At last month’s NAWBO Women’s Business Conference, our current, past and incoming presidents were invited to stay on through Saturday for a very special event in their honor. We had invited Joe Iarocci, CEO of the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, there to speak to our own servant leaders that drive the success of NAWBO through their passion and excellence.
If you’re not familiar with the servant leadership philosophy and practices that have been proven to enrich lives, build better organizations and create a more caring world, the term was introduced in 1970 by Robert K. Greenleaf in his essay The Servant as Leader. “The servant leader is servant first,” he wrote. “It begins with a natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then a conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.” Since then, the philosophy and practices have been embraced and written about by everyone from Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Peter Senge and M. Scott Peck, to Margaret Wheatley, Ann McGee-Cooper & Duane Trammell, Larry Spears and Kent Keith.
Here at NAWBO—in our national organization and in chapters across the country—we are always looking for servant leaders who are focused on the growth and well-being of our community and its members; women who can share power, put the needs of others first and help women—and their companies—perform at the highest levels possible.
At the national level, our nominations committee has put out an official call for nominations for the NAWBO Board of Directors for the term of 2014-2016. The following are the leadership attributes and qualifications we are seeking:
- MEMBERSHIP: Is a NAWBO voting member in good standing.
- SERVICE: Has proven history of service and commitment to NAWBO—at the local and/or national level.
- EXPERIENCE: Is an experienced board member with history of service on other national boards of nonprofit or membership organizations.
- VISION: Has the ability to see the big picture, and to help develop strategy and policy to help the organization achieve its mission.
- STEWARDSHIP: Has the ability to serve and promote the interests of the organization and the women’s business community at large.
- INTEGRITY: Has the discretion to maintain confidentiality of board discussions and speaks with one voice when representing the organization to the community, even when in disagreement with majority decisions.
- KNOWLEDGE: Possesses knowledge and understanding of the issues and concerns of women business owners, and has the commitment to stay informed and knowledgeable on all pertinent issues that impact our members.
- ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Has the willingness to become thoroughly familiar with the mission and how the organization actually carries out the mission day-to-day through its organizational structure and operations.
- PERSONAL COMMITMENT: Is willing to take time and make the effort needed to fulfill director responsibilities: including understanding strategic, financial and operational issues facing the organization; and engaging personally and directly with the organization whether through financial support, advocacy, networking, personal service or other support activities.
- COLLEGIALITY: Has the ability to work well with others and to show respect for the ideas and views of fellow board members and staff; with the full understanding that boards operate as a body.
- DIVERSITY: Represents a diverse segment of the women business community and has deep resources and connections in the business community.
- FINANCIAL COMMITMENT: Possesses financial resources and capacity to make a personal contribution or bring in a sponsorship of $5,000 or more annually to the organization.
- MEETING ATTENDANCE: Is willing to commit personal time and resources to attend all board meetings, including travel expenses. Missing more than two (2) consecutive board meetings may result in disciplinary action and/or removal from the Board.
You may learn more about the board position and access the NAWBO National Bylaws by clicking on the links below:
To be considered, nomination materials must be submitted no later than December 8, 2013. CLICK HERE to complete and submit the online Nominations Form. You will also be asked to email to firstname.lastname@example.org the candidate’s most current resume or bio and headshot and any supporting documents that support candidacy. If you have questions, please contact the nominations committee at email@example.com.
As a longtime Indianapolis chapter board member, current National Chair and Interim CEO, I can tell you just how rewarding it’s been to serve NAWBO. I have been able to have meaningful conversations, effect change and open new doors that have positively impacted tens of thousands of women entrepreneurs, and in turn, my own business. If you qualify or know of someone who does, I hope you will consider this tremendous opportunity.
—Billie Dragoo, NAWBO National Chair and Interim CEO
A 25-year anniversary is something to celebrate—especially when it’s the anniversary of a landmark piece of legislation that ushered in a transformation in women’s enterprise development.
