Author Archive

June 2021 Amber Grant Awarded to Revival Direct Primary Care

Monday, July 19th, 2021

We’re thrilled to announce the $10,000 June Amber Grant recipient. Congratulations to Christina Doll, Founder of Revival Direct Primary Care.

Christina is the seventh qualifier for the 2021 year-end Amber Grant ($25,000).

Recently, WomensNet Advisory Board member Marcia Layton Turner sat down with Christina for an exclusive interview. You can listen to their conversation and view the transcript below.

WomensNet: Welcome, everyone, to a chat with our latest Amber Grant winner. Today, we’re speaking with Dr. Christina Doll of Revival Direct Primary Care, who’s the Amber Grant winner for June, 2021. I’m Marcia Layton Turner. And I’m on the Advisory Board for WomensNet. So Christina, why don’t we start by just having you tell us about your business and why you started it.

Christina: Before I even do that, I just want to take a minute to really say thank you for this really incredible opportunity. I was so thrilled when I found out I was the June recipient of the Amber Grant. My heart leapt out of my chest when I got the news. I’m just so grateful for what this program is doing for women like me. So thank you, first and foremost.

My journey to becoming an entrepreneur and building this practice really began back in early 2020. I was at that time preparing to return to work after maternity leave. I had, unfortunately, a really complicated pregnancy and was quite ill. I ended up needing to be on an IV for fluids and medicine for 30 weeks straight. So I was much too sick to see patients and had taken some time away from work. But I had finally had my baby…a beautiful baby girl… and was starting to feel better and get really excited about returning to work and kind of coming out of that fourth trimester haze that I think all moms know well. Unfortunately just as I was preparing to come back to work, coronavirus started to show up in my town and of course all across the country.

And although in the news, what we really heard were stories about high demand for healthcare workers — particularly really early in the pandemic — at the same time there was this other impact of COVID happening. Healthcare workers were being put on leave and furloughed and fired, all across the country because of decreased patient visits. So things like preventive care, routine physicals… they just weren’t happening. People were staying home. Ultimately, a lot of healthcare workers were finding themselves in this position where they weren’t needed, and shockingly and sadly, that’s what I experienced firsthand. I found myself in this position where I was asking, ‘Do ride this out and kind of see if a spot opens back up for me. Or do I muster up some courage and make a change?’

For many reasons, I decided to take a leap. I think it was really important for me to get back into caring for patients. I was watching this medical crisis unfold and of course wanted to do anything I could to help. And on a very basic level, I needed an income. So I decided to go for it. Starting a practice was something that I had been dreaming of for years and years and years, but I had always told myself that it was too far out of reach. You know, I would tell myself I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t have formal business training. I didn’t have sort of this panel of patients ready to support a new practice. And it all just felt like an enormous risk, I guess.

You don’t really see too many doctors these days going out and kind of hanging a shingle like people used to, because it’s a really competitive environment. It’s pretty intimidating to do that. And on top of that, like so many other parents during COVID, I lost all my childcare options. So I knew that whatever move I made, I would be making with my newborn and my toddler in tow. That was really overwhelming and pretty scary. But having that experience with my prior position, kind of being put on hold due to COVID, showed me that even an employed position was no guarantee. And it kinda gave me that little push to take a risk and be brave. I knew that if I was going to go it alone, I needed to do something different and bring something new to the table.

I wanted to set myself apart from the hospital system owned insurance-based practices that I think all of us are used to. So what I did was I started thinking about: what is it that I look for when I look for a doctor? What do I want for my own family? And I really asked anyone who would listen and talk to me, what do you look for? What do you wish you could find in primary care? And then I got to work building that. I envisioned a practice that was really affordable, accessible… a little bit old school in style. So not so rushed, a little bit slower and intentional, but still modern. So I chose a practice model called direct primary care. That’s why I’m Revival Direct Primary Care.

It’s sort of a newer, innovative approach to healthcare that challenges this whole concept of assembly line medicine..and instead, really puts an emphasis back on the doctor-patient relationship. So what sets direct primary care practices apart is that we do not require or bill through insurance at all. The reason for that is insurance dictated healthcare comes with a lot of baggage — really opaque billing. That’s hard for families. People have high copays, surprise medical bills. There’s a lot of paperwork, administrative burden and costs associated with that…and long wait times, just for very short, rushed visits (I’m sure every patient has been through that). And a lot of that is really not at the hands of doctors or nurses, but really an insurance issue. So what direct primary care does is it tries to sort of remove that insurance middleman, to improve patient access and give people a more personal primary care experience, while also saving them a lot of money.

