All Articles Tagged "business growth"
Thanks For Your Service! Capital One, Nonprofit Count Me In Help Female Veterans Conquer Small Business Goals
With many former military women suffering from PTSD, depression, and hypertension, Capital One and Count Me In — a nonprofit organization — have joined forces to help female veterans ease their transition back into society and launch their businesses to new heights.
The union of the two organizations has created The Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corps (WVEC), a new mentorship and training program that helps female veteran entrepreneurs accelerate the growth of their companies. The purpose for this program, besides showing gratitude for their service, is the realization that many former military women have credited entrepreneurship for creating a smoother path back into civilian life. According to a survey released by Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence and Capital One Financial Corporation and quoted in the press statement, “46 percent of U.S. women veteran business owners say that being a business owner has helped them transition to civilian life after military service… More than half (55 percent) of women vets said it was their leadership experience in the military that inspired them to start their own business.”
While many women vets have aspiring goals for their business, the WVEC discovered that 46 percent did not have a blueprint for their company’s future for the next one-to-two years, “a shortcoming that can impact growth and profitability,” the press release reported. For about a quarter of veteran businesswomen, securing capital for their company is difficult. In response to their needs, Capital One has donated $800,000, along with coaches and mentors, for the WVEC program.
This new WVEC intiative also applies to small businesswomen who are wives/domestic partners of veterans.
The networking group for women 85 Broads actually has 30,000 members and about 60 percent of them have started new businesses. Ten years ago, that figure was about 10 percent. Still, according to Alicia Robb, an author and senior research fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation who’s referenced in this Crain’s New York Business article, only 1.8 percent of women-owned businesses reach the $1 million revenue mark. For men, it’s 6.3 percent.
“The reason that most women-owned businesses didn’t scale in the past is that women tended to start companies in the service and retail arenas—topping out at $200,000 to $500,000 in revenue. The Internet is making it easier to scale retail companies,” the article says.
Just yesterday, we posted a story about growing a small business. Number seven on that list — “Stay tech competitive” — is particularly important. In this Crain’s story, one woman invested in technology that optimized her website’s ability to help women shop for accessories. Her company was eventually purchased by QVC, a sale she credits to the technology.
Outside of serving as a marketing tool and a way to stay in touch while you’re on the go, technology is giving small business owners the chance to improve the customer experience, offering something unique and customized. These qualities are what builds a customer base and generates referrals and grows the business. Technology is the key to what’s taking women-owned businesses of all stripes to the next level of earning success.
Women are already well on their way, having raised $775 million in 2012 funding so far, which can be used to build these important digital infrastructures. “And speaking of technology, women were there raising capital to build better advertising and business platforms and social branding opportunities,” reports The Next Women magazine. The site provides a link with a few companies that are funding women-owned businesses.
So as you map the course your company is taking, be sure to include the ways that you can use the Internet to expand what the company offers and how it offers those products, features and benefits. Investing on the back-end can put you out in front.
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(Businessweek) — Most small businesses turn to banks for credit to smooth out their cash flow, regardless of the economic environment. Securing lines of credit, however, remains a challenge for many companies. Although banks have raised their standards, small businesses need not throw in the towel. Here are three ways to make your company “bankable.”
(Inc.) — The generally-accepted dogma among entrepreneurs is “bigger is beautiful.” You’re nothing until you have some brand name investors on your board and 50 employees at your command. This “go big or go home” attitude leads to a lot of success stories but I wonder how many would-be entrepreneurs fail because they think the only business worth having is one that is chasing a billion-dollar opportunity. In this article, I’d like to propose an alternative approach. What if you got into business with the goal of building a $2 million company, instead of a $200 million company? What impact would a $2 million goal have on the way you think about building your business? Here are six reasons it’s sometimes better to stay small than to try to go big.
(Entrepreneur) — The thesis: Setting stretch goals, or very ambitious objectives, can make companies more innovative. But those best positioned to benefit from such goals rarely pursue them. Weaker companies, though, often reach for unrealistic solutions out of desperation.
(Businessweek) — After 42 years in business, holding positions that included chief executive of large and small businesses alike, I now spend my time coaching small business owners on what they can do to become more profitable. Many times, the place I begin is with management’s consideration of employees. Small changes can make big differences that encourage repeat business and big returns. Here are a few simple tips:
1. Get employee buy-in. Write out your top goals and share them with your people. In my company, the sales we need each month to achieve the annual sales goal just appeared on the refrigerator in the break room one day. Employees update it monthly.
2. Celebrate success with your people. It took weeks to get all the confetti off the carpet after we made our big sales goal for the first time.
(Washington Post) — No, there aren’t huge signing bonuses, or personal concierge services, or the jaw-dropping luxury perks that companies threw at top talent back in the boom days of the ’90s. But with the pall of the Great Recession finally lifting, some Washington area companies are handing out iPads at interviews and rewarding employees with $5,000 referral bonuses and trips to France. As other parts of the United States continue to stagger under nearly double-digit unemployment, large swaths of the Washington region’s economy are beginning to bounce back, even if fitfully, economists say.
After 17 straight months of job losses, the District and its suburbs had nine consecutive months of employment growth through the end of last year, totaling more than 23,000 new positions, according to the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University. The last four months of 2010 were particularly strong, although economic forecasters said it could be years before the recovery is fully realized. Some sectors, including construction and manufacturing, continue to face significant slides. With a relatively low unemployment rate of less than 6 percent, the Washington region has long been buoyed by the economic engine that is the federal government. Although the government is helping the recovery, the area’s increasingly diversified economy is paying off: Businesses from a variety of sectors – including tech start-ups, hotels and retailers – have begun to open their wallets and hire, a positive sign, given sharp cuts expected in defense spending, officials said.
(Washington Post) — The number of black-owned businesses nationwide grew much faster than the rate for all businesses during the five years before the recession began, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. The ranks of black firms shot up more than 60 percent from 2002 to 2007, compared with the overall national increase of 4 percent. By the end of the boom, Prince George’s County had the highest share of black-owned businesses – 55 percent – among all large counties in the nation. Less clear is how those firms fared after the recession hit. The Census Bureau did not offer any information on how minority-owned businesses did after late 2007, when the economic downturn began. Richard Clinch, a University of Baltimore economist, said that although the number of black-owned firms in the Washington region probably declined over the past couple of years, the damage was likely limited because a high volume of government contracts kept business flowing to those companies. Clinch said the government also maintains a program that tries to send more contracts to minority-owned small businesses, an effort that should have acted as a buffer during the downturn.
(Entrepreneur) — Not many CEOs can say that they served as a U.S. foreign service diplomat in Leningrad during the Cold War. And certainly, not many CEOs can say they were kicked out of the former Soviet Union for being accused of espionage. But Wild Planet Toys founder Danny Grossman isn’t your everyday, run-of-the-mill CEO. When Grossman founded the San Francisco-based Wild Planet Toys in 1993, he knew he had to distinguish his company from larger competitors. To do so, he started by identifying emerging nicheindustry segments. In the process, he discovered something unique about the toy industry.
(Entrepreneurs) — Are you considering building a website for your small business–or having one built for you? Before you dive in and create one, it’s crucial that you consider your website an investment in your business and act accordingly. This means looking down the road and making sure that the way you build your site allows you flexibility and a cost-effective way to grow the site–and, in turn, your business.