This Saturday November 27th, small business owners across the country are asking you to join them for Small Business Saturday. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), women own 9 million businesses. Small business, in particular, accounts for 75% of new jobs. So we asked these single wo men business owners to tell us the key qualities that make their business a success and keep their local economies thriving.
A Life In Balance
Randi Bussin, Founder of Aspire!, is a career reinvention and personal brand strategist in the Greater Boston area. She says even though it’s tempting to put all your energy into your business’ success, a life in balance is more important. And she knows—she’s run two businesses and is now the single mom of an adopted daughter. She recommends practical tactics like hiring a great team to rely on; making sure you take time off; making your family a priority; and even a simple reminder to get enough sleep. Randi adds that this balance will allow you as a single business owner to start each day with energy, enthusiasm, and a positive outlook.
Stand Out And Be Powerful
Rebekkah Hilgraves is a self-described, twice-divorced President at the helm of a small-but-ambitious national, integrated marketing agency in Tennessee. She agrees that it really is still a tough market out there. To be powerful in an uncertain market, Rebekkah says it’s smart to stand out from your competition and make sure you use the power of social media effectively. Her firm, SheTech helps small businesses broadcast their digital updates all at once, keeping their feeds fresh and relevant. She also suggests asking questions about pain points–“How do you manage cash flow during your peak season”—can really engage a potential customer base and can put you in an expert position.
Hands ON Hands OFF
There’s a time to supervise everything and a time to be hands off. Knowing where your business is in terms of growth can point to where you need to be. Bibby Gignilliant, author, professional chef, Founder and CEO of Parties that Cook (San Francisco, Seattle, and Chicago) suggests that it’s key to get the right partner. If you can’t find one at the time, it’s better to go it alone and hire a contractor until you’re sure. Bibby says that most businesses fail because the owner remains a technician well after the business is up and running. Ideally, at that growth point, the owner should be working on the business vs. in the business. Her business helps build operational harmony through their corporate cooking events which build teamwork, inspire camaraderie and collaboration.
Tell Your Story Well
You’ve heard of the “elevator pitch” or your “2 minute story”. You should be able to summarize the benefits a client will receive in about a minute or two. Every communication, from your voice mail system through a mass media ad should echo that story consistently. Christina Daigneault, Founder and President of Orchard Strategies, Inc. in New York City invites clients to get their story heard and raise the visibility and profitability of their business, using the PR firm’s expertise. You should have a clear idea of the benefits and unique selling points you offer, whether you use a professional to help or not. After all, if you, the owner can’t articulate that—how will your clients get it?
American Express will give a $25 credit to 100,000 of its cardholders who pledge to use their cards at independent businesses on November 27th.
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