int(123) Business Tips Archives - Charell Star
Tags Posts tagged with "Business Tips"

Business Tips

A lot of people look at the modeling industry and say ‘oh, those girls are born that way and become supermodels’. But there’s a heck of a lot of models that looked way better than me… Supermodels are made, not born.” – Tyra Banks

Tyra Banks is a supermodel like no other.

Tyra Banks 3

Very few women in the world succeed in earning the title of Supermodel and even fewer transcend the word entirely. Tyra Lynne Banks is part of that unique class of women who climbed to the top of her industry and molded it to fit her goals.

She’s smart, articulate and gorgeous and leveraged those traits to become a model mogul with her own hit TV show, endorsement deals and makeup line. Not everything she has touched has been a runway hit (her makeup line is still a work in progress), but she’s obtained a level of success that many would be proud to emulate.

Banks’ has dropped tons of business knowledge throughout her career, but here are our favorite top model Tyra Banks tips to transcend your business:

Be Strategic

Tyra Banks 1

“It really is about a strategy and looking at the white space and saying okay, what’s not there? How can I penetrate? How can I stand out?”

When it comes to what you do with yourself career-wise, it’s about being strategic; being conscious and thoughtful in taking what you have and making it work for you.

The best way to accomplish this is to look for places where your uniqueness and difference can be a positive. Instead of rushing to the place that everyone else is going, look for the underserved niches.

Build your personal brand

Tyra Banks 2

Part of being strategic is working on your personal brand – what you become known for, what you stand for.

It would be easy to think, “of course, Tyra Banks has a brand – she had the modeling agencies creating a brand around her”. But that’s about the brand of the products she was modeling for.

Personal branding is about the strengths that give you your competitive advantage and distinctiveness relative to everyone else. It includes elements such as your ethos, work-ethic, creativity and resourcefulness.

Banks’ personal brand includes being a risk taker, a fearless innovator, highly exacting about excellence, and confident to stand up for who she is and what she wants.

An important aspect of personal branding is about making it visible to others. If you know what your brand is but no one else does, you don’t really have a brand.

It’s impressive how Tyra Banks put herself out there, leveraged her brand and kept it on point through so many different iterations of her career, from modeling to acting to talk shows to her own cosmetics line. And she’s not done yet!

To what extent are your key stakeholders aware of your personal brand? And how could you keep extending your personal brand to that next stage you aspire to?

Be determined, yet adapt

Tyra Banks 4

 “I always had it in me to fight and find a way.”

“Fight” and “find a way” simply means to be determined and to adapt when the going gets tough.

Determination is about the “why” or our purpose. Alongside determination is the ability to adapt the “what” and the “how” as the situation changes.

What’s your bigger “why” and how does your determination (“to fight”) and ability to adapt (“and find a way”) serve it?

Confidence is key

Tyra Banks 5

Tyra is a strong proponent of cultivating confidence and self-esteem and encourages others to do the same. Much of this comes from her personal experiences and struggles as a child.

When she was 11, she grew 3 inches taller and lost 30 pounds in 3 months, and her classmates taunted her for looking different. This made her feel insecure and alone and led her to think that being different was bad.

Thankfully, she had mentors and role models who helped her overcome this, which contributed strongly to her subsequent success.

Confidence is a fundamental mindset that we need if we are to feel comfortable to take calculated risk and spot opportunities, and then reach out and grab hold of them.

You need to be cultivating your confidence and spending time with those who help you believe in yourself.

Make the most of what you have going for you

Tyra Banks 6

“While it’s crucial to know what your assets are in this life, it’s simply not enough. What truly matters is knowing what to do with them.”

Whatever your set of assets and strong suits, it is important to go forth and make the most of them.

And while you’re doing that, remember to be strategic, build your personal brand, be determined yet adapt when you need to, be confident, and keep investing in yourself.

-XOXO | Not Just A Girl In A Dress Staff

New York Fashion Week was a jam packed collection of runway shows, clothing previews, celebration parties, makeovers, outfit changes and red carpet photos. Of course, there was lots of glitz and glamour at every turn, but there was also a lot of substance peeking out from behind all chiffon and selfie sticks this year. If you paid really close attention, there were endless business lessons being displayed that could help an entrepreneur in any field get a head. The best business tips usually come from the most unexpected situations and Fashion Week was no exception.

