Scaling Your Business

By Erik Molander, Board Member, Woman Led

Many women face barriers in scaling their businesses.  I’ve mentored hundreds of female owned businesses and have found a pattern of women successfully launching their business and gaining the first set of customers, but becoming mired in taking the business to the next level.  Research has confirmed my observation.  In the Portland metro area, only 12.5% of female owned businesses have grown enough to support at least one employee.   There are 67,000 businesses in Portland alone that are struggling to scale[1].

 This is a problem that we have to solve because the stakes are so high.  Companies that have failed to scale generate an average of $32,000 in sales.  Companies that have overcome the barriers to growth generate average revenues of $889,000.  A company that only generates $32,000 is not sustainable.  We call them the “Living Dead”.  They generate just enough revenue that it is hard to walk away, but not enough to create the resources to grow.  For our local economy and the nation as a whole we need these intrepid entrepreneurs to grow so that they can start hiring employees.  We need them to grow so that consumers and businesses have access to the solutions they offer. 

We need to focus on barriers that women owned businesses face to fuel the economy.  Male owned businesses achieve scale at a rate roughly double (27.2%) of female owned businesses.  Businesses that have equal female / male ownership scale at an even higher rate – 36.5%.  If we match the scaling rate of female/male owned businesses that would add 18,500 additional firms to the scaling category and at an average of 6.7 employees per firm over 123,900 jobs.

If this resonates with you, reserve your spot today and attend the Woman Led Unconference on March 11th, 2017. Register for the conference at: Woman Led Unconference.  An Unconference is different.  The participants set the agenda - you decide which topics to cover.  The community of knowledge of the participants and invited experts is sure to have some thought provoking insights.

[1] Survey of Business Owners 2012 US Census Bureau