Today, NAWBO celebrates HR 5050, also known as the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988. This legislation led to an explosion in women’s entrepreneurship as women could finally take out their own busines loans. Before that, their hubands, fathers, sons—or any male relative for that matter—had to co-sign. HR 5050 was also the beginning of the Women’s Business Center program and National Women’s Business Council as well as the start of the U.S. Census Bureau finally including C Corporations when collecting and counting data on women-owned firms. It was truly transformational for women business owners then and now. In fact, for the past two-and-a-half decades since then, women-owned businesses have continued to grow at nearly twice the rate of all businesses.
To mark this special occasion, NAWBO has issued a media release highlighting the new wave of women’s entrepreneurship ushered in by HR 5050’s changes as well as the instrumental role NAWBO played in its passage. We have included this release in this October issue of Focus. Young women today—whether they are our daughters or young women entrepreneurs we are helping to mentor—may not realize what the women before them faced in opening and growing their own businesses. We want them to know how far we have come, and what still remains to be done, since they will be the ones to carry on this important cause in the future, on their own and as members of NAWBO.
In this spirit, I ask you to take time out of your busy schedule to do one thing today: Talk to a young woman in business about HR 5050 and its impact. As Virginia Littlejohn, who was part of the NAWBO leadership team who helped the House Small Business Committee organize the HR 5050 hearings, says, “Women business owners today are often shocked to hear about the challenges their predecessors faced only 25 years ago.”
Also, in the weeks ahead, I encourage you to find and use your public policy voice. HR 5050 created a powerful voice for women entrepreneurs across the U.S. It’s because of this legislation that I have a thoughtful, professional voice in my home state of Indiana, where I have worked tirelessly to ensure minority and women-owned businesses received their fair share of procurement opportunities with projects like the Indianapolis International Airport, Lucas Oil Stadium and JW Marriott Indianapolis, as well as at the national level in Washington, DC.
Here’s to another 25 years of this landmark legislation! Let us not forget how far we have come and continue to mentor and encourage the young women following in our footsteps.
—Billie Dragoo, NAWBO National Chair and Interim CEO
As successful women entrepreneurs, it’s an honor and an obligation to nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs, especially young women and girls. YEA! (The Young Entrepreneurs Academy) that is redefining entrepreneurship education in America presents a tremendous opportunity to do just that.
YEA! is a groundbreaking afterschool program that transforms middle and high school students into confident entrepreneurs. Through the yearlong program, students in grades 6th-12th generate business ideas, conduct market research, write business plans, pitch to a panel of investors and launch their very own companies. YEA! offers the students exciting local business guest lecturers and dynamic field trips to local companies. Students learn how to develop and run a real enterprise in a fun, projects-based approach. They start the program as students and end up as CEOs!
YEA! was developed in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Today, it is in communities nationwide. The results speak for themselves:
- 100% of Academy graduates graduate high school on time
- 99% of Academy graduates enroll in college
- 19% of YEA! students start second businesses
- 50% of YEA! students continue businesses for more than one year
- 49% of YEA! students are female
- 56% of YEA! students are underrepresented minorities
- 42% of YEA! students matriculate to the college that hosted their program
- YEA! students have been awarded over $1 million in scholarships as a result of their involvement in YEA!
- 1,384 students have graduated from YEA! and have launched 1,093 enterprises
As NAWBO National Chair and past president of the largest NAWBO chapter in the nation, NAWBO-Indianapolis, I am thrilled to share with you that NAWBO will be getting more involved with YEA! The Indianapolis chapter has already identified its host site and is recruiting students! It’s my goal for every NAWBO chapter to embrace the program because it’s really a win-win-win: for our chapters, for their communities and for the next generation of entrepreneurs!
NAWBO chapters partnering with YEA! is a tremendous way to enhance our mission and brand while carrying out our strategic iniatives. We will be elevating our communities and sustaining our relationships with corporate partners by supporting diversity initiatives. We will have the opportunity to become better connected with our city and state chambers, who are also involved in YEA!. The important relationships NAWBO chapters will forge while building a successful YEA! program in their communities will not only further entrepreneurship and promote economic growth, but also will help NAWBO connect with local universities that serve as the program host site. And that’s not to mention the fact that a YEA! partnership also gives our members something to be proud of and puts NAWBO front and center with innovative, talented, entrepreneurial young girls—the next generation of NAWBO members.
