Today is International Women’s Day, an annual event that “provides an important opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements while calling for greater equality.”
On this day, I thought it would be a good time to share some tips for supporting women-owned businesses – not just today, but throughout the year.
According to the National Association of Women Business owners, there are more than 11.6 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., employing nearly 9 million people and generating $1.7 trillion in sales.
So how can you show these businesses that you support their efforts?
If you have a favorite woman-owned business, show your support by spending your money there or make an effort to find female-owned businesses in your community.
“Explore local, women-owned business and make them your go-to,” says Alyssa Rosenheck, interiors and architectural photographer, stylist, author, speaker, cancer survivor, and lifestyle expert.
And don’t keep your favorites to yourself.
“Word of mouth is powerful,” Rosenheck says. “When you find something good–let people know. Use your own platform to shed light on women who are inspiring you. This can take so many forms: from something simple like a #FollowFriday on social media, to hosting pop-ups and artist residencies, to large-scale campaign collaborations.”
Successful women can pay it forward by sharing their knowledge and expertise with other female entrepreneurs.
If you’re organizing an event or hosting a panel discussion, invite women to speak.
I can’t count the number of conferences and events I’ve attended where the speakers and panelists lacked diversity, even though many qualified women are more than qualified to speak on the topic if given a chance.
Tap into your network of female entrepreneurs or check out the Smiley Poswolsky Women and POC Speaker Initiative to give more women opportunities to speak about their businesses and share their knowledge.
Don’t forget the power of encouraging words.
“Words have power–deep, lasting forward-moving power,” Rosenheck says. “How are you using your words? To uplift, champion, strengthen, and encourage another woman?”
Use your voice to uplift and empower other women. Here are a few ideas:
- Leave a positive review on Yelp or another review site
- Promote women-owned businesses on social media
- Send an uplifting note to let a female business owner know how much you admire her and appreciate her work. Emails are nice, but handwritten notes are even more special in the digital age.
“The first thing you can do for other women is to be financially independent yourself and share what you learn,” Rosenheck says. “Start by initiating conversations about money, whether it’s salary, investment, real estate, day rates, passive income, retirement, goals, fair compensation, wealth management, taxes, or ANY other area of your financial picture you want. (Even the nitty-gritty of billing, particularly for entrepreneurs and creatives alike!) Keep financial topics at the top of the list, because much like life pivots, it’s important for those who have gone through it to share their experience.”
Now, the question is, what will you do today to support women business owners?