At SRB Communications, we recognize the fiercely talented women entrepreneurs who are paving the path for their peers.
I’ve been an entrepreneur for 29 years. As we approach our 30th anniversary, I often marvel at the ways SRB Communications has grown in new business, strategic partnerships and retaining the absolute best marketing talent in town. I am also humbled at how entrepreneurship has brought me closer to other strong women business owners across generations – some who I’ve mentored and some who have mentored me. I am filled with gratitude when I think of the ways these women have impacted my life as an entrepreneur.
This month, we celebrate National Women’s Small Business Month, which means it’s time to honor women-owned businesses everywhere, as well as the progress female entrepreneurs have made over the years. As I reflect on my years as an advocate of women entrepreneurs and the significance of this month, I am reminded of the strides women have made in business and entrepreneurship. According to the latest American Express State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, the growth of women-owned businesses continues at a rapid pace.
As I honor other women entrepreneurs for their contributions to business, I am also humbled by the advances I’ve seen in my own business, SRB Communications, which was recently recognized by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). Last week, I attended the NMSDC Conference in Atlanta, Ga., where SRB Communications won the 2019 Supplier of the Year award. This was truly an honor because as much as I’ve accomplished throughout my career, the Supplier of the Year award is a testament to the hard work of the SRB team, both nationally and the local honor we received in 2018 from the CRMSDC to position us for the national win. I am proud to say that the staff of SRB Communications is 85% women. And as I continue to grow this business, it is crucial that I continue to invest in other women and diverse communities just as our Fortune 100 clients have invested in us.
Every Monday morning at our weekly SRB staff meeting, we dedicate a portion of the time to an agenda item we call “Lessons Learned.” It’s a point of discussion for our team to share their wins, challenges and areas of opportunity learned from the campaigns we execute. In Atlanta last week, I started to think about the lessons I’ve learned growing a business in marketing and advertising, being an award-winning diverse supplier to some of the biggest utility companies in the mid-Atlantic region, government and transportation agencies, higher education institutions, and leading a team of marketing experts that is also representative of today’s diverse America.
Here are three of my biggest lessons learned:
Lesson 1: Build your board of advisors.
You can learn from your own experience, but it’s better to learn from other people’s experience, especially when those same people have achieved success in the same field as you and other fields. Turn to these women and men for advice on how to run your business. A board of advisors can advise you on your finances and human resources, but also offer strategies to marketing the business and growth in areas you may not be proficient in.
Lesson 2: Trust and invest in your people.
As an entrepreneur it’s easy to take on all of the responsibilities required to run your business — though it’s not easy to manage them all. Your team is your biggest asset and a great representation of the work you do. Choose people who not only are good at doing the work but are also a good cultural fit. And make sure you feel empowered to delegate the work, as necessary. You hired them for a reason. Trust they will be able to do their jobs.
Lesson 3: Embrace new technologies.
Smart business owners should take advantage of new tools to help manage their business. For instance, digital marketing tools like social media, newsletters and blog writing is a great way to grow your customer base, network with other business owners and helps you lean into the way people are communicating these days.
Do you have other resource suggestions for women business owners? Which resources have been the most beneficial to you? Let us know in the comment section below.