I first met Gayle Jagel, founder and CEO of YEA!, at the U.S. Small Business Summit in Washington DC. Her absolute commitment to developing this young generation of entrepreneurs inspired me to join the cause. Gayle will join us once again at this year’s NAWBO Women’s Business Conference, October 3-5 in Miami. I hope you’ll register to join us for this must-attend event and plan to hear Gayle speak. Ask her how your chapter can get involved with YEA!
—Billie Dragoo, NAWBO National Chair
A blog in the Harvard Business Review (March 2012) by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman confirms what we, as women business owners, already know: women make great leaders. It’s clear here at NAWBO and in companies worldwide.
The blog was based on the authors’ survey data of 7,280 leaders in some of the most successful and progressive organizations in the world—public and private, government and commercial, domestic and international. The leaders were evaluated by their peers, bosses and direct reports on overall effectiveness as well as in 16 competencies shown to be most important to effectiveness—taking initiative, developing others, inspiring and motivating, pursuing their own development and more.
While the majority of leaders are still men, and the higher the leadership level, the more men there are, women score better in all but one of the 16 competencies, and in 12 of the 16, women score significantly better. These include stereotypical areas—“nurturing” competencies like developing others, building relationships, exhibiting integrity and engaging in self-development—but also in areas not traditionally considered female strengths—including taking initiative and driving for results.
At NAWBO, I have seen just how great women leaders are through our members and partners and our own board leadership. July marks a time of transition throughout our organization as NAWBO National and our chapters welcome new board members. It’s exciting to see what we have achieved throughout the past year and the two years I have been in this role, and to look at future opportunities and possibilities. I’d like to extend a heartfelt thanks to those who gave their passion, time, talent and resources during 2012-2013. I’d also like to congratulate the 2013-2014 board members who were installed today in Indianapolis. In this issue of Focus, you’ll meet new National Board Chair Billie Dragoo, who helped to build NAWBO’s largest chapter in the United States, NAWBO-Indianapolis, as well as her own a premier health care industry business, RepuCare.
As you know, this is also a time of transition for me personally as I prepare to leave my role of President and CEO at NAWBO this month. Some of the most amazing moments from the past two years I will take with me are of the tremendous women leaders I have engaged and collaborated with at NAWBO, in our corporate and affiliate partner companies and in Washington, DC. Your stories have inspired me, and will continue to, as I take this next step in my own leadership journey.
Naturally, “Women in Leadership” is also a major focus of the NAWBO Women’s Business Conference this October in Miami. We will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of H.R. 5050, legislation that NAWBO played a key role in passing, and weaving it through our keynotes and breakout sessions to help you become an even better leader and grow your business as a result. If you aren’t yet registered, we have extended Early Bird Registration until July 15th to give you more time to save $50 and automatically enter to win roundtrip airfare to and from Miami on Southwest Airlines. Register now at http://nawbo.org/section_231.cfm.
Dr. Zenger, who co-wrote the Harvard Business Review blog, believes much of the success of women in leadership has to do with a change in style from command-and-control to more collaborative models that may play to our strengths. Women are better listeners, better at building relationships and more collaborative, which Dr. Zenger says allows us to better adapt to the demands of modern leadership. What do you think? What’s made you a successful woman leader? I’d love to hear from you!
—Diane Tomb, NAWBO National President & CEO
This morning, I was honored to stand among an audience of almost entirely women in the East Room of the White House to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act. Here, President Obama recognized the gains we’ve made in the past five decades and the gender wage disparities that still remain (women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men). “This is the 21st century,” President Obama said. “It’s time to close that gap.”
As part of this, President Obama also spoke about the role small business plays in helping women get equal pay. Our nation’s small businesses that employ less than 100 people and are known for their creativity, innovation, independence and resilience now account for half our nation’s workforce, including those who own them and the employees who work for them. They also create two out of every three new jobs.
President Obama’s remarks were timed perfectly as the week of June 17th marks the 50th anniversary of National Small Business Week. Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing this special week recognizing and honoring the vital contributions of small business.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) who watches out for and supports our nation’s small businesses takes this opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners and others from around the country. For 2013, this is happening through a series of events held in major cities on different dates, including:
- Seattle: June 17
- Dallas: June 18
- St. Louis: June 19
- Pittsburgh: June 20
- Washington, DC: June 21
To learn more about these events or find an event in your area celebrating small business, visit: http://www.sba.gov/nsbw/nsbw.
