Women SMBs: Tips to blaze your own trail

When I look around at the many women in our country who hold or have held positions of economic, political and social power, it’s hard to believe that less than 100 years ago, these same women didn’t even have the power to vote. That all changed with the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, which gave U.S. women full voting rights, and which National Women’s Equality Day on August 26 commemorates. Women gained the right to equal representation in our political system long ago, and I’m excited to say that we’ve made incredible strides in claiming a share of our country’s business opportunity, too.

According to the American Express State of Women-Owned Business Report, women entrepreneurs aren’t just succeeding, but are an integral gear in our country’s economic engine. As of 2011, it was estimated that there were more than 8.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States, generating nearly $1.3 trillion in revenues and employing nearly 7.7 million people.

As a segment, women-owned businesses have arrived–but have you, individually? Maybe you own an SMB but have struggled to attract loyal customers or carve out a unique spot in the market. Or perhaps you have an innovative idea for a product, service or business model but don’t know how to take it from concept to execution. Fortunately, you can find a wealth of resources and no shortage of mentors who want to help you join the ranks of women-in-business trailblazers. Some of my favorite resources are below, which I routinely encourage women I work with and mentor to take advantage of if they’re looking for:

Inspiration and connections: 85 Broads is a global network of 30,000 women who offer each other motivation and empowerment. The organization’s 36 regional chapters foster a global presence through exclusive workshops and events featuring industry experts.
Tools and information: The U.S. Government’s Small Business Administration provides resources – from loans to a national education network and federal contracting opportunities – to help women business owners to start, grow and succeed in small business.
Financial and marketing expertise: WomanOwned.com, the largest online community devoted solely to women SMBs, is a networking program and more: the site is an easy-to-navigate library of resources, which include loans, grants, and marketing, advertising and technology best practices.
The chance to gain equal representation in the marketplace for your business is yours for the taking. I urge you to spend some time at the sites listed here, and see how far your business can go with the right support. Already succeeding? Please pay it forward by sharing with us your story; what motivated you to be a trailblazer, and how have you created your own legacy of success?

Read more at Cindy’s Blog

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Author:NJ Tech Council

The New Jersey Tech Council helps companies grow and supports the tech, innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems in the state and region.

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