Introduction: Girl’s Guide to Building Million-Dollar Business
If you are a business owner, wouldn’t you like to grow your business beyond $1 million? That’s the subject of The Girl’s Guide to Building a Million Dollar Business by Susan Wilson Solovic. There is some useful information in the book, but it was published in 2007, so most of the links no longer work, and many of the organizations mentioned no longer exists. According to National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), in 2015:
- One in five firms with revenue of $1 million or more is woman-owned.
- 2 percent of all women-owned firms have revenues of 1 million or more.
UPDATE: First Published June 2017
Susan Wilson Solovic wrote The Girl’s Guide to Building a Million Dollar Business because at the time, fewer than 3 percent of women-owned businesses in the US grossed a million dollars or more in revenues. To increase that number, women need a guide to help them navigate the challenges of business ownership. If you look at the statistics from NAWBO, in a decade, women have not come very far. To achieve a million-dollar and more in business, you have to believe that you can. You must have a growth mindset.
Susan Wilson Solovic is on to something. In fact, a study that the National Science Foundation commissioned, found that:
“U.S. college students could succeed if they are encouraged to develop a sense of belonging, a growth mindset and salient personal goals and values.”
- “A sense of belonging, meaning that college students (particularly underrepresented minorities and first-generation college students) feel that they belong in college, fit in well and are socially integrated. Approximately 85 percent of the studies measuring students’ sense of belonging demonstrated a positive impact of belonging on students’ college GPAs.
- A growth mindset, referring to college students’ beliefs that their own intelligence is not a fixed entity, but rather a malleable quality that college can help improve. Seventy-five percent of the studies measuring students’ growth mindset showed this characteristic had a positive impact on students’ college GPAs.
- Personal goals and values that college students perceive to be directly linked to the achievement of a future, desired end. Approximately 83 percent of the studies measuring personal goals showed this characteristic as having a positive impact on students’ final course grades.”
Have you read?
What is your motivation for growing a million-dollar business?
Part One: Laying the Groundwork for a Million-Dollar Business
If you do not believe in yourself, who will. I mentioned previously that to grow your business to a $1 million dollar and more, you must believe that you are capable. Your mindset is also important in building a million-dollar business.
People will question you because you are a woman. Therefore, you need to have a good sense of self and a growth mindset. Tap into the community of successful women business owners, believe in yourself and abilities, and visualize yourself as a million-dollar business owner. Rely on your experience to boost your confidence. Determination is a key element of success.
- Visualize yourself running a million-dollar enterprise.
- Believe in yourself.
- Know your capabilities and abilities.
Conduct a self-evaluation:
- What are your strengths?
- What are your passions?
- What is unique about you?
- What are your core competencies?
In The Girl’s Guide to Building a Million Dollar Business, the author mentions Charles Horton Cooley’s Theory of the Looking-Glass Self, which is the belief that the sense of self is a product of our social interactions with others.
3 Misperception About Successful Women
- Ambitious women are selfish.
- Women who want to make a lot of money are greedy.
- Powerful women are bad.
Do not believe the above, they are misperceptions. As women, we need to rewire our brains. It is okay to make more money, be ambitious and become powerful. Think big and dream bold dreams.
Have you read?
Repeat, “I deserve to be successful.”
Solovic says, “The underlying difference between companies that start small and stay small and those that start smart but get big is the altitude of the owner.” Recondition your mind to have a growth mindset.
Successful women have a vision where their business is going. You have to push ahead to achieve your goals. Financial independence means you have the control and capability to make choices about your life. Become successful for yourself. Financial independence allows you to do incredible things: provide service, jobs, give back to community. Bigger can be better. What is holding you back from owning a million-dollar business?
Things to Consider If You Want to Build a Million-Dollar Business
- Success does not happen overnight.
- Building a successful business will take longer than you think.
- Do not let disappointments and hurts prevent you from pursuing your dreams.
- If there are things going on in your personal life, it is probably not the best time to make changes in your business
- Build your support network when you are ready to grow your business.
- Successful women rarely go it alone.
- Open communication with your family is critical. Let them know what it will take to grow your business. Involve your partner in the business.
- Relationships will change.
- Not everyone will be happy about your success.
- Create a Peer Support Network of people who you can count on. You can take advantage of formal per advisory groups such as Entrepreneur’s Organization, Women’s President Organization, Women’s Business Centers and Vistage International
- Be willing to listen and learn from a mentor because she can guide your growth.
Part Two: Using the Four Strategic Keys to Growing Your Business
4 Key Areas for Growing Your Business
- Creating the mission and vision for your company.
- Developing a scalable business model.
- Creating unique marketing strategies.
- Obtaining necessary funding.
Have you read?
When you are moving your business from start up to a growing business, you need more sophisticated procedures, and you need to develop an infrastructure.
Create the Vision
Before a business can grow you need a clear vision.
Vision statement: Picture of the company in the future. Your vision statement is your dream, your inspiration, the framework.
- What is happening in the world today?
- What are the market trends?
- What direction would you take?
- What will your business look like?
Get away from your work environment to brainstorm, to dream big dreams. Talk to others to learn about market opportunities. You may so entrenched in your business that you may miss opportunities that are staring you in the face.
Once you clearly define your vision, it is time to articulate it to your team.
Articulate Your Mission
When you know what direction to take your business, it is time to create a mission statement and a value statement. These become the foundation for everything you do in business.
Mission statement: brief description of a company’s fundamental purpose. Why do we exist? A mission statement focuses on the present and the vision statement focuses on the future.
To draft a mission statement:
- List the organization’s strengths and keys to success.
- Think how your business relates to the marketplace.
