Presented by Dell for Entrepreneurs

Today is National Entrepreneurs Day, a day to celebrate the doers, dreamers, and ultimate risk takers who are innovating to solve the world’s biggest problems, while creating jobs that lift up our economy. And more than ever before, women entrepreneurs are making a significant impact, founding companies that represent 42% of all businesses in the United States.

While women-owned businesses are growing twice as fast compared to their male counterparts, only 2% are breaking past $1 million in revenue because they face barriers when trying to scale. If given greater access to resources like capital, technology, talent, and networks, more women can realize their dreams, turning their start-up into scale-ups. So, how can women entrepreneurs get over these hurdles?

We asked four successful women entrepreneurs to share the best advice and worst advice they’ve ever received and how it has impacted their journey. Here’s what they had to say.

Cassandra King Polidori, Founder, CassandraCollections

What’s the best business advice you received and why?

After taking my business full-time, my father told me to never undervalue my time or creations. As a new business owner, I didn’t feel like I could place much value on either. This advice completely changed the future of my business. I realized what I was creating was special, and every minute counts when you’re growing your business. I felt confident in the brand and products I was creating and sharing with the world, and it motivated me to price my products accurately, which allowed my business to grow.

What advice would you give to someone considering starting their own business for the first time?

Believe in yourself! Value your time and what you are doing. It’s important to know there will be difficult times. There have been moments in my career where I have wanted to quit, but I’ve always had the most incredible support system rallying behind me and cheering me on. Find those people in your life who encourage you to never give up, because believe me, there are times when you’ll need them.

Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. We all need it sometimes and asking for it is a sign of strength, not weakness.

How has technology played a role in driving your business growth?

Technology has been a huge driving force for my business. My website and social media presence are critical to the  growth of my business, and every year I have to learn new and improved methods to keep my presence up-to-date and engaging. If I didn’t evolve with technology, I’d lose customers.

What do you wish you had spent less time doing when you started your business?

Questioning my abilities. I wish I had the confidence in the early days that I have now. I feel as though my business would’ve grown much faster. Again, surround yourself with others who believe in you, lift you up, and are invested in your success.

Michele Ruiz, 3X Entrepreneur

What advice would you give to someone considering starting their own business for the first time?

All founders start with a dream and often become married to a very specific vision and offering. Altering that vision and changing the path can be a tough but necessary reality.

I’ve now started my third company, BiasSync, and I’ve learned how important it is to be open and flexible to what customers want versus what I think is the best solution. Change in any business model is inevitable, and listening to customers and focusing on their needs will often lead you in the right direction.

What do you wish you had spent more time doing when you started your business?

I wished I’d learned earlier about the importance of financial key performance indicators (KPIs). And not just P&L statements – but rather looking at your financials to evaluate the kinds of contracts that provide the most return on investment, and what kinds of resources are needed to maintain them. There are multiple ways to leverage your finances to help you scale, and every founder should consult with their CFO to develop the KPIs for their businesses.

Additionally, the businesses that tend to scale are rooted in technology, as it increases efficiency, often reduces costs, and provides an overall better customer experience.

Deb Noller, CEO, Switch Automation

What’s the best business advice you received and why?

There’s no silver bullet when it comes to good business advice. I think of it like a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle where every piece contributes to the big picture. That said, it’s not always about the advice someone gives you but the impression they made on you. One of the best role models I had was my dad. He taught me to always act with integrity. At the end of the day people want to do business with good people.

What is the worst business advice you received and why?

Many people tried to talk me out of expanding into the U.S. to scale my business. They told me that the market here is too fragmented, too big, and the costs and time were too challenging.

Unfortunately for many women entrepreneurs there is a stigma against women building large, global businesses. From the time we are born, we are conditioned to think small. Not me. I was lucky to have parents that instilled in me the belief that anything was possible. Ever since my co-founder and I started our first business, I have been fascinated by the idea of building a global business, underpinned by technology that can have meaningful impact. Today, we are a 50-person team helping some of the most iconic brands in the world optimize their buildings. Just this year alone, we’ve helped our customers save more than 3,000 tons of carbon — which equates to greenhouse gas emissions from 644 passenger vehicles for an entire year. To me, that is a real impact.

Cathi Coan, President & CEO, Techway Services

What advice would you give to someone considering starting their own business for the first time?

To network both within and outside of your industry group. For example, I was introduced to the Women’s Business Entrepreneur National Council (WBENC) and the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN). These organizations have been the best networking groups that I have ever joined because they facilitated introductions to large corporations across the US that support women-owned businesses.

How has technology played a role in driving your business growth?

Technology has played a tremendous role in driving our business growth. It has allowed us to serve more customers globally while improving our quality of service. We’ve been able to automate processes for employees, speed up production, and improve our record keeping.

What do you wish you had spent more time doing when you started your business?

When I first started my business, I wish I had found more mentors to help give me advice and guidance in the areas that I was lacking knowledge and experience. Like I mentioned earlier, networking is the key.

I experienced things the hard way and failed many times, but I learned from my mistakes and moved forward which helped me be more resourceful and delegate tasks. Sometimes you have to let go of the reins and just trust the process.

Dell Technologies is committed to accelerating the increasingly powerful role that women play in driving global economic growth. Women share a unique approach to business; they are using innovative technology to reach customers and utilize data in unprecedented ways. Women especially understand that it’s not the technology itself that is important, but what connections, solutions and changes it enables you to make.

Through the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, Dell is connecting female entrepreneurs across the globe with networks, sources of capital, knowledge and technology, giving them the power to do more. You can join other female business leaders from around the globe via TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn as we celebrate the impact of women-owned businesses on the global economy.

If you’re interested in connecting with like-minded women in business, fill out this form to join the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network today.

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