Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart.
Consider this: Recent studies indicate that 80 percent of small businesses survive the first year. By the end of the fifth year, about half are still in business. At the 10-year mark, only 30 percent remain.
That data can make small business ownership feel unattainable — or it can be used as motivation to ramp up your leadership skills. By actively pursuing knowledge and new skills, you can push forward, pivot and grow in your industry.
During the pandemic, Bellingham PR & Communication’s founder, Patti Goethals Rowlson, did just that. She worked to improve her small business by participating in a ScaleUp Business Training program during the summer of 2021, and she found the experience — designed to help established businesses increase profitability, build capacity and spur growth — to be excellent.
“It was definitely worth the time and mental energy investment,” she said.
Some examples of tactics learned in the course:
• Organizing and creating business systems to get more done in less time.
• Strategies for increasing revenue.
• Strengthening your product and/or service.
• Creating your competitive advantage in the marketplace.
• Designing a marketing strategy that increases sales leads.
• Understanding financial statements and critical business drivers and metrics.
Goethals Rowlson attended weekly Zoom classes that were facilitated by a lively and engaging business adviser, and she completed homework assignments each week.
The live sessions provided an opportunity to connect with fellow business owners across Washington who were in a similar state of growth.
“That was so nice, because owning a small business can be isolating at times,” Goethals Rowlson said. “It was helpful to hear tips and fresh ideas, challenges, and achievements from others who are in a similar position.”
Though it was challenging to squeeze study time into an already packed schedule, the homework assignments provided Patti opportunities to explore and to do higher-level thinking.
“Through the eight-week ScaleUp program, I learned how to improve business systems and how to better monitor the financial health of my small business through reporting,” she said. “As a result, I revamped BPRC’s technology and financial systems.”
Through dedication to growth and a willingness to learn and implement new strategies, small business leaders can lift their companies to new heights.
Interested? Check out the ScaleUp Business Training program, offered by the Washington State Department of Commerce.