With small businesses making up nearly 90 percent of NAWBO’s membership, we are proud to so clearly mirror the success of small business within our own community and of our work to further this success. In a recent op-ed piece for CNBC.com, I joined together with Beth Solomon, President and CEO of the National Association of Development Companies (NADCO), to announce our partnership, the Women’s Small Business Lending Initiative. We will be working to bring capital access options and training to more women small business owners through the nation’s network of 270 Certified Development Companies, SBA Loans and SBA Women’s Business Centers. If you missed the article, you can read it here: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100727457. Stay tuned for more announcements and results from this exciting partnership.
NAWBO’s community of supporters, specifically our corporate partners, are also supporting small businesses and giving them the knowledge and resources to thrive. American Express, for instance, was the first company in the financial services sector to create a team and a business unit dedicated to serving small businesses and offering small business-specific products. American Express OPEN is also the force behind Small Business Saturday, the grassroots event that encourages shopping at local small businesses on the Saturday after Black Friday each November. Meanwhile, our partners at Walmart are supporting small businesses worldwide with the launch of their Empowering Women Together initiative. It offers shoppers more than 200 items from 19 businesses—all small, women-owned businesses—in nine countries. Also, according to Fox Business Small Business Center, our partners at Wells Fargo have set the goal to increase lending to women-owned small businesses to $55 billion by 2020. And that’s just the beginning of what our partners are doing to help.
This month, I hope you’ll take time as a small business owner, a big business owner or an employee of either to participate in an event in your city or just to shop at some of your local small businesses. These businesses are the backbone of America, and without them, there would be no economic growth and certainly no NAWBO.
—Diane Tomb, NAWBO National President & CEO
NAWBO has long been outspoken about the importance of achieving the 5 percent Federal procurement goal for women-owned small businesses. After all, failure to achieve this goal has been costing women business owners—one of the largest and fastest growing economic engines today—an average of $5 billion a year in lost contracts.
Over the years, we testified with WIPP before the House Committee on Small Business on issues related to access to capital for women- and minority-owned businesses. We participated in the Small Business Access to Capital Coalition, organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which advocated successfully for the passage of a bill addressing deficiencies in the methods used to calculate the federal cost of guaranteeing small business loans. We also opposed the elimination of federal subsidies for the SBA’s small business loan programs, which adversely affected participation of our members.
In fact, just a few days ago, I had the privilege of being featured in a co-op-ed piece with Beth Solomon, President and CEO of the National Association of Development Companies that appeared on CNBC.com. In it, we spoke to the important role of women business owners and how access to capital continues to be our biggest impediment. We also announced our organizations’ launch of a Women’s Small Business Lending Initiative that will bring capital access options and training to more women through the nation’s network of 270 Certified Development Companies, SBA Loans and SBA Women’s Business Centers. (In case you missed it, here’s the full article link: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100727457).
Understandably then, we are thrilled about last week’s announcement that an interim final rule—effective immediately—has amended regulations to the SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program, allowing for greater access to federal contracting opportunities for women-owned businesses as a result of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 signed in January.
This interim final rule removes the anticipated award price of contract thresholds for women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs) to allow greater access to federal contracting opportunities without limitations to the size of the contract. Contracting officers will also now be able to set aside specific contracts for certified WOSBs and EDWOSBs at any dollar level that will help federal agencies achieve the existing statutory goal of 5 percent of federal contracting dollars being awarded to WOSBs.
Additionally, the SBA is currently working on changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulations. Prior to the rule change, the anticipated award price of the contract for WOSBs and EDWOSBs could not exceed $6.5 million for manufacturing contracts and $4 million for all other contracts. For more information on the Women-Owned Federal Small Business Contract Program, visit www.sba.gov/wosb.
The passage of HR 5050, the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988, helped to pave the way for a rule like this. The legislation was key to boosting women entrepreneurs’ access to capital and led to a 30 percent surge in women’s business ownership nationwide. NAWBO played a critical role in its passage just 13 years after our organization was founded during a time when women were required to have male co-signers on everything from car to home to business loans. Since then, we have worked tirelessly to further equality and opportunity for women entrepreneurs, whether the issue is access to capital, increased federal procurement opportunities, affordable health care or fair and equitable tax treatment.
