March 8, 2019 Inspiration en_US In honor of International Women's Day, we reached out to several savvy women business owners to find and share their secrets to success. Six women business owners share their secrets for success

Six women business owners share their secrets for success

By Cathie Ericson March 8, 2019

Women-owned businesses are a force to be recognized: According to the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), there are more than 11.6 million women-owned firms, which collectively employ nearly 9 million people and account for $1.7 trillion in sales.

In honor of International Women’s Day, we reached out to several savvy women business owners to find and share their secrets to success.

Put Values First

“It’s paramount to base your business around a set of values that outline who you are and what you do. Although you may find these evolve over time, it’s helpful to have something to look back on that grounds why you exist as a business—and can be especially useful in those early stages where money is so important, and you may find yourself compromising to make a quick profit. Having these values written down and placed somewhere visible provides something concrete to refer to. This reminds me of my intentions as I make decisions and confirms what I love about what I do and why I continue to do it.”

— Laura Butler, Owner, Mennt

Embrace Technology

“As new tools and technologies become available, I realize now how much easier it is to build them into my life so I don’t have to keep everything in my head. As I work to build habits and routines around technology tools, I find that I have more time for creativity and building the fun side of my business. And I’ve learned you have to delegate, so you have the mental and physical resources to execute on your life’s mission.”

— Karen Gordon-Brown, Founder and Managing Director, Cottages Capital Investment Group

Make Every Dollar Count

“You can have big, audacious dreams for your business on a non-profit budget. The goal should be to accomplish as much as you can while spending as little as possible to further your business. Don’t spend money on your ‘future’ business; focus on what is needed for your ‘today’ business. Make sure you understand your numbers and remember that margin is not as important as how much money is in your pocket at the end of the day. If you keep your expenses low, you will become profitable much sooner. Overhead is not your friend, so minimize it as much as possible.”

— Jeri Vasquez, Owner. Kindred Cooks Caramels

Seek Advice—But Trust Yourself

“Being a successful entrepreneur requires that you trust yourself. I believe in seeking out advice, but no matter how much knowledge someone else has to offer you, it’s ultimately going to be you at the helm, and you have to play the lead role. You can get 10 different answers from 10 ‘smart’ people on how to do the same thing, but it’s up to you to choose the plan you are going to follow. If you know you are meant to be a business owner, it’s going to require an uncommon measure of steadfast determination to be successful.”

— Eva Jane, Owner of Eva Jane Beauty/Creator of The Makeup Bullet

Getting Help When You Need It Isn’t a Sign of Weakness

You have to be willing to ask for help, but a lot of entrepreneurs, especially female entrepreneurs, are hesitant to ask for help or delegate tasks to others. But asking for help doesn’t negate the reality that you can still be your own biggest fan. I find it is counter to the tendencies of our society to be confident enough to go after what you want without approval from someone else. I have believed in myself and this company since day one, and have never wavered despite criticism from others. I know that my dream is attainable and that I can make things that people love, and that’s all that matters.”

— Janna Willoughby-Lohr, Owner of Papercraft Miracles

Find Your Cheerleaders

“Surround yourself with those who unabashedly believe in you. Entrepreneurs can face lots of ups and downs so it’s crucial to find a community of people who are in a similar life situation and get where you are coming from. And those who are trying to bring you down? ‘Marie Kondo’ them; in other words, get rid of those who don’t spark joy. And, if you’re wondering if you can really do what you’re trying to do, take advice from one of my favorite movies, ‘Sing.’ And…just sing! The only way to conquer your fear and get over the hurdle is to just do it. Then you’ll know you can do it, because you’ve done it, and you can continue to succeed.”

— Sailaja Joshi CEO and Founder, Bharat Babies

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Cathie Ericson is a freelance writer who specializes in small business, workplace issues, personal finance and health. She lives in Portland, Ore. @CathieEricson Read more