continuous, and when implemented correctly it generates relationships of trust .

    We tell you how to make it a natural practice in your company:

    The difference with the evaluation of results is that the feedback process must be close and continuous, and when implemented correctly it generates relationships of trust .

    Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/entrepreneur/latest/~3/ZMAaeXpe1Pg/373943

    how-to-give-good-feedback-to-your-collaborators?

    Continue Reading

    Title

    Crunchbase17 mins ago

    Inside Didi’s Massive IPO Filing

    Backed by investors including SoftBank and Toyota, Didi last raised venture financing with a $500 million round led by SoftBank...

    Entrepreneur8 hours ago

    The Unbearably High Price of ‘Free’

    Using the word 'free' in your marketing is a quick way to get attention, but it's also a double-edged sword...

    CNBC11 hours ago

    RH beats earnings, hikes outlook as retail rebound boosts high-end home goods; shares jump

    Shares of the high-end furniture retailer surged Wednesday after the company beat analysts' profit and sales estimates for the fiscal...

    Techcrunch14 hours ago

    Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin auctions off seat on first human spaceflight for $28M – TechCrunch

    Blue Origin has its winning bidder for its first ever human spaceflight, and the winner will pay $28 million for...

    Ventureburn16 hours ago

    Spot Money app launches stokvel feature

    Spot Money has released a shared wallet feature on their fintech app, Spot to create transparency for shared financial investments...

    CNBC19 hours ago

    Blue Origin auctions seat on first spaceflight with Jeff Bezos for $28 million

    The winning bidder will fly to the edge of space with the Amazon founder on Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket...

    Blockchain news1 day ago

    Long-Term Bitcoin Holders Keep Stacking While Short-Term Holders Keep Selling

    On-chain analyst William Clemente III revealed that long-term holders keep on stacking as short-term holders keep on selling.

    Coinpedia1 day ago

    Shiba Inu Price Plunge Hard! Should You Buy the Ongoing Dip?

    Shiba Inu Price needs to climb back above $0.000007. If SHIB Price is able to break through this resistance, it...

    Techcrunch2 days ago

    UBS investment makes Byju’s the most valuable startup in India – TechCrunch

    Edtech giant Byju’s has become the most valuable startup in India after raising about $350 million in a new tranche...

    CNBC2 days ago

    GameStop sales rise 25% as retailer chases e-commerce growth, says it may sell 5 million shares

    GameStop sales rose 25% in the fiscal first quarter as the company focuses on e-commerce and tries to stage a...

    Review

      Select language

      Trending