Fast Growth Strategies to Build Your Company
Content provided by the Women Presidents' Organization
By Marsha Firestone, Ph.D.
President and Founder of Women Presidents' Organization (WPO)
Did you know? Only 3% of all women-owned businesses generate $1 million plus in annual revenues. And, these million-plus firms are growing faster than the smaller women-owned firms.
A study conducted by the Center for Women's Business Research explored the business practices and characteristics of million-dollar women-owned businesses. Among other strategies, women owners of million-dollar businesses are more likely to:
Apply sophisticated management practices, especially the use of financial reports to manage cash flow and expenses
- Use lawyers, accountants, consultants, advisory boards and boards of directors
- Align their company with complementary businesses through strategic alliances
- Take advantage of multiple funding sources, including vendor credit, credit card loans, venture capital and angel investing, bank loans and other financial strategies
- Secure contracts with large corporations and government as primary clients
- Innovate continuously, and expand both domestically and internationally
- Have a professional, regularly updated Web site
- Engage in e-commerce and electronic marketing
- Become certified as a woman owned business
- Own businesses in the industries of: wholesale trade, construction, manufacturing, transportation, communications or public utilities
In addition to these strategies, a variety of traits are characteristic of successful women business owners.
Characteristics of Fast-Growth Women Leaders
As the president and founder of the Women Presidents' Organization (WPO), which serves million-dollar business owners, I have encountered many women using these aforementioned strategies. I even contacted the WPO Platinum Group - members with revenues of $10 million and above - and asked each woman what business strategies accounted for the success of her company. Invariably they responded with the same strategies described above.
Through my experience with accomplished women business owners, I have observed that those who are most successful share some common personal characteristics. These women are take-charge types who not only take responsibility for themselves but for others. Driven and confident, million-dollar business owners take advantage of professional advisors and reach out to others for information. They tend to participate in peer advisory groups, in order to connect with other entrepreneurs and get tips for business growth.
Peer advisory groups are unique because they provide unrestricted insight and unbiased perspectives on a participants business. Such a group should contain members from non-competing industries, and everyone must be open and willing to share information about finances and other sensitive issues. Confidentiality is essential. Peers must feel safe about sharing trade secrets. The most effective learning experiences come about as a result of bonding within the peer advisory group.
Owners of high-growth companies have a greater intensity of commitment to their company than women-owned businesses with low growth. They put in long hours, are self-confident and take risks. In a recent WPO survey, we found that many of our members are considering both domestic and international expansion. Half of our members plan to add offices domestically and 66% plan to add international locations.
These women "dream big"-they see themselves succeeding financially, managing large staffs and running businesses that have multiple branches and locations or that are international in scope. They are women with 100 ideas a minute who do not hesitate to implement the best of the ideas they dream up. If these characteristics describe you, you may be a natural leader, destined to join the ranks of the world's most powerful business women.
Content copyrighted by the Women Presidents' Organization