Women Business Owners: Fad or Trend?

business-womenAre you an employee or an entrepreneur? Is it a job or a career? Are these options mutually exclusive? Can you develop a business on the side or must it be a full-time commitment? These are just some of the questions many of us grapple with in the course of our lives. Timing may not be perfect, new skills need to be learned, financing acquired, and relationships developed and/or managed. Most importantly, do you have a vision and are you passionate about your business?

KICKSTART Your Transition is one of 11.6 million businesses nationally that are owned by women. Women-owned businesses employ more than 9 million people and contribute an economic impact of $1.7 trillion in revenue.

To put this in perspective, if U.S.-based women-owned businesses were their own country, they would have the fifth-largest GDP in the world, trailing closely behind Germany and ahead of countries including France, the United Kingdom and Italy. Women-owned firms are not a small, niche market but are a significant contributor and major player in the overall economy.

Women have strongly caught the entrepreneurial spirit and are leveraging opportunities to create and run their own businesses. According to an American Express analysis of Census Bureau figures, between 1997 and 2014 alone, the number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. rose by 68 percent, twice the growth rate for businesses owned by men and nearly 2.5% times the rate for all companies.

Women-owned businesses make up more than half (52.0 percent) of all businesses in health care and social assistance sectors, and they are making a real impact in other industry sectors, including educational services (45 percent) and administrative support and waste management services (44 percent). Many of these businesses are small to mid-size but have grown to more than $1 million in revenue. Meanwhile, the number of women-owned firms with $10 million or more in annual sales has increased 57 percent over the past decade.

Does this data inspire or discourage you? There are many ways to begin to collect your own information to determine if you are on the right track and if business ownership is a good fit for you. What we do know is that more women than ever have been inspired to take a risk and that is not an insignificant trend.


Is Your Business Card a Bonus or a Bust?

be memorableI love business cards. Each one that I’ve designed or collaborated with a business partner to create, has been my very favorite. There’s excitement at the initial stage of development when you are naming your business and considering what the colors, logo and messaging will be. Finding the right shade of red, the most appealing fonts and the graphic generated even more anticipation of our KICKSTART Your Transition, career coaching and consulting business launch.

However, some clients may not share this perspective and get stuck on creating a masterpiece, but don’t know how to begin. If you’ve recently been laid-off by your employer, or in career transition, designing an attractive business card is likely not a high priority. How will you describe yourself if you don’t have a job? Omit a title or use Consultant in your field as yet to be named. What if you have a full-time job and also plan a side business, not related to your primary career? Can you have more than one business card? Many people carry multiple cards. Some clients feel that technology has made them obsolete, so why bother at all? Technology may replace cards in the future, but for now, it’s still the easiest way to share contact info, especially with many people at once.

Aren’t you dating yourself when you ask to exchange business cards?
Make no mistake about it, the business card is the universally accepted ice-breaker for business opportunists. The simple request to exchange cards is an instant conversation starter. Use it to learn more and engage with the person in front of you.

Cards can be easily ordered on-line and turned around quickly, or you can take the longer route and work with a graphic designer. The purpose of a card, is to be informative but not encyclopedia like with too much data or confusing text. This is not necessarily a one-time-only card. While there’s a range in cost, it’s generally quite reasonable to print hundreds.

• Choose the company with care and avoid *FREE* cards (Free is printed on the reverse)
• Select heavier card stock
• Keep the back blank with a matte finish (good for notes), the front can be glossy
• Keep it simple- a square or round card may be memorable but won’t fit in my card holder

What’s most important?
• Your name, company name, phone number(s), e-mail, website and physical address if you have room and your logo if you have one
• Avoid cluttering up the card
• You can refine and revise with future versions
• Just get one done!