Heidi Forbes Öste is a Social Strategist with 20+ years working with new technologies, knowledge management and education technology and communities as independent consultant. Last 7 Years in tool development and lecturing, 2 years advisory and teaching. Officially currently registered as: 2BalanceU AB, Social Strategy Consulting )
Tell us about your business.
I advise and teach The Art of Social Strategy to leadership in organizations large and small. The Art of Social Strategy is a methodology that I have developed over the years enabling individuals and organizations to maximize benefit from their social interactions both online and face-to-face. The methodology is drawn from over 20 years of experience working with social tools, interactive technologies and developing training programs and communities. I work with leadership of global NGOs and corporations, with entrepreneurs in both developed and developing markets, as well as guest lecturing at universities.
Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?
I have always worked as an “independent contractor” more out of chance than anything else. I have been fortunate enough to move from one contract to another, based on the need for my expertise. That said, I have considered being “employed” now and then. Then I realize that it would never give me the flexibility that I so treasure.
What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
My passion and thirst for learning more and the desire to share and help others has always been a driver for me. My grandmother instilled me with the curiosity about knowledge and other people and cultures and taught me the vital social etiquette to survive in a global marketplace. Although she was never a career-women, but rather an artist, I consider her my greatest inspiration.
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
I am always proud and feel privileged to be asked to speak at global professional women’s conferences (this year: Global Summit of Women, Women’s International Networking, Women for Sustainable Growth) about social strategy. That said, when I teach leadership, I get the most satisfaction. It is a delight to see that a-ha moment occur.
What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?
1. “Never turn down an invitation, you never know who you might meet, and you can always leave if it is not for you. “
2. Always remember to say “thank you”
What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?
Effective use of social media:
Twitter- keeping tweets contextual, retweeting others contextual tweets and following only others that provide context to my tweets
LinkedIn- follow up, recommend, connect only to those who I have a basis to provide a recommendation or likewise.
What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
You never know who you can learn from or who might be a future referral. Treat others with respect and listen to their needs. It will come back to you. Networking is critical to keep your ideas fresh and make new contacts too.
Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business?
http://tweetdeck.com ~ Great for managing multiple social media accounts output
Do you have any new projects coming up? If so, please tell us about it.
I have just begun a collaborative project which I am very excited about, having worked alone for so many years. We are running a Leadership Development program with workshops, advisory and keynotes on Leadership in the New Social Paradigm. It is great to work with such an inspiring team.
What do you do for fun/relaxation?
Travel, ski, sea kayak, spend time with my husband and two kids.
What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?
Publish my interactive book, “The Art of Social Strategy”
You want to write a book on _
The Art of Social Strategy. Almost done!
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Be curious, take chances. Remember it is lonely at the top, so don’t be afraid to say hello to women there. Solidarity is key, for all women. Remember Madeleine Albright’s moto “ there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”
What’s the best way for our readers to connect with you?
This is a continuation of our Women in Business Interviews for Small Business Week kickoff. If you would like to be considered for the WE Magazine for Women, Women in Business Channel check out our interview criteria! WE would love to share your story with our readers!