Here are top five lessons that I observed during my NYFW experience that you should apply to your business and life today.

Follow #RoleModelsNotRunwayModels

Chanel Cathey, Viacom Director of Corporate Communications
Chanel Cathey, Viacom Director of Corporate Communications

I picked this on up at the Carrie Hammer Role Models, Not Runway Models show that highlighted the fact that women with substance have the type of style we should idealize. The show included 27 business leaders and had them strut their highly-accomplished stuff down the runway in exclusive professional designs from Carrie Hammer. The Role Models included women like Tayla Colton of Keep A Child Alive, Tolu Olubunmi a Dream Act advocate, and Michelle Herrera Mulligan Editor in Chief of Latina Cosmo.

The Business Lesson: The people you choose to emulate should be leaders in the truest sense of the word.

With the Right #SquadGoals Anything is Possible

Essence Street Style 2015
Essence Street Style 2015

Pulling off a Fashion Week event is a major coup, but no one does it alone. Everywhere you look there are teams of people working to make magic happen. Combine that with the throngs of men and women who come out to support their friends and pitch in a helping hand when needed and you’ve got one unstoppable force.

The Business Lesson: Surround yourself with people who support your goals and mission if you want to get ahead.

There is No Such Thing As An Overnight Success

BlackPhumlelele Show
BlackPhumlelele Show

Many of the designers I spoke fell into two camps. Some had been designing for years and had a desire early in life to create clothing that showcased their creativity. Others became designers because a lack of clothing options in the marketplace that met a personal need. Neither group felt that their success was instantaneous. They all put in years of hard-work, sleepless nights, large personal financial investment and overcame countless challenges to get to this point in their careers.

The Business Lesson: There are no shortcuts to creating a successful business. You have to be willing to give it your all and work harder and longer than anyone else if you want to get to the top.

Shake off Losses Quickly And Focus on The Next Win

KIA STYLE360 Hosts Serena Williams Signature Collection By HSN Photo Credit - WireImage for STYLE360
KIA STYLE360 Hosts Serena Williams Signature Collection By HSN Photo Credit – WireImage for STYLE360

This is one that the pros live by. Everyone (Ok. Everyone I know) was disappointed with Serena Williams’ semi-final loss at the US Open. But no one was surprised when she flawlessly debuted her new collection at Fashion Week a few short day later. She is known for her ability to keep all her projects moving forward and execute her vision according to plan. That is an amazing skill to have in every field.

The Business Lesson: A good businessman or woman doesn’t let one defeat hamper their entire game.

Check Your Ego At the Door

Even with the all the fast-paced events, long lines and high stress moments, Fashion Week continues to be one of the best NY experiences because everyone is so down to earth. From the PR girls checking the lists at the doors and finding room for that person who did not RSVP, to the assistants running to grab extra bottles of water or clean a spill off the floor, to the security guard who becomes the de facto bathroom attendant/taxi concierge; everyone is working hard to make sure guests have a really good time and seem to go out of their way to make it happen.

The Business Lesson: To succeed you need to check your inner-diva at the door and be willing to do things outside your “job description” to get things done.


I’m looking forward to the next NYFW and all the awesome business lessons I’ll see in action there. Of course, I’ll share the best tips with you. 2015-09-22 00.09.23

– à bientôt

Charell Star | A Girl In A Dress

Mark Lonergan | Guest Director for The Big Apple Circus 2015-16 season

The Big Top is probably the last place you’d look for good business advice, but Artistic Director Mark Lonergan will have you trading in b-school for clown college in no time. The Ontario native has been directing clowns at Parallel Exit a preeminent physical theatre company in New York City for the past 10 years. In that time, he has learned a thing or two about ways to hone your craft and deliver the best results to turn strangers into fans. We caught up with Mark before the American Circus Awards to get his best tips for finding success in any industry: 

What inspired you to become a performer?

It was seeing the films of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton that inspired my love for clowning and circus.



What type of performance do you specialize?