The way we work is that we use a monthly membership fee with completely transparent pricing. So a flat, affordable monthly membership fee covers pretty much everything I do at the office. Everything from routine physicals, preventive care, chronic care like diabetes, hypertension, sick visits, illness, injury, even things like procedures — all of that is included in that membership fee. What that means for patients is they have predictable healthcare costs that they can budget for just like a gym membership or Netflix or anything that’s a membership. They’re not getting those surprise bills and it also is giving them this access. They can call me or text me or email me and they know me and I know them. And then from my perspective, it means I can see fewer patients. I can sit with them longer, and be a little bit more intentional in my visits and spend my time listening and looking them in the eyes instead of checking boxes and running room to room. It’s really something that benefits both doctors and patients.

WomensNet: You mentioned the monthly membership. It really is line with a gym membership, right? What is that typical monthly fee per person?

Christina: Most direct primary care practices mine included use age-based tiers. Mine is based on age, and we’re talking anywhere from $50 a month to a hundred dollars a month. Comparable to a cell phone bill or a gym membership or something like that. The goal is to support the practice, but really to make it as affordable for patients as possible. And we also do things to save patients money. I dispense medication straight from the office at wholesale prices, so people don’t have to go to the pharmacy and pay those markups. We’ve got discounted pricing on labs and imaging for sort of direct pay. So we really try to be as thoughtful as we can about money for our patients.

WomensNet: I know that you’re in the early stages and I’m really impressed with the amount of market research that you did as part of this process. So where are you now? What kind of results have you seen as you are in this startup phase?

Christina: I think the scariest thing when you are starting a new business is hitting launch — making your website live and sharing it with people. And I actually kept this business really close to me. I did not tell many people for quite a long time, because I was nervous. You want to present it to the world beautifully and perfectly. But when I finally did share, the response was really incredible. Within just a few hours of launching my website, I had inquiries coming through for people wanting meet and greets to join. I will say the biggest resources was other women. I talked to moms — women do so much of the healthcare thinking for their families; the planning and the thinking. I’ve been so lucky to really have a community of moms kind of come around the practice and support it, which is wonderful.

WomensNet: What do you think has been the secret to your success thus far? It sounds like perhaps connecting with other moms has been a big piece. Is there something else you think that’s contributed?

Christina: The special sauce is just being authentic and believing in what I’m building. I’m a mom, I have two young kids. I’ve got a four-year-old and a one-year-old, and I know how challenging and kind of awful it can be to navigate the healthcare system. Even just to go to a doctor’s visit can be very stressful. So when I think about my practice, I have tried to think about it from the perspective of a parent, what can I do to make it easier, more convenient, heaven forbid more pleasant to go to the doctors. And I think that looking at things through that lens has really been helpful. And yes, I think a focus on motherhood and parenthood as a family doctor is really important. I started to offer things like newborn home visits, so that moms who have just given birth don’t have to pack up their belongings, their babies, the diaper bag, and come to the office… just doing things to make it more comfortable for people.

WomensNet: How did you originally hear about the Amber Grant, and then what made you decide to apply?

Christina: I found the Amber Grant on Google. I had been out of work for a while when I started the business. So I was not in a place to spend a lot of money. And like most physicians who have put themselves through undergraduate and medical school, I’ve got a lot of student loans on my back. So I did not want to take out another loan for the business. That was something I was trying to avoid. So I did a lot of number crunching… a lot of research, like you said, to try to figure out ways to stretch every dollar and cent I did have as far as I could go. Then I was looking for opportunities for ways to kind of give me my best shot. And when I found the Amber Grant, it really aligned so much with this female-focused, motherhood-focused practice I was building. I loved that it was so empowering for women and I watched all the videos of previous recipients and I just sort of felt this strong pull to go for it. And I’m so glad I did.

WomensNet: How are you going to use the $10,000 to grow your new practice? What are some of the biggest, best bits that you’ll make right away, do you think?

Christina: I was trying to think about what make the biggest impact on growth of the practice, both in terms of number of patients — and in terms of the services I could offer. And it shook out into three categories: equipment, marketing and then continuing education. When I was at the VA in the earliest stages, and it came time to purchase equipment, I went sort of bare bones. I tried to buy everything I could secondhand and only buy what I absolutely needed: an exam table, blood pressure, cuff… the very basics.

Of course there are pieces of equipment that I knew would make an enormous impact on my patients; probably the biggest at the top of that list was a vaccine fridge and freezer. So if you want to administer vaccines at your practice, you have to be able to store them appropriately. Because those items can be costly right now, what I would have to do is send patients to a pharmacy or the local health department for their shots. Which of course is just not convenient. It’s doable, but it’s not ideal. So the Amber Grant will allow me to purchase those, which means I can store and administer vaccines myself, which is enormous for my patients. And it also means I can take part in the Vaccines for Children program, which is a federally funded program that gives vaccines free of charge for children who might not otherwise be able to get them, because of inability to pay.

