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Grow Your Business and Strengthen Your Entrepreneurial Mindset — 3 Key Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs Three strategies to help women entrepreneurs unlock business growth and success.

By Sharon Miller

Key Takeaways

  • As a woman entrepreneur, you should prioritize establishing and expanding your business growth plans. This is an important first step to track progress and achieve goals.
  • By owning your chair and leaning into your tenacity, you can cultivate the mindset needed to succeed in the entrepreneurial landscape.
  • Networking, mentorship and continuous education play pivotal roles in developing skills and fostering growth.
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Women business owners have been the driving force behind America's economic rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic. For the third year in a row, women have created about half of new businesses, according to a 2023 report from the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

The momentum women entrepreneurs have right now cannot be ignored and won't be slowing down anytime soon. Women across the country have a hunger and drive to push the envelope as business owners, and we need to work together to break down the barriers to success. As we near the end of Women's History Month, I encourage women business owners to take advantage of this momentum and channel that into growth in the year ahead. Growth is an all-inclusive term when it comes to business ownership, involving physical business growth as well as developing and strengthening your entrepreneurial mindset.

Here are a few areas of interest for women business owners looking to take the next step for their businesses:

Related: A Look Back at Women's Entrepreneurship Over the Last 35 Years — and How We Can Change the Future for Women Business Owners

Establish and expand your business's growth plan

Last fall, a Bank of America survey found that 45% of women business owners plan to expand their business in 2024.

If your business is ready, the best way to start is to create a plan, set goals and identify key areas of need for your business. Whether it's additional funding, staffing support, new forms of capital, additional inventory or expanding your real estate footprint, having a plan on paper is a crucial first step to track your progress and achieve your goals.

Revisit and revise your growth plan regularly — quarterly, I'd suggest — to account for any internal changes, such as product and service updates, or external factors, such as new economic trends. Doing so will help you avoid any unnecessary hurdles or unforeseen gaps in the marketplace.

Each time you reevaluate your business plan, review your business's performance and compare it to previous months or years as applicable. Update projections as they relate to cash flow and fixed costs, and review feedback from your customers, employees and other stakeholders to help you better understand your business's needs to help drive growth.

Own your chair and lean into your tenacity

Women are underrepresented in the entrepreneurial landscape. According to the World Economic Forum, men outnumber women three-to-one when it comes to business ownership worldwide. This gender disparity has been a key factor in "The Confidence Gap," where women feel less assured than men, specifically as it relates to their role in the workforce.

When I find myself facing "The Confidence Gap," I remind myself to "own my chair." To me, this means recognizing that we deserve to be where we are — knowing we worked hard to achieve our goals and that we deserve to have our voices heard. I will be the first to admit that this is usually easier said than done.

To truly believe this, practice affirmations, advocate for yourself, and continue to grow and learn from past successes and mistakes. Each of these small actions can help you grow your entrepreneurial mindset and move — whether it be growing and promoting your own small business, dominating the board room or owning your expertise in the classroom.

Networking and mentorship also continue to be crucial skills and tactics for women as they build their communities. In addition to helping women advance in the business world, mentors can help educate and empower women entrepreneurs, opening doors that could aid in advancing or scaling their business operations. In fact, research from the University of Chicago found women entrepreneurs ran more successful businesses after receiving mentorship from other women compared to receiving mentorship from men or no mentorship at all.

Related: How Women Entrepreneurs Can Find Women Mentors

Build upon your education

Another great way to grow as a business owner is through continuous education opportunities. To develop and enhance your leadership style, I encourage women business owners to use tools and resources at their fingertips to help their small businesses succeed, especially as the business landscape is in a continuous state of change.

At Bank of America, we believe that women entrepreneurs are fundamental to driving strong, healthy economies, so we invest in partnerships and educational tools that connect women business owners to the mentoring, training and capital resources required to propel their businesses to succeed. In 2021, we partnered with Seneca Women to launch the Bank of America Access to Capital Directory, a first-of-its-kind resource to help women- and minority-owned businesses identify potential sources of funding. Additionally, our Bank of America Institute for Women's Entrepreneurship at Cornell is the only online Ivy League certificate program for women business owners in the world.

Outside of this, there are several options for women to continue their education. Top organizations include the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), which advocates for women entrepreneurs all over the U.S. and hosts in-person and online events for members, offering them educational resources and tools to help all women business owners.

There's also the Association of Women's Business Centers, which has more than 100 business centers across the U.S. and offers resources to promote equity and opportunity for women entrepreneurs. Another excellent organization is Ladies Who Launch, which takes a modern approach to empowering women entrepreneurs through digital networking and events. Each of these organizations works passionately to inspire women business owners and help foster the next generation of leaders among us.

Related: 3 Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs to Overcome Common Hurdles in Business

It's natural to feel overwhelmed by the challenges of owning a business, let alone successfully navigating the ever-changing business environment. However, taking proactive steps to grow both your business and entrepreneurial mindset can help. Women are intelligent and resilient and have proven they can overcome the challenges that are thrown their way.

Every Women's History Month, I take time to reflect on the advances women have made, and I value the opportunity to pay homage to this and the next generation of confident women business owners who will continue to learn, grow and thrive in the years to come.

Sharon Miller

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

President of Small Business and Head of Specialty Banking & Lending

Sharon Miller is the president of Small Business and head of Specialty Banking and Lending, which includes overseeing Consumer Vehicle Lending, at Bank of America. In addition, she is a member of the company’s management operating committee.

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