Unprecedented Survey of Midwest Women Business Owners Reveals Key Challenges, Opportunities

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New report by Black Dress Partners identified Human Resources, Strategic Support, Growth & Capital, and Marketing as top concerns

The lack of focus on growth and growth planning is monumental.

Black Dress Partners, a business consulting and coaching organization founded by Erin Joy, announces the results of an unprecedented 360° organizational and leadership survey completed by women who own companies worth $1-25 million throughout the Midwest to evaluate key business functions.

This survey is the first of its kind to be conducted in this area. The resulting data will prove invaluable to both women business owners and companies who target women business owners as both groups grow their organizations.

The survey was developed in 2015, in part, to find out why 30% of small businesses in the U.S. are women owned, yet only 2% of all women-owned businesses break the $1M mark. It was sent to more than 5000 women business owners throughout the Midwest. Results indicate that the primary challenges facing women business owners are Human Resources, Strategic Support, Marketing, and Growth & Capital. Cash-flow management and taxes dominated finance concerns; marketing strategy, social media strategy, and execution topped marketing challenges. Cybersecurity was the primary IT concern; and employee hiring and personnel management were noted as areas of weakness in the HR arena.

“My team partnered with several experts to create and distribute this unique survey—and acquire meaningful results to inform overall business planning strategies for women business owners,” said Joy. “The lack of focus on growth and growth planning is monumental. Data indicates it is because women are too busy working IN the business to take a step back and work ON the business; they have prioritized business challenges incorrectly, and there is a severe lack of support systems in place to help fuel their success.”

The secondary purpose of the survey was to garner statistics to inform last year’s first annual Midwest Women Business Owners’ Conference—an event presented by Black Dress Partners bringing female business owners together to discuss crowdsourced, relevant, provocative business topics. This educational, interactive event will bring top women business leaders throughout the Midwest together again on October 28, 2016 at The Ritz Carlton in Clayton, MO.

“Now that we have the data showing what challenges women business owners in our region are facing, it’s time to focus on the why behind these roadblocks,” said Joy. “During this year’s event, expert panelists, speakers, and peer business owners will tackle these salient survey topics.”

The agenda is packed with high performers and regional influencers. A segment on leadership will include a panel with Diane Butrus, Chief Operating Officer of Diba Imports, Deanna Daughhetee, President/CEO of American Equity Mortgage, Kara Newmark, Founder/CEO of Sweetology, and Lorenza Pasetti, President/CEO of Volpi Foods. There will be an Operations panel with Patrick Barry, President of Saint Louis Football Club & St. Louis Scott Gallagher, Catrina Cook, Director of Operations & Marketing at Spellman Brady & Company, Mary Houlihan, former Chief Operating Officer for St. Louis Public School District, and James Ottolini, Chief Brewing Officer at Brew Hub. There will also be panels addressing resiliency and marketing.

Breakfast, lunch, and a networking cocktail hour are included in ticket prices. Event tickets can be purchased at mwboc.eventbrite.com. For more information, visit http://www.midwestwboconference.com. To download the comprehensive survey report:

About Black Dress Partners
Black Dress Partners is a business consulting and coaching organization that helps second-stage women business owners strategize, prioritize, and execute organizational growth and efficacy. The Black Dress Partners team accomplishes this via two primary channels: expertly facilitated, results-driven roundtables (Black Dress Circles), and one-on-one consulting and coaching. For two years in a row, Black Dress Partners has been recognized as one of St. Louis’ top consulting firms. Founded by Erin Joy in 2011 to propel success in entrepreneurial companies, Black Dress Partners has improved the productivity, efficiency, and profitability of companies across many industries. For more, http://www.blackdresspartners.com or 314-223-0000.

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Andrea Arco
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