At this year’s NAWBO Women’s Business Conference, October 3-5 in Miami, Florida, we will be celebrating an anniversary of HR 5050 and the many achievements we have enjoyed being part of since then. The finalization of this rule will definitely be a part of that. I hope you will join us!
—Diane Tomb, NAWBO National President & CEO
As an organization dedicated to the growth and success of women entrepreneurs, some of our greatest strengths are the best practices we share and leadership development opportunities we offer. These best practices provide new insights and fresh ideas that inspire the kind of bigger, bolder thinking it takes to thrive in today’s world. Meanwhile, the leadership development builds on the transformative leadership qualities (inspirational, positive role models, concerned about followers, empowering and push followers to be creative and take chances) that research has shown women, as a whole, to have more of than our counterparts.
The last week in March, we were proud to launch NAWBO’s new e-learning webinar series with Fabienne Fredrickson, multi-million-dollar entrepreneur and business mentor with ClientAttraction.com. Fabienne shared some terrific best practices during “The Breakthrough Mindset Secrets of Highly Successful Women in Business,” including “if you ask, it is always given in the form of an opportunity” and “if you want to succeed and get to the next level, you have to look on the inside.” Fabienne also said three things must be congruent to overcome obstacles holding you back and be successful as a woman business owner: your thoughts, beliefs and actions. If you were able to join us, I hope you’ll implement some of these practices in your own business. If you weren’t, stay tuned for details on our next one and don’t miss it. The series is free to NAWBO members and just $35 for non-members.
Another great opportunity to connect with best practices is at the upcoming America’s Small Business Summit 2013. On April 29-May 1 in Washington D.C., NAWBO is co-hosting this event for the second consecutive year with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Latino Coalition. Join us, along with more than 600 small businesses and chamber and association executives from across the county, to network and learn from experts like Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group and star of ABC’s reality hit Shark Tank who has invested in 31 young businesses she’s now shepherding to success; Steve Forbes, chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media; and Linda Alvarado, president and CEO of Alvarado Construction Inc. Also, we’ll be advocating for pro-business policies that impact your own business success. It’s a tremendous opportunity to learn and grow, so I hope to see you there!
NAWBO also has an exciting leadership development opportunity coming up for chapter leaders. On May 7th in Newport Beach, California, we are holding our second Leadership Bootcamp for 2013. One of our top priorities as an organization is providing our chapters with the support they need to lead successfully. This can be a challenge with so many chapters spread out throughout the country and new leadership taking the helm each year. This Bootcamp teaches chapter leaders how to streamline their operations, improve their finances, grow their membership and much more, plus, it keeps everyone on the pulse of the latest NAWBO news and updates. This really is a must-attend for chapter leadership.
Later this year, NAWBO’s Women’s Business Conference is headed to Miami, Florida, with an exciting new theme “The World Awaits.” From keynotes to breakout sessions to networking in between, this event is all about best practices and leadership development. It offers something for every women business owner, so mark your calendar for October 3-5 and take advantage of the $50 savings now through June 30th during Early Bird Registration.
There’s so much happening every day as a woman business owner that it’s often hard to step back, reflect and listen to others. But that’s exactly what we need to be inspired to reach higher and wider—to reach our full potential as women business owners and leaders. I hope you’ll join us for at least one of these events, and that you’ll continue to share best practices on your own and look for ways to improve as a leader.
—Diane Tomb, NAWBO National President & CEO
NAWBO® is proud to celebrate National Women’s History Month in March and for our contributions to past milestones and for paving the way for even more success, specifically for women business owners.
When NAWBO was founded in 1975, women’s entrepreneurship looked very different than it does today. Women were required to have a male signature when applying for loans, purchasing cars or buying homes. It was during this time that 12 women in Washington, D.C. met to trade information about running their businesses and one year later incorporated as NAWBO.
As NAWBO, we organized a national network of chapters; attended White House Conferences on Small Business; testified before Congressional committees; participated in task forces and in small business groups; and more. In 1982, we held our first Women’s Business Conference in Houston, Texas. (This year, this same conference, albeit much larger, will be held October 3-5 in Miami, Florida!)
