Only 3 percent of women-owned businesses earn revenues of $1 million or more annually. While this may sound like a small number, it equates to 300,000 businesses out of the 10 million woman-owned companies in the U.S. These businesses are having a tremendous impact on the nation’s economic health. A study jointly conducted by the Center for Women’s Business Research and the National Women’s Business Council showed that women-owned firms are driving more than 23 million jobs, directly and indirectly.
Within NAWBO, approximately 20 percent of our members are in this category. However, in the industry, NAWBO is often thought of as an organization for smaller businesses. Our chapter leaders have reported losing members who “outgrew” NAWBO or “graduated” to other organizations that specifically focus on owners of larger businesses. Now that is changing!
The Membership Committee within the National Board of Directors took on the task of creating a program for our multi-million-dollar business owners. They researched other organizations and interviewed multiple members within this demographic. Jeanette Armbrust on the Membership Committee states that, “We discovered that these members want to develop relationships with peer business owners, they want access to sponsors and influencers and they want educational programming on topics applicable to their business at its current size and for its continued growth.” Using the information gathered, the Membership Committee proposed a new program that was approved by the Board in January and is now being rolled out to members.
Called “The NAWBO Circle of Influence,” this program is being launched to provide programming and benefits to our Premier and Virtual members who own 7-, 8- and 9-figure businesses. NAWBO understands that as a business grows, the needs of its owner evolve. The Circle will give these members a peer network of other WBOs with similar challenges and issues in growing and running their businesses. For the first year, only 50 charter members will be accepted into the Circle, to allow us to more easily manage the roll-out, gather data about how things are working and adjust accordingly. The Circle will open to additional members in spring 2017.
Circle members will have a separate agenda at the Women’s Business Conference in Columbus, Ohio, with workshops, speakers and activities designed specifically to address their needs. Circle members will form Mastermind Groups to help each other address challenges and solve problems. There will be two annual retreats for Circle members to gather in person. Additional benefits are being developed and will be introduced over the course of the year.
The Circle will be a competitive advantage for those members who join and participate. If you would like more information about the Circle, join the informational chat scheduled for Wednesday, May 11th at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET using the following call-in number: (872) 240-3311, Access Code: 726-563-237. The Membership Committee will be on the line to answer your questions. You can also get more information at www.nawbo.org/about/nawbo-circle-influence. Please note that because only Premier and Virtual members can join the Circle, you must be logged in to the website to access this page.
Lynda Bishop, Chair of the Presidents Assembly Steering Committee, states that “The Circle of Influence will be a game-changer for NAWBO, as it will give our chapters a high-value recruiting tool to attract new members to NAWBO, provide a true business growth track, as well as allow us to provide relevant benefits for our members of all sizes.”