Physical Comedy and Clowning.

What is the hardest part of what you do?

The hardest part of my work is to find the best possible way to inspire laughter.  It’s very delicate, and can be altered by tiny adjustments in timing, energy, and intent.

So, have you ever performed poorly? What did you do to bounce back?   

To bounce back from a poor showing, one needs to have faith and confidence in their own abilities.  An off-night, or a show that is not well received is a learning experience, and should be treated as such.

I know the American Circus Awards is an event to celebrate this artistry, but why is it so important?

Circus in America is not yet regarded in the way it is elsewhere in the world.  Most Americans experience the circus as children, having been exposed to either the biggest commercial enterprises, or the smallest rough-and-tumble productions.  The field has grown artistically over the past few decades and now offers a wide variety of artistic choices.  These awards help legitimize the various choices available in the country.

So, do you think recognition is important in the business world as well?  

Yes, absolutely.  The circus is a business – show business – and operates with all of the same obstacles and experiences.

What advice would you give a business professional seeking to become a expert/star in their field?

Dedicate yourself to that pursuit with your entire being – research the field thoroughly, make contacts, work with as many smart and talented people as possible, and develop your skills/product until you are confident and ready – however long that takes.

That seems like sound business advice that every entrepreneur should try.

à bientôt

Charell Star | A Girl In A Dress



NY ResolutionsGreat entrepreneurs know that making plans and setting goals are a sure fire way to create success, but creating arbitrary resolutions for your business can undermine your growth and even make you demotivated. When determining your New Year’s resolutions make sure they are realistic, obtainable and authentic to you. Big blanket resolutions don’t work nearly as well as ones that are aligned to your personal and business life and habits. Here are three types of resolutions that you should avoid so you can have a stellar 2015:

Avoid this statement: I plan to spend more time with my family/friend/spouse.

Everyone wants to spend more time with their love ones, but “more” doesn’t always equate to better quality time. A more focused approach may help you get 1:1 time that you are craving.

Instead, try this: I plan to block out one additional hour each week for family/friend/spouse time.

Scheduling one hour during the day each week on your calendar strictly for connecting with family and friends, ensures that you are keeping them top of mine at all times. This additional hour of family/friend time can be used to call loved ones who you haven’t seen in a while, to grab coffee with a dear friend, or to craft a cute e-card for you sweetie. The point is to disconnect from work and be totally focused creating a quality experience for those who you love.

Avoid this statement: I plan to double/triple my profit

There is nothing wrong with wanting to grow your business, but your business goals can’t be made on a whim. Our economy may be improving, but strong businesses just don’t grow this fast.

Instead, try this: I plan to spend one additional hour each week on my best and worst clients.

Spending time finding out what your clients love and hate about your business is a great and easy way to improve your bottom line. You can pick 2 clients each week and call and ask them for ways you can improve. Your clients will be impressed that you would commit that type of time to their business needs and will provide you real ways to increase your sales. It will also help you (1) deepen and grown your relationship with clients that love your service and (2) fix and improve your relationship with clients that are on the fence about staying with your service, which of course will lead to more sales.

Avoid this statement: I plan (for my business) to be featured in NY Times/Fortune/Time Magazine.

Generating press coverage is a great way to grow awareness for your business, but focusing on getting on a top 10 list instead of your daily grind will lead to disappointment. Besides being one of a 100 million companies that are pitching reporters at these outlets, your business story (although amazing to you) is probably not unique enough yet to appeal to the larger press outlets.

Instead, try this: I plan remind my clients to refer and recommend us to their networks.

Remember this rule of business: press coverage is nice, but sales are better. Rather than resolving to be covered by the media giants, make a plan to turn your clients into your ambassadors. After each sale, ask your clients to write you a review on Yelp or Google and ask your best clients to refer you to their friends, family and co-workers. Having positive people reviewing and referring you is a more effective way to show the press that you have a great business while keeping your business booming.

In the end, your New Year’s business resolutions should be about taking the right small steps to keep your company moving in the right direction.

