Everyone needs some words of encouragement and inspiration from time to time, and in spite of heading into 2020 optimistically, women business owners are no exception.
According to the 2019 Bank of America Women Business Owner Spotlight, nearly three in four (73%) plan to expand versus 66% of male business owners, and more than half (52%) are confident their local economy will improve, which is up 2% from 2018.
But whether you just lost a big client or found out that your business incurred an unexpected expense, everyone has a bad day. Read on to learn where to turn for a little inspiration when you need it.
Morgan Freitag, co-founder of ReKroot, LLC, a Chicago-based consulting and coaching company in the financial services recruitment sector, turns to their relatively new business coach and colleagues at DePaul University's accelerator, the Women Entrepreneur Institute. Freitag says her fellow entrepreneurs and coach have been a source of inspiration and ideas. She found it through the email newsletter of the Female Founders Collective, a networking group.
"We are on week five, and it has helped with providing some great women business owners to provide advice and guidance, along with bringing in experts on financials, PR, marketing, etc. Not only do the experts help, but the other woman cohorts are also amazing to bounce ideas off of," she says. "The mentors seem to really understand what we are all going through, no matter if you're one to two years into your business or five, like myself. We each have growing pains, and they help us make the best decisions for us and our business." Freitag and her partner work with their assigned business coach once a week.
There are early-stage accelerators all around the country. In addition, local resources like SCORE and U.S. Small Business Association Small Business Development Centers are helpful sources of information and inspiration. So-called "mompreneur collectives" can also be supportive communities.
Mentorship and community
For Diana Rodriguez-Zaba, owner of the ServiceMaster by Zaba franchise in Chicago, a community of family and colleagues is the answer. Her father, also a business owner, is an ongoing source of mentorship and support. He still calls her once a week. "I always learn something new from him," she says.
After a trusted mentor passed away a few years ago, she says she turns to her network for support and inspiration. "I rely on all the amazing people I meet along the way. It's really helped me grow my business. I believe everyone needs someone who can guide them through life. Mentors are great at keeping you accountable and making sure you're headed in the right direction. They listen and give you valuable counsel," she says. She also belongs to Hey Mama, an ecosystem of working mothers who collaborate and empower one another to become the decision-makers in their work, life, and family.
Books and podcasts
Xhenis Levack is CEO and co-founder of Primoprint, a Huntersville, North Carolina, print and design company. In addition to building a strong leadership team to whom she turns for decisions about her more than 30-employee company, she also gets inspiration from some of her favorite books, including Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek, Becoming by Michelle Obama, and Been There Run That by Kay Koplovitz.
Rodriguez-Zaba also likes Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg; The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know by Claire Shipman and Katty Kay, and The Bible. She finds Richard Branson's wisdom a source of inspiration and listens to TED talks and podcasts, too. Inc. magazine recommends five TED talks for women entrepreneurs, and Forbes recommends these podcasts for women business owners.
The best place to turn for inspiration when you're a woman business owner is highly personal and may depend on the type of help or motivation you're seeking. But building a trusted advisor and mentor network filled with people who understand the particular challenges you face, in addition to tapping established resources and experts, helps foster success.
Feeding your mind with inspirational and informational media can help you restore your enthusiasm and help you think about what's possible for you, your family, and your business.