Still, a little more than a decade later, there was much progress to be made. NAWBO played a key role in the passage of HR 5050, the Women’s Business Ownership Act that was signed into law in 1988. Also known as the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988, HR 5050 included these key components:
• Elimination of state laws requiring women to have a male relative co-sign on a business loan
• Requirement that the U.S. Census Bureau count all woman-owned companies
• Establishment of the Women’s Business Center program, funding local resource centers across the country
• Creation of the National Women’s Business Council, the body of women entrepreneurs and organizations that advises the President and Congress.
In the decades since, HR 5050 has led to a 30 percent surge in the number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. It also created a policy voice for women entrepreneurs that hadn’t existed before and fuels the growth of women’s entrepreneurship even as we celebrate the legislation’s 25th anniversary in 2013.
NAWBO continues to speak out and support legislation that furthers women’s entrepreneurship today. In this issue of Focus, you’ll read how I have been asked to represent NAWBO and the voice of the growing number of women business owners in the U.S. on a new Commission on Political Reform. It was created by the Bipartisan Policy Center to understand the causes and consequences of America’s partisan political divide and to recommend reforms to help Americans achieve shared national goals.
You’ll also read about NAWBO’s exciting partnership with Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and her LeanIn.org effort, a global community committed to offering women the encouragement and support to lean in to their ambitions. Today, March 11th, we are joined by more than 150 organizations as well as thought leaders across pop culture, business, politics and education to start this powerful community. NAWBO is leaning in because we know how much female entrepreneurs have to offer one another. We support Lean In’s mission to connect and support women by creating a community that fosters their ideas, and encourages them to reach their full potential.
Meanwhile, we have included details in this issue on how all NAWBO members can now participate in our monthly Public Policy Calls. In the past, these have been exclusively for NAWBO leaders to keep them up-to-date on issues and legislation that impacts our community of women-owned and small businesses. The calls have been so successful that we are extending the invitation to all members as another NAWBO National member benefit. Please join us in these important discussions.
National Women’s History Month is a natural time to highlight what we have helped to accomplish since 1975. While it’s exciting, making history continues to be our focus every month, and every day, and there’s certainly a lot of work left to further women entrepreneurs and their access to opportunities and resources.
—Diane Tomb, NAWBO National President & CEO
Optimistic people are found to be more successful because they believe in their efforts and are more willing to put in the work, and take the risks, needed to get there. That might mean a leg up this year for the NAWBO members who participated in a brand-new survey from NAWBO and Web.com.
I was proud to jointly unveil our ‘2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses’ survey and discuss the findings and the issues that continue to impact WBOs live on Twitter with Roseann Duran, Web.com’s executive vice president and chief people officer. If you missed our tweetchat, just search for #wbochat or #wgbiz from your Twitter account for a recap of the conversation.
Coming the day before President Obama’s State of the Union address, the timing was right to share what was on the minds of some of our members, who are representative of women business owners (WBOs) as a whole.
What’s most exciting about this survey is it reveals that even in these tough economic times, women entrepreneurs are optimistic about business opportunities for the year ahead. The results, for example, show a pervasive sense of economic optimism, including a prediction by most WBOs (85 percent) that more women will become entrepreneurs in 2013 than in past years. WBOs also plan to invest more (38 percent) or the same (54 percent) in hiring this year than they did in 2012, which should have a positive impact on the economy.
Other survey highlights include:
- WBOs are optimistic about their business’ overall performance (81 percent) for the year ahead.
- WBOs are optimistic, though slightly less so, about the broader economic outlook (74 percent) in 2013.
- More than three quarters (78 percent) of WBOs did not seek a new or extended line of credit in the past year.
- Most WBOs financed their businesses through credit cards (45 percent), business earnings (40 percent) or private sources such as personal savings or contributions from family or friends (37 percent).
- When asked what they see as their biggest challenge to running their business in 2013, nearly two in five (39 percent) of WBOs said that it was gaining new customers.
- To gain customers, nearly three quarters (73 percent) of WBOs plan to invest more in marketing in 2013.
This survey also allows us to stay at the forefront of challenges and opportunities facing our members as well as women business owners in general. And ultimately, that means we can shape our advocacy efforts as we work to ensure the success of all WBOs.
For instance, according to the survey, the top four public policy issues on the minds of NAWBO members right now are: the state of the economy (57 percent), health insurance cost and affordability (40 percent), business tax issues (36 percent) and access to a quality workforce (36 percent). These issues, and others, will no doubt be part of our conversation at next month’s NAWBO Public Policy Fly-In in Washington, DC, where we meet with one another and with key decision makers from Congress and the Administration. I hope you’ll plan to join us!
Last week during our national board meeting, NAWBO National Board Chair Laura Yamanka and I were invited by senior advisor to the President, Valerie Jarrett, to meet with Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, Gene B. Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, and the Council of Economic Advisers Chair Alan Krueger in a small group setting to receive a briefing and discuss the current status of the fiscal negotiations and the latest in the push for comprehensive immigration reform. In addition, in-coming NAWBO National Board Chair, Billie Dragoo, and I met with Representatives Todd Rokita, Susan Brooks, Jackie Walorski and Andre Carson, all members of the Indiana Congressional delegation, as well as CA Congresswoman and Senior Democratic Whip Jackie Speier to bring them up to speed on the issues of concern to our members.
These are just a few of the ways we are ensuring NAWBO stays at the forefront of public policy discussions in Washington, DC.
—Diane Tomb, NAWBO National President & CEO
A new year is the chance to start a fresh page and embrace the possibility of new things. We hope you’ll look at NAWBO in much the same way in 2013. It’s a year where we have moved beyond the fiscal cliff for now, but still face slow economic recovery and uncertainty regarding key issues like spending, taxes and health care. The voice—and success—of women business owners is more important than ever.
There are so many ways to engage with us—nationally, locally and as an advocate for your business and other women business owners. How far you go is really up to you.
At NAWBO National, we offer partnerships and resources that benefit you all year long. We have the first of two NAWBO Chapter Leadership Bootcamps planned for February to support chapter leadership. We are preparing to launch the new NAWBO Institute for Entrepreneurial Development’s e-learning webinar series to address and support the unique needs and challenges of women-owned businesses. The first installment of this exciting series will be sponsored by the Sara Blakely Foundation. As you may know, Sara Blakely is the founder of Spanx. More details will be coming soon. We are also partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Latino Coalition again to bring you America’s Small Business Summit in Washington, DC, this spring. Additionally, we are on the cusp of some exciting announcements regarding NAWBO’s Women’s Business Conference later this year. You’ll want to stay tuned! Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to be among the first to know. Also, check out www.nawbo.org for news and partner discounts to take advantage of this year. These include savings on UPS shipping and freight, a free 12-month PR Newswire membership and discounted disability income insurance from Guardian. NAWBO also gets a rebate every time a member is approved for an American Express OPEN card.
In your NAWBO Chapter, you’ll find tremednous value as well. It’s where you’ll connect with local resources and women business owners with shared experiences, including challenges and successes, and the desire to further themselves and one another. Make it a point to attend your Chapter’s first networking event to rediscover what your local NAWBO Chapter is all about! Also, look to your Chapter for other partner offers exclusively for NAWBO members.
Advocacy is another important area to engage in this year, and NAWBO National continues to be involved in the issues that impact us and communicate key developments to our community. You can play a part in these advocacy efforts as well. Ask your Chapter leader about NAWBO’s Monthly Public Policy Primer Calls, for which each Chapter is appointing one delegate to be involved in the conversation about legislation and regulations. Calls take place on the fourth Tuesday of each month at noon EST, with the first on January 22nd. Another opportunity is the House Small Business Committee has a site called Small Business Open Mic for small business owners to suggest Congressional hearing topics. Give your input at https://smallbusiness.house.gov/openmic/default.aspx.
Whatever ways you choose to engage with us and advocate in 2013, we know it’s going to be a great year! Nearly 104 million businesses are now majority owned by women. And these women business owners provide 12 million jobs and generate more than a trillion dollars in sales. With all of our focus and support, this impact will only grow stronger.
—Diane Tomb, NAWBO National President & CEO