Each week as Smallbizlady, I conduct interviews with small business experts on my weekly Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. This is excerpted from my #SmallBizChat interview with Tory Johnson @ToryJohnson Tory is an award-winning business leader, national network television contributor, popular speaker and bestselling author devoted to career success. She also the founder of the Spark and Hustle National Conference for Current & Aspiring Small Business Owners www.sparkandhustle.com.
Smallbizlady: What are some advantages of being a woman in business?
Tory Johnson We can make something from nothing – we do it all the time for dinners, we make up activities for our kids, we’re super resourceful and we’re focused on getting things done.
Smallbizlady: What are some common obstacles women business owners face in start-up phase?
Tory Johnson Lack of funding and a discomfort with sales. Two huge challenges.
Smallbizlady: Do you think some women sabotage themselves as business owners?
Tory Johnson Yes, definitely, mainly with self-doubt – assuming they’re not good enough or that they don’t deserve the success.
Smallbizlady: What kinds of team do you have within your business and how important is it to have a team?
Tory Johnson I started on my own and as you grow, it’s essential to have the right people around you. It’s difficult to grow when you stay the same size. My staff is focused on sales and marketing – it’s what we do every day.
Smallbizlady: Have you used business coaches and/or a board of advisors to help you grow your business ventures?
Tory Johnson: Informally, yes, all the time. I don’t have one go-to guru. I go to lots of different people depending on the need at any one time.
Smallbizlady: How did you become GMA’s career expert? What advice would you give other thought leaders with national media aspirations?
Tory Johnson I pitched really great segment ideas – fresh, new, trend-worthy topics. I wasn’t peddling the same old. I had tons of previous local TV experience. I was–and still am–willing to hustle to produce the best segments. Make sure you’re media ready. Make sure your ideas serve the audience, not your business. Make sure you watch/follow the outlets you’re pitching.
Smallbizlady: Is it a good business model to develop a business targeting women customers?
Tory Johnson Sure, but more importantly, you want to narrow your niche. ALL WOMEN is too big. Focus more specifically on who exactly you serve.
Smallbizlady: Many women juggle family responsibilities and running their businesses, do you have any advice on have to manage?
Tory Johnson Say no to what’s not important, get your family involved in your business, it’s ok if the dishes sit in the sink an extra hour.
Smallbizlady: How often do you think women business owners should reinvent their businesses?
Tory Johnson As often as the market demands. Don’t fix what aint broke, but listen to your audience. My business grows only when I pay attention to what my followers want.
Smallbizlady: How should a woman business owners pursue a mentor?
Tory Johnson Don’t ask: WILL YOU BE MY MENTOR? Develop a natural relationship. You can’t push this. Join organizations that are aligned with your industry and interests and get involved.
Smallbizlady: You recent added business coach to your national brand, launching the Spark and hustle national tour for current & aspiring small business owners. What are you trying to accomplish with this new effort?
Tory Johnson Quite simply, help women launch and grow their small business dreams. I’m successful at serving employees, now we’re doing it for entrepreneurs.
Smallbizlady: What is the best advice you ever received in business?
Tory Johnson Don’t rely on anyone else–it will always come down to you and what you’re willing to do. Nobody will do it for you.
If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9pm ET follow @SmallBizChaton Twitter.
For more tips on how start or grow your small business subscribe to Melinda Emerson’s blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com.