‘When a woman business owner finds other women who embolden her … the world will benefit’
Viewpoints: Three themes consistently emerge when you examine the most successful women business owners and founders, writes Nicola Corzine, executive director of the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center.
Our monthly Viewpoints series invites guest authors from outside of Wells Fargo to share an important perspective related to their work. Today, we welcome Nicola Corzine, executive director of the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center.
What do women business owners need to succeed in these ever changing, tumultuous, inspiring — but often terrifying — times? We need to remember our vision. We need to consistently level set and prioritize. And we need the support of women facing similar challenges.
As an entrepreneur and executive director of the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, I help guide groups of women-identifying business owners through programs such as Milestone Mapping Coaching Circles. The Milestone Mapping Coaching Circles program is free for entrepreneurs and made possible thanks to the generous support of Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo remains dedicated to supporting small businesses and recently launched Connect to MoreSM, a program designed specifically for women entrepreneurs, as they continue to invest in the success and sustainability of women-owned small businesses.
In my work, I have found that three themes consistently emerge when you examine the most successful women business owners and founders, whether they are just starting out or already established.
Finding your why
Sustainable businesses have founders that understand their why — their purpose. When a woman business owner searches to find the internal driver that connects her to her work, she can overcome minor issues more easily. Asking questions that inspire clarity and focus can be a core driving force that gets the founder to go to work on even the hardest days. There is freedom in finding purpose — no one can take away your vision. And that’s ultimately what entrepreneurship is about — the freedom to choose one’s path. To seek out solutions that have a deeper meaning. To discover a passion that propels you through even the hardest times.
Shelly Wilson, founder and CEO of Sports on the Lips and a current participant in the Center’s Milestone Mapping Coaching Circle program, said that having the goal of rediscovering the “why” for her company “ultimately propels the purpose and the vision.”
When surrounded by a group of empowered, encouraged women entrepreneurs, a founder often finds herself, what we call, “level-setting.” It is very near impossible to keep all balls in the air at all times. Women business owners — particularly those women from additionally marginalized communities — face a plethora of obstacles, and many of them — often not connected directly to the business — can feel insurmountable when faced alone.
Life is going to happen (family, health, personal, etc.). Rather than trying to balance it all, it is most efficient to integrate business with life, as successful women business owners have discovered. Krya Peralte, creator of The Traveling Diary and a Milestone Mapping Coaching Circle participant, said, “Really coming to terms with what you assign the most value to in life helps, because when you understand that, it allows you to create and prioritize responsibilities in ways that are more aligned to the ‘contract’ you have with yourself.”
Running a business and navigating life’s realities can be a constant challenge. Finding a safe space where one can take risks, share wins and challenges, and gain immediate support can be a lifeline for some women founders. Surrounding yourself with other women entrepreneurs who face similar obstacles, are closely aligned with your motivation or vision, or are at the same stage of business, can be invaluable. This group can accelerate a businesses’ growth, sure. But they can also support you, encourage you, and hold you accountable. A circle of women business owners wants to see each other thrive holistically.
“We candidly share our trials and triumphs” — Susan Paul, founder of Aim High SDC and a Milestone Circle participant
“We candidly share our trials and triumphs,” said Susan Paul, also known as SuPa, the founder of Aim High SDC and a Milestone Mapping Coaching Circle participant. “Everyone listens attentively and shares relevant resources. We are all gaining new strategies and the skills we need to level up against all odds. Our Circle is about collective uplift versus competition. I learn from the objective feedback I receive from my peers and my mentors who are industry experts. I feel empowered because I am not alone. I have a caring support squad.”
When a woman business owner finds a tribe of other women who embolden her to dive deeper, honor life’s challenges and face each next obstacle with courage, the world will benefit.