Post by Liz Cullen, contributing Women On Business writer
Women business owners know perhaps better than most that the economy is continuously providing gloomy news, and it does not appear to be getting sunnier anytime soon. However, a couple of events that I recently attended have pointed out that there are some sunny spots –especially for women business owners –despite the economic forecast.
The first was WPEO-DC’s Breakthrough Breakfast on June 5th where about 200 women business owners came to identify opportunities with major corporations. The speakers from Avis Budget Group and Bank of America did not shy away from the challenges posed by the economy – vendors lists are getting slimmer as are corporate budgets. Layoffs may make your corporate contact disappear, and overall, no one wants to be the one that takes a risk. Women business owners are crucial to facing these challenges, and turning them into opportunities. Women are entrepreneurial and flexible – they have the capability to solve a problem a company does not even know it has yet. Along with that, changes in corporate structures can offer new opportunities to build relationships and to present new solutions. Finally, women business owners’ best allies are one another. The woman owned business that came before you and fulfilled a contract on time and under budget demonstrates that working with women business owners at times like these is not risky, but rather, a necessity.
The second bright spot was in an admittedly rather gloomy discussion. Several bankers came to speak to a group of non-profit organizations about the economy and when we can expect things to turn around. While the answer was, essentially, “don’t hold your breath” the bankers all agreed that despite the still depressed housing market along with low levels of consumer spending and high levels of unemployment – there is still money to be made in this economy. Federal stimulus money came up frequently, which is no surprise given that the talk took place across the street from the white house. Economists also stressed that with a little foresight and planning and a lot of ingenuity – there a bright spots in the otherwise gray outlook they were giving us for the next several months.
I felt positive about this because, as major corporations and economic experts seem to agree – women business owners, despite their cash flow or credit, are never short on innovative thinking. Opportunities are available even in a down economy, and now is the perfect time to evaluate your business, and find new opportunities that you may not have considered before.