Good advice

A Sarasota CEO on How Remote Work Has Changed the Game for Female Business Owners

Nicole Cardone, a cofounder of the sorbet manufacturer SorBabes, offers tips on how to be a great business leader.

By Allison Forsyth July 1, 2022

SorBabes founder Nicole Cardone and business partner Deborah Gorman

SorBabes founder Nicole Cardone (left) and her business partner Deborah Gorman.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit our region, business structures also changed. Many corporate offices shifted to remote work or hybrid schedules, and many women were forced to leave careers behind to stay home with their children. The upheaval pushed many women to start their own businesses.

Nicole Cardone is one of the founders of Sarasota's SorBabes, which makes and sells frozen sorbet bars. She's no stranger to shifting gears in business. She began SorBabes after losing her corporate job during the Great Recession and has worked to make SorBabes fill grocery store aisles nationwide.

"Covid caused us all to pivot in ways we never thought," says Cardone. "Sometimes you have to take risks for the good of your business, and other times, you are forced to change. Either way, never be afraid to change things up, or start from scratch."

Cardone has more business tips she's picked up over the course of her career:

Organize your time by the hour.

Rather than just organizing your physical work-from-home space, Cardone suggests organizing your time, too. Block out your schedule by the hour. Dedicate certain days to certain tasks.

Cardone reserves one day a week for content creation, one for team check-ins and another for billing and administration.

"Working by the day, even by the hour, relieves stress, especially if you're also a working mom," she says. "I know what's expected of me each day, and if I get everything on the checklist done, I can begin to work on big picture items."

Remember your business mission.

Starting a new business can be chaotic. Don't forget why you started in the first place. Ask yourself, "Who are you in business for?" and, "Who are your trying to serve or help?" Cardone says writing down your business' mission to look at daily will help remind you what's important.

"Always check that your business decisions are in line with your mission," says Cardone.

Build community with other business owners.

"I think of all my contemporary brands as my comrades," says Cardone. "It's us against the huge conglomerates."

Join small business coalitions, organizations and Facebook groups where you can ask for advice and offer suggestions. Startup can't typically afford consultants, so start with advice from your peers instead, she says.

Use social media.

Cardone recommends posting often and with content that is true to your brand's voice. Respond to customer comments to show the brand is trustworthy and interactive. Check out what other successful businesses are posting for inspiration.

Schedule quality in-person time with your team.

"Remote work has allowed us to become more intentional with co-worker time," says Cardone. "Instead of mindlessly passing each other in the office every day, we are setting aside brainstorming sessions, group trips and team-building exercises. This proves quality is more important than quantity."

Remember: Business owners are also human.

"Working from home has normalized the concept that we're all human," says Cardone. "Sometimes our Zoom backgrounds will have a rogue dog or crying child in the background, messy homes or other life circumstances. This has become more acceptable."

Covid-19 has changed the framework of the business world and the stereotypical "businessperson." Cardone says this has leveled the playing field for many women who have been embarrassed about leaving work to pick up kids from school or caring for a sick child.

"We can use this humanity to our advantage, and restructure work schedules to prioritize quality of work versus time spent in the office," says Cardone.

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