If you’re not growing, you’re dying. You’ve probably heard that saying before in business and in life. And while growth can be uncomfortable and scary and invigorating and fun—often all at the same time—it is important for women-owned businesses to actively embrace and pursue it. Because with growth, comes tremendous rewards that are well beyond the financial.
It’s also important to remember that growth means different things to different people. You can grow your expertise or leadership capability, or grow as a team in both numbers and knowledge. You can grow your product or service offering. You can expand to new markets or even overseas. Or on a personal level, you can grow your voice on the advocacy front. I could go on and on with ways to grow professionally and personally, I am sure you get the picture that growth is subjective and highly personal.
That’s why we have made the theme of this issue of NAWBO ONE “Managing Growth.” In it you’ll find articles on recruiting the best talent and overcoming the biggest challenges in growing your business to the next level, plus a poll on the things that would most propel your business growth if you had access to them. Growing a business can feel like a lonely experience, especially when you experience setbacks, and NAWBO has great mentors, leaders and corporate partners who offer guidance and advice. I hope you find some of these insights helpful, informative and encouraging.
Meanwhile, even if you’re a small business that prefers to stay small, here are 10 reasons you’ll want to consider to find your own unique ways to grow:
1) You will increase your own earning power—now, who doesn’t want that?
2) You’ll be able to pay your best employees more to make them feel valued and rewarded for their work.
3) You’ll also continue to challenge your employees who want to grow professionally with you and are excited to take on new opportunities.
4) You’ll be able to help your customers with even more products and services that meet their needs as they grow.
5) You’ll be able to reach new customers who will also greatly benefit from your products and services.
6) You’ll create additional jobs, which fuels overall economic growth (today’s 11.3 million women owned businesses already employ 8.9 million people and you’ll add to that impressive number).
7) You’ll stay ahead of your competition that are no doubt trying to grow and stay two steps ahead of you.
8) You’ll position yourself as an industry leader—and better yet, a thought leader in your areas of expertise, which can open doors to new opportunities.
9) You’ll renew your excitement and passion for your business because as challenging as growth can be at times, it’s never dull.
10) The potential for where you and your employees can go is unlimited when you have a growth mindset.
Recently, NAWBO surveyed our members, as we do each year to get a pulse of where they are in their businesses, what they care most about and where they’re headed. Here’s a look at the results related to our members’ growth:
- 32% plan to hire more staff in 2017
- Lines of credit are the top financial avenue members use to support their growth; followed by bank loans
- The top advocacy issue that most impacts our member’s business growth and success is taxes and regulations; followed by workforce issues and government contracts
- Our members are personally benefitting from their growth; 25% have given themselves a raise in the past year and 23% in the past two years
What are your business growth goals this year? And what’s the one best piece of advice you’ve ever received about managing growth? I’d love to hear from you!
—Teresa Meares, NAWBO National Chair
These 16 Women Know What It Takes to Grow
It takes an enterprising woman to grow a business to the next level. Congratulations to these 16 NAWBO members and leaders who have been awarded by our partners at Enterprising Women magazine as 2017 Enterprising Women of the Year: