The South Carolina Women's Business Center's held it's First Annual Spring Luncheon on Wednesday, April 9th and it was the probably the best $50 I've ever spent! It was a panel discussion featuring the Upstate's most influential women entrepreneurs and was moderated by dynamic speaker and author, Deb Sofield.
Panel members included:
- Carmen Geschke, Owner and President of Protec-Enterprises LLC
- Taryn Scher, President and Founder of TK PR
- Elizabeth Garrison Rasor, Founder of Ever-Green Recycling
- Cindy Parker, Owner of Eyes In Motion and Georgia/Carolina Safety Specialties, Inc.
- Karen Knuckles, Owner of Express Employment Professionals
We not only heard from this amazing panel, there was also an opportunity for a speed mentoring session with one of the panelists. I had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with Karen Knuckles of Express Employment Professionals. Each panelist came from a different industry and background, so there was something for everyone to grasp. There was valuable information for participants of all levels; whether new business owners or seasoned small business veterans of 20 years.
Here are some notes that really stuck with me:
Getting Your Business Started:
- Make a decision! Whether right or wrong, make a decision, live with and learn from it.
- It's not always about your actual product or service, it's also about running the business side of things. (Marketing, Training, Finance, Cash Flow, etc.)
- Never allow one client to be the bulk of your income.
- Cultivate a relationship with a banker. You'll need them!
- Learn what you're worth and stay your ground!
Advice on Running Your Business:
- Be Persistent! You can't give up easily, there will be some roadblocks, you must find a way to push through or get around them.
- For as long as you have a paycheck coming in, knock on every door! You can't stop just because you get a new client or make a big sale. You must continue to "knock on doors".
- Get the right people on your team. Your personal board of advisers and your business board of advisers are extremely important.
- Volunteer! Find an organization that you can benefit from your services. Be strategic, if you want to be in public relations, volunteering to pick up trash is great, but providing your PR services for free is a better way to utilize your time and get your name out there.
Words of Wisdom for New Entrepreneurs:
- Focus on what you're EXCEPTIONAL at doing, not just kind of good.
- Do your homework before asking for a mentor. We are all busy people; don't waste someone's time with things you can find on Google!
- Have a clear niche and go after that.
- Fear will push you, it will make you succeed, so it's good and normal to have feelings of fear when you're getting started. That fear will actually follow you throughout and will motivate you to put in the work.
- Carve out time for yourself, you may have to schedule it like a meeting on your calendar. You'll be at your best when you are well rested and make time for things you love doing.
I also learned that the South Carolina Women's Business Center offers free one-on-one counseling to help with business plans, business management, feasibility of business ideas, preparing you to seek funding... anything you need to help you get started. The Upstate chapter planned today's event, and they did an amazing job! I'll be signing up to get counseling and will plan to attend many more events that they organize.
By J.B. Wiener