Verizon Team Members with Rodney Sampson and Troy Brown

Growing a business is a huge undertaking and came sometimes leave you feeling overwhelmed. Every decision that you make rest solely at your feet and it can be hard to find reputable and affordable resources that can help you make the best decision to support your company’s growth. That’s why I was excited to work on the Verizon Business Forum that took place in Atlanta, GA. The ½ day seminar offered entrepreneurs an opportunity to connect with business leaders and experts to obtain the key information they need to take their business to the next level. Here are the day’s highlights and best expert tips:

The day started with a mix and mingle breakfast for attendees to engage and build new connections. DJ Empress Rah was the guest DJ for the event and she keep the sessions jumping with upbeat tunes.

JasmineAlstonPhotography-84Rodney Sampson, Founder of the Opportunity Hub, kicked off and moderated the event. He opened the day by sharing his top business tips for breaking apart from the competition. The audience took notes feverously as he shared step by step ways for entrepreneurs and small businesses to increase their customer awareness, strengthen their brand and increase their market share. It was great information delivered in very actionable steps. When he was done, hands went flying up for follow up questions. The room was hooked and clearly appreciative that Sampson would share such helpful business incites.

Best Business Takeaway: You need to invest in your own business if you want to be taken seriously. No one will be willing to put skin in the game if you haven’t.

Next up, Sampson introduced Dorinda Walker from Prudential Financial to the stage. Prudential was one of the program’s sponsor-partners and Walker did a short talk on making sure our businesses were protected. She outlined the awesome ways her company is a partner and resource for entrepreneurs and small business owners and highlighted some of Prudential’s key community programs. It was an informative informational and didn’t feel like a sales pitch, which was refreshing. It left us all thinking honestly about how we look at our assets and resources.

Best Business Takeaway: Your company is an asset that you’ve invested your time, money and dreams in. If you won’t protect it who will?

JasmineAlstonPhotography-137Back up to the stage was Sampson. He moderated a panel with three impressive Atlanta business owners: Sonia Booker, author and real estate expert, Mary Parker, founder of ALL(n)1 Security Services Inc, and Sheri Riley founder of GLUE Inc. These ladies brought their unique business perspectives to the conversation and shared their advice and recommendations for creating lasting success.

Best Business Takeaway: Be careful not to pigeonhole your company by only focusing on minority certifications or contracts. There are times when there is actually more competition for the women-owned or Black owned portion of a contract than the contract overall. Focus on being the best service provider/product and go for the largest business opportunity.

Following the panel, we had our first break of the day, but no one wanted to leave the session. Attendees flocked to the panelists and moderator for follow up questions and one-on-one business advice. Each panelist answered questions, exchanged contact information with attendees and provided recommendations on where more information could be found. It was clear that room found value in the information that was being shared.

JasmineAlstonPhotography-13After the non-break break; Sampson introduced the Verizon team to the stage for a presentation on leveraging digital trends to accelerate business growth. The dapper trio shared money saving tech strategies with the room and outlined ways new technologies can put small businesses on the same playing field as some of the biggest competitors. It was really informative and attendees in the room were able to test out some of the technology as Verizon had set up tablets at each seat in the room.

Best Business Takeaway: As your business grows and you add more people on your team; it can be easy to get disconnected from your business foundation. Staying abreast of new tech and digital trends can help you protect your bottom line and simplify your business flow.

JasmineAlstonPhotography-203Next up was lunch, which included a great selection of meal options and sweet treats. They really wanted to keep our energy up for the afternoon sessions. There was also plenty of networking going on between attendees and the event speakers over the break. It was great to see business owners break bread together and plot out ways to help one another.


JasmineAlstonPhotography-226After lunch Verizon raffled off some amazing tech swag. Three lucky attendees won either Nokia Lumia Tablets or Galaxy Note phones. The winners were too cute and excitedly posed for photos with the Verizon team.




JasmineAlstonPhotography-236Sampson introduced our final speaker for the day, Troy Brown – a digital strategist, author and founder of One 50 One. Before breaking into his presentation, Brown took an informal survey of the room to evaluate the group’s level of social media knowledge. After assessing the room, he tailored his talk to focus on their specific business needs. We watched as he crafted an entire social media strategy for one self-proclaimed “non-social” business owner. It was fantastic and everyone in the room walked away with social media tips they could immediately incorporate into their marketing and sales strategy.