- List all these qualities, then pick the top three or four.
- Formulate sentences that describe the core essence of your firm.
A mission statement is an important element of your business.
Value Statement: States what your company stands for, and creates the character and voice of your company. It helps your employees and customers to know the type of company they are dealing with.
A mission and value statement need to become a permanent part of the company’s culture. Great companies do not compromise when it comes to their vision, mission, and values.
Create the Right Business Plan
If you plan for sustained growth, you need a business plan. The exercise of drafting a plan is more important than the plan itself. It makes you think through the process and focus. A good business plan changes and evolves over time.
Elements of a Business Plan
Business plan template and example: how to write a business plan: Business planning made simple
Executive Summary: A concise overview of the plan, including the company’s history.
Market Analysis: In this section, you have to illustrate knowledge of the industry, highlights and conclusions, of the market research. Details go in the Appendix.
Company Description: A high-level look of how the elements of your company fit together.
Organization and Management: The structure and profile of the management team.
Marketing and Sales Strategies: How you plan to get customers. Define your strategy.
Service or Product Line: What are you selling? Focus on the benefits that you provide.
Funding Request: Amount of money you are seeking.
Financials: Create financials after you assess the market.
Questions to Answer Before Creating a Business Plan
- Who are your customers and why do they need your product or service?
- What problem are you solving, or void you are filling?
- What is the market opportunity? What is the size of the market?
- What is your unique value proposition?
- Who is the competition?
Focus on what you are trying to do. Do not be all over the map. Invest in professional resources and advisors, you cannot go it alone. Also, learn to outsource some functions.
Businesses that are growing have to be managed in a more formal way. You need professionals to protect your interests. As you grow the business, you have to act like the CEO. It simply is not just a title. You are the spokesperson, visionary, and leader. Think like an employer and not as a staff member. Build an advisory board of people who you can openly discuss business with and share ideas and concerns.
You can use the services of PartnerCom to find the members of your advisory group. Advisory boards bring talent, idea, and contacts to your business. Two to three people are enough, but choose them with care. Look at skills and strengths, then choose people with complementary skills to yours.
Develop the Right Team:
- Let go so that you can lead.
- Delegate, but think about which responsibilities to delegate.
- Hire the right people based on a carefully crafted job description. Distinguish between the best candidate and the best job seeker. Do a situational interview to uncover actual skills and abilities. You are building a team, not filling positions. Have strategies in place to retain people. Have an onboarding process in place.
- Introduce systems and procedure so you control quality and get consistent results. They should be able to replicate them.
- Use exit interviews to learn why employees are leaving.
Develop the brand for your business, which is based on your vision, mission and values. Consider your branding. What is your unique value proposition? What makes you stand apart?
Cultivate and Connect with Customers and Clients
- 80 percent of business comes from 20 percent of your clients.
- To build a loyal customer base, create realistic expectations, then live up to them or exceed them.
- Develop authentic relationships with customers and listen to them.
- Create a customer advisory board to keep in touch with customer expectations. This can give you a competitive advantage. Meet twice a year to once every 18 months, and cover all the expenses. Giving a thank-you gift is also a kind gesture.
Business Success Tips
- Know your competition.
- To market, create free listings on Craigslist to promote your business. Use your blog to position you as an expert, and your company as a leader. Visit CareerBuilder.com to study their press releases.
- Apply for awards.
- Build a strong network of contacts.
- Ask for the business.
- Never have one customer.
- To get into a large company, be creative, do not offer a cookie cutter solution. Offer something new and valuable.
- Fund your business growth. Decide how you are going to do it.
- Get credit when you do not need it.
- Get to know people in the investment community.
- Do not undervalue your product or service offering. Price your products and services at fair market value.
- Develop an exit strategy.
Where to Apply for Awards
Part 3: Accelerate Your Business Growth
- Choose a strategy that fits your business and goals.
- Control the rate at which you want to grow your business. Do not overextend yourself and your resources.
- Do not take any shortcuts that will harm you in the long run.
- Form strategic alliances.
- How do you know when you are successful?
Quotes I Like
“Self-doubt is one of the main reasons business-owners don’t achieve the level of success they could.” Raehnu
“I wanted to do everything everybody told me I couldn’t” Madonna
“Course correction is the hallmark of a mature business person. The most successful people are the ones who make lots of mistakes. They just don’t make the same mistakes more than once or twice.” Author David Allen
Some Books Mentioned in Girl’s Guide to Building Million-Dollar Business
The Girls’ Guide to Power and Success, Susan Wilson Solovic
7 Hidden Reasons Why Employees Leave, Leigh Branham
Selling to Big Companies, Jill Konrath
Million Dollar Women: The Essential Guide for Female Entrepreneurs Who Want to Go Big, Julia Pimsleur
She Means Business: Turn Your Ideas into Reality and Become a Wildly Successful, Carrie Green
Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising Strategies to Up Your Earnings and Change Your Life, Barbara Stanny
The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It, Valerie Young
The Sassy Ladies’ Toolkit for Start-Up Businesses, Michelle Girasole, Wendy Hanson, and Miriam Perry
A Winner’s Guide to Negotiating: How Conversation Gets Deals Done, Molly Fletcher
Million Dollar Women: The Essential Guide for Female Entrepreneurs Who Want to Go BigShe Means Business: Turn Your Ideas into Reality and Become a Wildly Successful EntrepreneurSecrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising Strategies to Up Your Earnings and Change Your LifeThe Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of ItThe Sassy Ladies’ Toolkit for Start-Up BusinessesA Winner’s Guide to Negotiating: How Conversation Gets Deals Done (Business Books)