There are national days and months for so many causes and items that you can celebrate something almost every day of the year! This fall, October is the time to celebrate our Mendocino and Lake County women entrepreneurs with a month-long celebration of National Women’s Small Business Month. 

Did you know that:

  • Women own 42% of businesses in the US. . . that’s about 11.6 million businesses!

  • Women-owned businesses generate more than $1.9 trillion annually

  • And women of color account for 50% of women-owned businesses

Take a Tip

This October take a tip. . . or five. . . from West Center while you celebrate your accomplishments and successes. 

1.    Get Involved 

Although in-person meetings are still off limits, plenty of professional groups are continuing to meet online. Organizations such as the National Association of Women Business Owners, the American Business Women’s Association, and National Women’s Business Council and the Female Entrepreneur Association are just a few of the organizations providing support for women business owners. Locally, check out the Women in Business groups, such as Coast Women in Business, attend workshops hosted by West Women’s Business Center, and sign up to be part of 100 Women Strong, a local organization with an innovative way to support nonprofits. Consider joining local service organizations with their opportunities for networking. 

2.    Become a Mentor or Find One

Networking with others who know the ropes is essential for any small business owner. Take a look around your particular business sector and figure out who you admire for having done a great job. Ask if they would be willing to mentor you. Or join a professional or service organization where you can Zoom face-to-face with potential mentors. If you’re already established, a great way to give back is to mentor young women. Contact your local Community College and/or high school to find out whether you can offer your experience and skills. You may even get to mentor future employees! The Ladies America national organization offers annual opportunities to mentor or be mentored. 

3.    Work on your Skills

This time of Covid has demonstrated that things rarely stay the same. We’ve all been thrust into a brave new world and with that the necessity to learn new skills and coping mechanisms. October is a good time to think about the areas you need to improve in order to reach higher success. Do some research and make a list of classes that will positively affect your bottom line. Perhaps you need to work on inspiring your team––take a leadership course; there are dozens of online courses to inspire you. Maybe your online sales aren’t what they could be––learn how to use social media to your advantage or think about updating your website—check out the ABC series of West Center workshops. There’s always room for improvement!

4.    Be Inspired

Support your local bookstore by finding books about women who inspire you. From Madame Curie to Michelle Obama, from Anne Frank to Greta Thuneberg, there are so many stories of women who made a mark and who can invigorate your own vision of what’s possible. Podcasts are another way to explore women’s issues and listen to some inspiring speakers and great conversations while driving or exercising. West Center recommends Goal Digger and So Money, both covering issues that are close to the hearts of women entrepreneurs.

5.    Support Other Women

You can support other women in business by investing time or money, making donations, and purchasing goods and services from local women-owned businesses. There are many great microloan programs––such as CAMEO––where, for a modest sum, you can help provide an affordable way for women-owned businesses to secure competitive rates on loans so they can get their small businesses up and running. Support your local women business owners rather than buying from a big-box store or the ubiquitous Amazon. 

Stay Local

West Center and the Women’s Business Center is firmly supporting women this October with a great series of workshops featuring The Woman Entrepreneur. Instructor Rachel Clark kicks off the four-part series with It’s Time, a dive into how to turn your side-hustle or dream into a viable business that will put you in control. We all know that money can be a tough topic so in Money Wisdom, Rachel will take attendees on a journey from understanding basic finance issues to figuring out where to get business funding. You’ve consulted your business advisor, developed a business plan, and created a product or service––now all you have to do is sell it! Rachel will deliver some Savvy Sales Strategies that will add a spin to your pitch. Don’t be shy! You’re doing the hard work and it’s time to promote yourself. In this final session, focused on Building Your Brand, you’ll learn the value of self-promotion and understand the tools you will need to build compelling brand value. 

Pick up the phone or send us a note… we’d love to partner with you on your business adventure! Call 707-964-7571 today!

West Business Development Center is a proud member of the California Women’s Business Center network which works to secure economic justice and entrepreneurial opportunities for women by supporting and sustaining a statewide network of 13 Women’s Business Centers.