Post by Liz Cullen, contributing Women On Business writer
I left DC in the pouring rain early this week to arrive at the Women Presidents’ Organization Conference on Coronado Bay in San Diego. The location was tempting and, I admit, was one of the main reasons I lobbied to attend our sister organization’s conference. I have been to WPO conferences for years in various locations, however, and I knew that even if there was a glitch in sunny San Diego’s perfect weather matrix, the conference would renew and re-energize me.
The WPO is the sister organization of WPEO and is a peer advisory group for women who own multi-million dollar businesses. Although (or maybe because) the conference does not focus on certification or procurement, my areas of focus and expertise, I always come away a little smarter. The conference concentrates on the big picture – a task that can be challenging at the best of times but which is crucial when times are tough and budgets are tight. Of course, not everyone can be in San Dieg,o so I will share a few of the things I have learned over the years from some of the country’s savviest entrepreneurs:
- You can’t know everything – So look for people who know what you don’t. One of the key aspects of any conference is listening to advice of experts and adapting their wisdom to the inner workings of one’s own company or department. What women business owners seem to understand better than most is that some of their best resources can be found at these gatherings, not only in the featured speakers but especially among their fellow business owners.
- Working on the business is as important as working in the business – An important part of conferences like these is to take the opportunity to get out of the daily routine and analyze what your company’s goals are and what innovative things you can do to achieve them. You don’t need to go to San Diego to get this perspective either. Just scheduling time outside the office for regrouping and reenergizing, with key management or with trusted friends can rejuvenate you for the regular grind of running your business.
- Work doesn’t always have to be work – one thing these successful women business owners have in common is that, while they work hard, they truly enjoy what they do. Without exception they say that 1) they did not make a 5, 10, 20 year plan to be where they are and 2) there is nowhere else they would rather be. Planning is important as is goal setting (and achieving). To some extent, however, you have to be adaptable and flexible while choosing a route that is comfortable and enjoyable for you. I cannot count how many times I have heard, “Do what you like. The money (success, things you want) will come.”
With that, I am off to the beach to do what I like.