Today we celebrate International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is #BalanceForBetter.
From the IWD site...
“Balance is not a women's issue, it's a business issue. The race is on for the gender-balanced boardroom, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, more gender-balance in wealth, gender-balanced sports coverage… Gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive.”
Balance is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. I don’t think I could love this theme any more. Let me tell you why.
Did you know that out of all the businesses in the US, that not even 2% of those that are women-owned generate $1 million in revenue?
Yes, you read that right.
According to the Small Business Association’s 2018 Spring report, despite women accounting for 39% of the 28 million small businesses only 1.7% attain that three-comma status.
That’s not. even. 2%.
Two freakin’ percent. Y’all… this has lit a fire in me that I haven’t felt in ages... maybe ever. It’s even gotten me saying y’all and I’m from Chicago!
Despite that tragic statistic it is worth noting that last year, 1,821 net new women-owned businesses were launched every day. And notably, women of color founded 64 percent of those new businesses according to the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Again from the SBA’s 2018 Spring report, what’s more is that women-owned businesses employ nearly 9 million people and generate more than $1.6 trillion in revenues; however, they account for only 4% of the nation’s business revenues – a share that has remained steady for 20 years.
Did you catch that? It’s worth repeating — the share of revenue generated by women-owned businesses has not changed in 20 years.
Hey, I’m not sure what you were doing back then, but 20 years ago I was walking around bumping to Smashing Pumpkins on my Sony DiscMan. Remember 1999? Women-owned businesses haven’t made revenue progress since before there were iPods. I can’t be the only one that sees something incredibly wrong with that.
We can and need to do better than this to lift up women-owned businesses.
Despite our gains toward balance, there are several factors that go into why women-owned businesses tend to be smaller and even a majority are single-employee organizations:
Women have less access to capital than our male counterparts
Access to professional networks is limited
The balance of home duties and child-rearing expectations placed on women remains anything but balanced
Listen, I don’t know what I can personally do about that last bit but I can certainly help contribute in changing other factors.
That said, it is my honor to formally announce our mission to help 1,000 women generate $1 million in revenue.
I don’t know how long it will take, but I’m in this for the long haul and it’s going to take more than my teams’ marketing super powers to reach this goal.
HOW WE’RE HELPING 1,000 WOMEN REACH $1 MILLION IN REVENUE
In order to help women reach this million dollar milestone for themselves we know they’ll need support beyond our marketing services. Here are four key areas we’re putting our efforts toward this goal.
#1: Connect women-owned businesses and supporters
First, and most obvious… if we’re going to help a thousand women we need a collective of women-owned businesses to support each other as peers.
Entrepreneurship is certainly a scary and lonely journey but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Growing a business is incredibly difficult and the success rates aren’t all that encouraging. Founders need trusted communities to turn to for advice and support at each stage of growth. What better place to go than to a group of peers who understand the issues you’re facing everyday on their journey? So we’re building that space.
If you’re looking for a community of like-minded women business owners, fill out the short form and we’ll follow up to learn more about your business and get started on creating your growth plan.
#2: Build your bench
At the very least every business needs:
A product or service
Customers who want to buy that product or service
Promotion to reach potential customers
Accounting and bookkeeping
I don’t know one successful founder who is an expert in all of these areas so you need to “build your bench” of professionals to whom you can delegate and rely upon to keep you running smoothly.
Over the years I’ve been fortunate to find amazing people to shore up the areas I am not strong in. It’s taken some trial and error of course but building your bench of experts is one of the biggest contributors to business growth so you can play to your strengths and focus on only the things you can do for the business.
To help others avoid some of the pitfalls I’ve run into we’re assembling a network of trusted pros across a range of skill sets:
Branding and storytelling experts
Folks here will be vetted and consist of people we’ve either personally worked with or know someone who has and saw great results.
#3: Access expert advice and insight
It’s been said that you cannot be what you cannot see so we’re gathering stories from those who’ve come before us to gain insight into what worked for them (and what didn’t).
This content platform will give our Collective the ability to learn from other business owners who’ve already hit that $1 million mark as well as offer up helpful tips and tricks. To aide on the marketing side of things, (because we are still a digital marketing agency) we’re launching a new online course to help businesses create a six- to 12-month actionable digital marketing strategy. This first course is based on the time-tested GrowthMap™ approach we take with our full-service clients and made more accessible to those who may not be able to afford a $10k+ marketing strategy we would completely do for them. Instead, here founders get a group experience and weekly we guide them as they build their action plans.
#4: Expand your network even further
Just like you need to build the bench of professionals supporting you, you need to have ties to those in and outside your industry. In fact, more than 75% of high-ranking women had strong ties to a female-dominated inner circle according to a study by the University of Notre Dame and Northwestern University.
That same study also revealed that women who have a solid support group of other women are more likely to attain high-ranking leadership positions.
Know of or run another great organization we should connect with? Please let me know so we can work together on this goal.
This all started with a simple personal need
Are you still with me? Great!
By now you may be wondering
what drove me off the deep end how a digital marketing agency has come to this point in taking on a mission this ambitious.
Well, just like how many businesses begin, this all started because I had a problem I needed to solve.
This began organically, simply out of a need for me to help replace myself for a speaking engagement I could not make. I wanted to help the event organizer replace myself and with the number of “mannels” still being put on in this age, I really wanted to fill my spot with another expert woman. I was surprised I didn’t have a super specific spot to turn to online to announce this speaking opportunity outside of LinkedIn and sending individual personal emails out.
One LinkedIn post stating “I’m starting a directory of Women in MarTech. Who should be on it?” and a few months later, the group is more than 230 women strong and growing.
One step at a time
There’s plenty of work to be done here along all four of these fronts and more, so I’m rolling up my sleeves and ready to dig in deep.
I know I’ll need your help, too, and hope you’ll join me in elevating women-owned businesses across the country as we #BalanceForBetter.
Who knows? Maybe by International Women’s Day 2020, we’ll have put a dent in that 20-year-old revenue mark. I can’t make any promises about advancing my taste in 90s music, though.