Finding the Story Behind the Business

For the last month, I have been working on a unique project here at the Centre – updating the Success Stories section of our website. With that goal in mind, I was tasked with interviewing a variety of women entrepreneurs and writing a short profile on each of them. Swallowing my irrational fear of phone calls (I can’t be the only one?), I began to work my way down the list of 23 entrepreneurs, questions in tow.

I wondered if my questions would become dull.  I asked “Why and how did you decide to become an entrepreneur and start your business?” and “What is your business philosophy?” I naively thought there wouldn’t be much variety to the answers. I was dead wrong.

As I got more and more interviews under my belt, I was amazed at the variety of answers that came my way. There are so many reasons why women decide to start their own business, and just as many management styles that are used to run them. The responses ranged from wanting flexibility as a mother, to a desire to improve the current standards in their industry. As to business philosophy, some entrepreneurs focus on providing an unforgettable experience for their customers, while others aim to build a powerful and renowned reputation. As I put the finishing touches on the last of the profiles, I realize how anxious I am to share the stories onto our website. There were so many nuggets of wisdom that I gathered in the conversations with urban and rural women entrepreneurs that I will leave you here with a sampling of their insights:

• Instead of resisting change, embrace it and pay attention to the signs that something new is coming. Are there multiple things pointing you in one direction? Then appreciate when the puzzle pieces are fitting together.
• Seek out a strong support system. Some entrepreneurs find it in their families and friends, while others find it in their staff. An entrepreneur’s success depends on their support systems.
• Develop your business philosophy early on, and act accordingly. The quote “Begin as you intend to go on” is sage advice. Decisions are easier when you know you’re heading down the path you want.
• Give back when you can. Remember how it felt to be an employee and make an effort to treat your staff as you would want to be treated.

• When facing obstacles, reach out to available services. The Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba is one of several supports for entrepreneurs in Manitoba. Stepping over a hurdle is easier with help from experts in the field.

To learn more about the clients I had the privilege of interviewing, keep an eye on our Success Stories page. We will add a new entrepreneur profile each week starting in April: