This holiday season, it’s more important than ever to give back, and we don’t just mean by making everyone feel beautiful by putting them in gorgeous underpinnings. No, the season of grace and giving means much more to us. In fact, it strikes at the very heart of who we are as a business: a woman-owned enterprise. This year, Hips and Curves is proud to have earned certification as a woman-owned enterprise from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.
Yes! What a reason to celebrate. But the occasion has us thinking about all the great ways that woman-owned businesses contribute to the role of women in business, and we wanted to pass on some tips to all you aspiring woman business owners out there.
Providing and Finding Mentorship
If you’re a woman, finding a mentor in the business world can be tough. Women just find it harder to ask for a mentorship relationship or don’t know how to go about finding them. (A recent study showed that although 78% of women in senior leadership roles have acted in a formal mentorship role, very few of them actually had mentors themselves.) As a woman-owned business, we can change that. Within Hips and Curves, we’re happy to provide mentorship to anyone in our company who wants it–and we’re looking forward to finding more companies who do the same, so we can increase the number of women in leadership positions.
So how can you find a mentor? First, take a close look at people whose business styles you admire. Look outside your own field, even. Don’t be afraid to ask a bigwig, but don’t ask a complete stranger. Look around. Use your network. And remember this: You’re not ready to ask someone to be your mentor if you don’t have a clear idea of where you want to be in your own career. Draw up a roadmap and use it when you ask the person you’ve chosen.
There’s been an uptick in women-owned businesses that are also minority-owned. Corporations want to work with companies that are both women-owned and diverse, so that’s good news for everyone. As our nation becomes more diverse, women-owned and minority-owned businesses are contributing to the bottom line, and making a genuine mark on everyone’s economic health.
If you’re just starting out in business, keep in mind that seeking out diversity in your team is a great way to gain perspective. And remember that diversity doesn’t just mean ethnicity: it means economic and sexual diversity, too.
There’s another interesting angle to this diversity bit: more and more veterans are in the workforce, and they’re a great addition to your diverse team.
Make an impact on your community
Everyone, from multinational corporations to civic governments, wants to hire diverse. Hiring woman-owned businesses throughout the supply chain is a great way to do that, so they’re always on the lookout for us.
When you’re seeking out new businesses, go for the public utilities, your city’s government, the big, big corporation headquartered far away or with an office just down the street from you. Working for entities that affect our daily lives is a great way to have an impact.
Tell us about your experience as a woman-owned business in the comments below.