Best Business Takeaway: A good social media campaign doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. You can create a strong level of awareness and engagement by targeting the channels your audience frequents and connect with them in an authentic way.

Sampson returned to the stage to thank everyone for coming. Everyone had a really informative time and left feeling motivated to put into practice all the information they learned. The Forum was an amazing experience and provided attendees an unmatched level of access to experts and resources. Hopefully, these tips will help you as you work to establish and grow your business.

à bientôt

Charell Star | A Girl In A Dress

2014-10-25 10.34.52
Bevy Smith Taking Questions From the Audience

Bevy Smith has many titles: TV host, socialite, journalist, speaker; but she is all about being a success business woman first and foremost. I caught up with the Dinner With Bevy founder and Bravo’s Fashion Queens co-host at New York Women in Communication’s Teen Media Day at LIM College. Smith was the event’s keynote speaker and did not disappoint. She shared her non-conventional career journey with a packed audience and used her signature wit to inspire and motivate.

Smith started her career as a receptionist and transitioned herself in several successful opportunities including an advertising sales executive, reporter,  fashion editor, entrepreneur and TV host. Her Dinner With Bevy events have become her trademark platform and connects today’s hottest talent with the world’s top brands. Throughout the years, Smith has been able to make advantageous moves into new business areas because she focuses her energy on things that she is passionate about and doesn’t move onto a new role without mastering her current one.

2014-10-25 10.39.13The “accidental entrepreneur” had this advice to share: “I’ve always followed my interest. I try to work on things that I am really interested in.  When I get assignments or clients that I am passionate about, it makes it all worth it.  Transitioning is about following your passions, so that when you are going through lean times it won’t feel as bad because you are doing something you love.”

Additionally, Smith doesn’t advise just jumping ship before you are ready. “You have to nail these things. You should put one foot in front of the other, but you also have to always make sure that what you are working on right now, you’re present for it. You’re in the moment.”

This is amazing advice for anyone considering a career switch or stepping out on their own to start a new business. Heck, it’s great life advice and only someone as authentic as Bevy Smith would be willing to share it. Cheers to following our passions and mastering our present. And, if you haven’t check out Bevy Smith on Fashion Queens. It’s delightful.

à bientôt

A Girl In A Dress

Brand ambassadors can do a lot for an organization. They can help build WOM (word of mouth) for a particular product or service or act as an extension to your day to day team. The best ambassadors can also help build your tribe or audience showcasing their authentic love for your brand (apple fans, anyone?). Once your find your right ambassadors, you’ll want to cultivate them and build a long lasting relationship with them.

Here are four tips to finding the right brand ambassadors for you:

Determine their Relevancy
A good ambassador makes sense to your target audience and can speak authentically to their needs and wants.

Determine their currency

Sometimes, it is about who you know. Make sure they have the networks, communities and followers that make sense to your audience.

Determine their credibility

They should be able to speak honestly and openly about not only their love for your brand, but for your mission as well.

Determine Your Investment Level

The best brand ambassadors talk about your products positively for free, but that doesn’t mean you’d don’t have to invest in them. Sending a thank you gift or providing access to a new product or service can go a long way to keeping your ambassadors engaged and feeling special.

My Black is Beautiful recently announced their new brand ambassadors in a pretty cool way. They are even rewarding their ambassador with a free trip to Essence Music Festival in New Orleans. If you’re searching for some inspiration to design your own ambassador program check out #MBIB #BIAJourney or the ambassadors’ stories. It might spark some creative ideas for ways to identify and reward your loyalist of fans.


Most professionals like to win in business.  Unfortunately, many of them have no idea how to do it. Some fall into the trap of  believing that mistakes and failures are indications that success is impossible.  The truth is that failing is an integral part of the road to success.

You can’t hope your way to perfection.  You’ve got to try an idea to determine if it’s viable.  You might fail. Yet, every failure brings to mind important questions:  What if I had done things differently?  Would it be the same if I hadn’t worked with this person, or made that deal, or marketed that way? What can I do to improve?  Those questions are exactly what a businessperson needs to ask, so that the next idea is better and you don’t repeat the same mistakes.

