The SBA Hosted a Chat for Women’s History Month, and It Was Awesome

Author: Irene Malatesta | April 10, 2019

On March 19, in celebration of Women’s History Month, the U.S. Small Business Administration asked female entrepreneurs seven questions about starting and growing a business, and influencers, business owners, and even a secretary of state or two joined the conversation.

Women’s History Month may be over for the year, but we wanted to shine the spotlight on some of the great insights from the conversation. Here’s a recap of some of the best responses.

Question 1

“What advantages do women bring to business?” [Source]

The answers:

“Women get a lot of practice at multitasking and creative problem-solving. We also stress the importance of team building and communication. These stats from the 2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report indicate you can’t argue with success!”

—Elaine F. Marshall, North Carolina of Secretary of State [Source]

“Dedication! The number of female-owned businesses has grown 114 percent over the past two decades! Women are starting a ton of businesses, and some studies indicate that businesses with women in leadership roles may even be more profitable.”

—Fintech company Fundbox [Source]

“From my experience, women tend to have an innate ability to prioritize tasks. This, paired with a strong work ethic, leads to efficiency and ultimately delivering results.”

—Management services company ADP [Source]

Question 2

“What are some key elements to managing a successful business?” [Source]

The answers:

“Passion and the drive to be successful! Love what you do. Also, time management, smart spending, and social media promotion!”

—U.S. Small Business Administration Nebraska District Office [Source]

“It absolutely starts at the top! We see that when founders are intentional, articulate a mission and values early, and then live by them. They set their companies and employees up for growth and long-term success.”

—Salesforce Essentials [Source]

“Recognizing achievements! Acknowledge and reward team members that do a great job for all of their hard work on a regular basis.”

—MyCorporation [Source]

“First, no matter what business type, industry expertise and knowledge, and careful long-term planning are key. You’ll never be able to anticipate every surprise, but you can study the past and plan for the future.”

Fundbox [Source]

Question 3

“What’s your best time-saving tip?” [Source]

The answers:

“Put process and procedures in place that are repeatable and allow for continuous improvement.”

—Washington, DC Women’s Business Center [Source]

Automation, automation, automation! Automation services for finances (think #taxes!), online marketing, and planning ahead with old fashioned calendars can save #smallbiz owners shocking amounts of money and time.

—Fundera [Source]

“Outsource, automate and delegate as much as possible so you can stay focused on the big picture!”

—SCORE Mentors [Source]

“Automate whenever possible. Freeing yourself from small tasks will give you more time to focus on your business.”

—Chase for Business [Source]

Question 4

“What advice would you give someone hiring their first employee?” [Source]

The answers:

“Don’t expect a jack-of-all-trades in an employee. Search for someone with a specific skill set who can take over tasks you aren’t good at or don’t want to do.”

—SCORE Mentors [Source]

“Be on top of workers comp, disability, payroll taxes, and other requirements for your state. And make sure their business objectives are in line with your businesses.” [Source]

—New York Small Business Development Center [Source]

“Your first hire is a big decision, and mistakes are expensive. Think hard about the type of hire you need and map out exactly what you need them to do. Don’t just plan to figure it out later.”

—Fundbox [Source]

Question 5

“What makes a good boss?” [Source]

The answers:

“As a leader, I believe one of my most important roles is to remove barriers and make it easier for other people to succeed at their job.”

—Lynne Biggar, Visa CMO and CCO [Source]

“Hard to pinpoint, but a genuine appreciation for both the employees and the customers certainly helps.”

—New Jersey Business Action Center [Source]

“One who invests in the career growth of employees.”

—OMCP [Source]

“An effective boss sets clear expectations and goals with new employees and encourages idea sharing.”

—SCORE Mentors [Source]

Question 6

“What are some good tactics for networking events?” [Source]

The answers:

“Be a connector and a problem-solver! Don’t think about a networking event as an opportunity to ‘sell’ so much as an opportunity to learn, meet interesting people, and connect them in helpful ways. You’re always likely to leave a good impression with this approach.”

—Fundbox [Source]

“Take business cards and write the connection and details on the card immediately after the event so follow up is easy.”

—A. Bright Idea advertising and public relations firm [Source]

“Networking events don’t only have to be external! At Gusto, our women’s affinity group organized a ‘skills board’ where our female employees share the skills they have, and find ones they’re looking for. Remember your own colleagues can be your best connections.”

—Payroll company Gusto [Source]

Question 7

“What resources do you recommend for women entrepreneurs?” [Source]

The answers:

“Connect with local WBCs and other small business development organizations. Intentionally seek mentorship and have at least one champion.”

—Washington, DC Women’s Business Center [Source]

“SBA women’s business centers of course! Also, organizations such as SCORE Mentors and the National Association of Women Business Owners that can help with mentorship and networking opportunities.”

—National Association of Development Companies (NADCO) [Source]

“Highly effective managers, communicators, mediators, negotiators and so much more! If you need it done, hire a woman!”

—Sheila Means Biz [Source]

As a retailer, what insights can you take away from this Twitter conversation? Using the right resources, choosing the right staff, networking, sticking to your values, and celebrating your success will help you start a new business or grow your current one.

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