With growth numbers that can not be denied, women are joining the ranks of business owners and contributing to the economy more than ever.
Over the past nine years, the number of women-owned firms has grown at a rate five times faster than the national average increasing 45% since 2007. There are currently an estimated 11.3 million women-owned businesses, employing nearly 9 million people and generating over $1.6 trillion in revenues.*
To celebrate the continued growth of women-owned businesses and to kick-off National Women’s Small Business month, we’re highlighting five business owners who are making their unique mark in business:
Shannon has worked both as a medical office manager and in medical recruiting so she understands the culture of both which gives her an advantage over other recruiters when it comes to finding the best staff.
“The challenge all along has been: how do I wear all the hats by myself? Payroll, HR, pricing out different insurance policies, vendors that drop the ball or don’t bill you correctly – those were the types of things I had no real frame of reference for how time consuming they would be.”
The Takeaway: Having a variety of experiences can be an asset, but it’s critical to know when you’re in over your head and need to hire help. You simply can’t do it all.
Abundant Style, Doylestown, PA
Type of Business: Plus-Size Consignment
Deb took her own personal experience of weight loss surgery and turned it into her plus-size consignment business. She saw that women in her same situation were losing weight fast and didn’t want to spend a fortune on clothes they went through quickly.
“After 6 years in my location, trying to make it work, I finally realized that I needed to look for a new location. I needed to be on a busy street in a more upscale demographic.”
The Takeaway: Being able to personally identify with your customers’ experience can help create a unique niche and loyal customer base. Location matters, especially in retail, and is essential for growth.
Nina noticed that people have less and less time to make delicious and unique snack foods for their everyday gatherings like family nights, watching the game, or relaxing on the patio or by the pool. Her solution: a line of dips, sauces, marinades, and fondues that are delicious and easy to prepare.
“We make our food from premium ingredients and prepare it in creative ways. I am very happy to make this a true family business with my daughter, Rosina. We enjoy cooking together and getting out to stores to share our creations, but to really expand we needed more inventory.”
The Takeaway: You have to be passionate about what you do, believe in your product, and be willing to sell, sell, sell it.
After working in early childhood education for over 20 years, Heather partnered with a friend to open a small school that gives children and their families a premier early experience.
“We were in business nine months when it became clear that our little school house would not be able to house our expanding programs. We began negotiations for another, larger building directly across the highway. When a competitor closed, we took the opportunity to add the USDA Federal Food Program, but that required training and updated food prep and pantry areas.”
The Takeaway: Adding new space and programs can be intimidating, but it’s important to be able to capitalize on the opportunities that come your way.
After being downsized from her role as a business manager, Tya launched her own business and event management firm. She saw that small to mid-sized businesses didn’t always have the expertise they needed on staff. She could fill that void helping with strategic planning, program and product creation and implementation, and recently added: special events.
“We have customers that have been with us since we started. That’s one of the highest honors a business can receive. Why are our clients as committed to us as we are to them? We know what they’re shooting for before they do, we know how to craft the fastest way to get there, and we know how to help them articulate their vision.”
The Takeaway: Go where your customers lead you. Listen to what they need and develop products and services that will fit their needs and help you both grow.
These five women have created small businesses with big impact, and there’s a lot to learn from their experiences. Congratulations and keep up the good work!
* From The 2016 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report Commissioned by American Express OPEN
Our mission at Swift Capital is to unleash the potential of every small business by providing them with fair and convenient access to working capital. We harness data and technology alongside personalized human expertise to see the true potential in every business. Did you like this post? Tell us what you’d like to see on our blog. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.