The only way to completely prevent failure is to stop moving, stop acting and taking risks and stop trying to be successful altogether.  Imagine if you just stopped trying.  There would be no more failure, but you wouldn’t succeed either.  Failure is permanently fused with success.  There’s no way around it.

Some of the biggest leaders in business have failed big. Instead of giving up, they licked their wounds, compiled their key-learnings and moved forward. Here are examples of failures that should inspire you look at every defeat like a lesson:

Oprah Winfrey- The queen of media was actually fired from her job as a television reporter because she was “unfit for tv.” What would have happened if she had let this crush her dream?

Stephen-King--with-Kindle-001Stephen King –This best selling author’s first book, Carrie, was rejected by no less than 30 publishing houses. How do you bounce back from 30 companies saying, “you don’t have what it takes?”



Vera WangVera Wang – This figure skater failed to make the cut for the Olympic team. Her second career as a fashion editor for Vogue also hit a wall when she was passed over for a promotion to Editor in Chief. How do you keep going when plan A and B, both go awry?





Each of these leaders used their failures to propel themselves forward. In the moment any defeat can feel like the end. If you take the time to analyze the situation you will usually find yourself wiser and prepared to take on new challenges.

What have you learned from your mistakes?


Networking is one of the greatest opportunities to show off your expertise and business. By networking, you’re allowing yourself to showcase your skills in a public domain without actually selling your service or your product to anybody.  This may initially seem like a very difficult thing to do, but it doesn’t have to be. If you equip yourself with the correct tools, skills, and the right attitude, you’ll succeed.

Here are some very important tips that you can follow that will help you successfully network and expand your circle.


canstockphoto6495441Always be prepared. Being unprepared is one of the most common mistakes that a business owner can make. When you are networking your business to other businesses and potential customers, you must make sure that you are as prepared as possible. Always make sure that you carry enough business cards on you to hand out to people. In fact, make sure that you have a lot of them on you at all times, because you never know when you might have to dish out a few here and there.


canstockphoto6866946Always be interesting and unique. Boring businesses and boring people are not good for marketing. If you are looking to stand out from an already crowded market, you must make sure that you and your business are as memorable as possible. You need to make sure people realize that you are offering them something that they cannot get anywhere else, otherwise you will just blend in with the rest of the companies that are also networking. Tell a story about a client you’ve helped, offer a lead or connection or share why you love what you do. Be an original.


canstockphoto13068806Always follow up with the people that you network with. What happens after the initial meet and greet is just as important as the first hello. If you promised to follow up on something, then do it. Otherwise you will lose their respect and confidence. You do not want to just make new contacts; you want to maintain them for a very long period of time.



Follow these important tips and you will be well on your way to becoming a networking master who will essentially boost the sales of your company.


tina fey 1004111. You had an awkward phase.
Tina Fey’s phase was probably worse than yours, and assuredly funnier.  She has no pride about her unattractiveness throughout childhood and most of her adolescence, and it seems that she won’t be upset if that makes you feel better about yourself.

2. You’d like to be the boss one day.
Fey was the head writer for Saturday Night Live for several years before she was the writer/producer/star of ‘30 Rock.’ Bossypants contains straightforward advice about recruiting and motivating a great staff.  Her observations about female leadership, and all of the inane questions that come your way when you’re the boss and a woman, are spot-on, and you’ll want to steal some of her snappy comebacks.

3. You are discouraged about your career.
Tina’s career trajectory will help you relax about making the ‘right’ choices and trust yourself.

4. You want to lose weight.

Read the chapter about Fey’s experience being very thin.

5. You desperately need beauty advice.
If you take the same approach to beauty that Fey does, you’ll never need beauty advice again.

6. You’ve never seen ‘30 Rock.’
Most people have never seen ’30 Rock.’  Critics loved it but not many people ever saw it.  There are some descriptions in the book that are almost as good as the show, so you can pretend you’ve seen it.

7. You need a release.

The book is laugh-out-loud funny.  Read it because it’s fun and you need a diversion.

What book do you plan to read this month?