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Andi Gray: Women business owners


Do you think they get taken seriously by the people around them who can help or hinder their business? Or do they get special advantages because of women-owned business programs and if so, is that enough, too much or just right?

THOUGHTS OF THE DAY: Any business owner faces numerous challenges as well as opportunities. There are programs designed to assist minorities and women, but it’s up to the individual owner to figure out if and how to use those programs to her company’s advantage. All business owners run into biases. It’s what they do about the obstacles they run into that matters.

Male or female, minority or majority, every business owner faces long odds when it comes to succeeding as a business owner. Three out of four businesses fail in every 10-year cycle. That’s a statistic that hasn’t changed much over the years, and should give every business owner pause as she or he thinks about how successful they have been up to now and what to do next.

Some economic cycles are more favorable and the success rate rises up for a few years  and then some economic cycles are brutal and the failure rates go back to the norm. Some businesses get lucky breaks that carry them over a rough patch. And some businesses seem to do more things right than wrong, time after time. What’s the difference?

When it comes to long-term success, it’s more about the owner’s attitude regarding learning new things, building teams of people with ever-increasing skills, and working with plans that help clarify where the business is going and identify what to do when things get off track.

Some women-owned businesses seek qualification as a special class such as minority owned and woman owned. This qualifies them for assistance from government agencies and the ability to compete for government set-aside work. But most women-owned businesses don’t go through the laborious process to get qualified, either because they don’t see how it will make a difference in the success of their businesses or because the process seems to require too much effort.

When encountering what seems to be bias, owners make all kinds of decisions that can make a real difference in the businesses’ outcomes. Some get stuck focusing on the injustice of the real or perceived bias. That usually doesn’t get them anywhere. When it comes to succeeding in business, keep this mantra at the forefront: “What are you going to do about it?”

Smart business owners carefully select their advisers, interviewing many candidates and pick those who are knowledgeable and can educate. They need advisors who are willing to challenge them to strive for more. Owners want advisers who can see the business for what it is as well as what it can be, and who respect the motivation that drives each individual business owner. And they absolutely require advisers and vendors to give them a fair opportunity at every turn.

Smart owners also look for the right clients for their business. They want clients who respect what their business does, who rely on the business to be there and who know that a fairly balanced transaction is usually the best for both buyer and seller.

One thing women often have is good instincts. If you think you’re not getting what you need from your advisors, vendors and customers, it may be time for a change. Don’t wait to explore the possibilities of what else might be out there.

Looking for a good book? Try “The Minority and Women-Owned Small Business Guide to Government Contracts: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started.”

Andi Gray is president of Strategy Leaders Inc., StrategyLeaders.com, a business-consulting firm that teaches companies how to double revenue and triple profits in repetitive growth cycles. Have a question for AskAndi? Wondering how Strategy Leaders can help your business thrive? Call or email for a free consultation and diagnostics: 877-238-3535, AskAndi@StrategyLeaders.com. Check out our library of business advice articles: AskAndi.com.


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