The third full-week in October is National Business Women’s Week. As an advisor to small business owners, many of whom are women, and as a woman business owner myself, I try to note issues that I observe resonating with women in this circle. Based on these observations, here is some advice with which I think that experienced business owners would largely agree.
7 Things that Women Business Owners Should Embrace
Making Money While it feels good to be able to give back to one’s community through one’s business, and it is wonderful to be able to do what one loves, ultimately, most small business owners work for income, and, ideally, for financial comfort, independence and security. It is important to keep in mind that beyond covering its expenses, a small business needs to be profitable in order for an owner to get anything out of her time and effort. This gains import the longer the owner is involved in running the business rather than earning income, pay raises and promotions elsewhere.
Competitiveness The willingness to compete for things such as market share, brand recognition, development opportunities, strategic alliances, contracts and awards, is often key to being successful. Striving to excel is generally good for a business and a healthy competitive attitude can be a real asset.
Technology We’re living in an age in which almost any business needs to employ technology of some sort – and many need to develop technology – in order to operate competitively. At a minimum, keeping up with industry-relevant technology trends and with socially relevant technology trends, is important for business efficiency and competitiveness.
Personal Branding It is easy to get lost in running one’s business and to forget to think about where how one is thought of and how the business is thought of intersect and diverge. In other words: To what extent does your business reflect upon you? To what extent does your personal image reflect upon your business? What do you want to be known for and what can you do to develop yourself and promote the image that reflects what you value? One’s own image and development, as well as that of one’s business, are important for things such as establishing meaningful connections, taking leadership roles in the community, and future professional opportunities.
Goals & Priorities Keeping sight of one’s goals – personal, profession, and business – helps one stay on track and not lose one’s way. It is saddening when small business owners spend so much time running their business that they later feel like they neglected their family, or missed opportunities to pursue personal or professional interests, or that they were so focused just on keeping the business open that they never focused on saving for retirement.
Me -Time Small business owners work hard; and it is easy for work time to spill over into what was supposed to be time spent not working, and then for family and household obligations to take over all the rest. Personal time – time spent taking care of oneself and doing what one enjoys – is important for recharging oneself and hence also for having energy to put back into one’s business.
Success Envision it. Pursue it. Recognize it. Enjoy it. Embrace it!
At the WU KSBDC, our advisors have personal experience in business ownership which helps us to relate to our clients’ interests and concerns.
Laurie Pieper, Ph.D.
Washburn University KSBDC
America’s SBDC Kansas