So now I can participate in that program, which really opens up my practice to more people, and is just a wonderful thing to be able to offer. So I definitely some equipment in mind.

And then marketing so far, I’ve just been doing all the free things: social media, local meet and greets, mom groups — that kind of stuff. But I’ve been presented some really nice, bigger opportunities that come with a fee, like a local magazine spread. Having this money means I’d be able to take advantage of those, which is wonderful to help me get the word out.

And then just continuing to invest in training, so that I can remain up to date on all of the evidence-based medicine. I’m double board certified in family medicine and lifestyle medicine. So to maintain those and to always be growing my knowledge base and skill set.

WomensNet: Looking even farther ahead, what are some future plans that you might have [say, in the next three to five years] for your business?

Christina: Right now I’m laser focused on creating the best possible experience for patients at every touch point. So whether it’s just interacting through the website and social media to enrolling, to coming to the office…I just want people to have a really good experience and to grow the practice organically to a size that feels comfortable and where I can still know my patients by name. And keep it sort of intimate and personal, since that was one of my visions. But always when I look down the line, I want to think about expanding services to really meet the needs of my community. So that might look like bringing on other physicians, and it might mean expanding scope a little bit. There’s some things that I would love to offer like prenatal care and some more robust fourth trimester care for women to more fully support women in the community. And the big dream would be to have a space of my own. I’m leasing a perfectly suitable office right now, but to have a space of my own where I could have rooms for things like nutrition classes and fitness and things to really serve people more fully in their health.

WomensNet: Do you have any advice for other women business owners?

Christina: The first thing that comes to mind is that it’s okay to be uncomfortable. I’m a doctor. I am not a business person. I never thought of myself as a business person. And I was really — I shouldn’t say was — I still am sometimes overwhelmed at the business side of things. The idea of forming a PLLC, and finances and licenses and all of that…I’m a planner and a studier and it’s been very uncomfortable for me to sort of sit in this discomfort of not knowing things. But I’ve learned that it’s really okay. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to learn as you go. It’s okay to make mistakes. And you really don’t need to have every answer just to start. You just have to start. I’m just of the belief, if you can do it yourself, go for it… do it.

I think that being mindful of your expenses at the beginning, your startup costs… is very important. And one of the best ways to keep those costs down is to do things yourself. That not only saves you money, but that helps you gain experience. And it really helped me gain competence as an entrepreneur. So I have anything I can do myself to save money. Whether it was designing a logo and then having graphic designer sort of refine it for me …[or] doing my own branding. I did my own website, and I have zero computer skills to speak of. So if I can teach myself, anyone can teach themselves to build a website. Just anything you can do: physical labor, painting your walls, installing your signs… whatever it might be.

We have this phrase in medicine, we say: “see one, do one, teach one.” And I think that that really applies to business as well. So when I was brand brand new and too scared to do things, I attended a conference on opening a practice. I read books by brilliant direct primary care physicians who blazed this trail. And that was my way of sort of seeing one. And then it was time to do it myself. And I hope that one day down the line, I can pay it forward. If there’s another physician who’s hoping to go down this path, then I can do the “teach one” part of it.

The First 9 Things to Do During Startup

Thursday, July 15th, 2021

Starting a new business is both an exciting and a nerve-wracking time. Exciting because of all the possibilities ahead of you and nerve-wracking because of all you don’t yet know. 

The good news is that you can learn as you go. Everyone does, in fact. However, the more you know in advance, the faster success will come.

There are probably 100 or more steps involved in starting and running a new business. That number can also vary by industry and company size. However, there are some universal steps that all entrepreneurs should consider taking. They can get you on the fastest path to success and help you avoid trouble down the line, when you’re up-and-running.

Here are the top nine things just about everyone should do during startup:

Prepare a business plan

Whether you need outside financing or not, taking the time to think through and put on paper a roadmap for your business is critical. Your business plan is a document that contains the details of what you’re selling, who your target customer is, what makes your business better than the competition, what you’ll charge, and how you’ll grow the company. It’s where you can think through where you’re headed and track your progress.

Make it official

Set up your business entity. That means choosing between a sole proprietorship, which is also referred to as a DBA because of the “Doing Business As” paperwork filed for that purpose. With a DBA, you are the business. However, if you choose to set up a limited liability company (LLC), subchapter S corporation, or partnership, those require a separate entity to be established—meaning an organization that is separate from you but which employs you. This option is often chosen for liability protection, though you should consult an attorney before making that choice.

Get a business bank account

Setting up a bank account separate from your personal checking or savings accounts is important for several reasons, not the least of which is being able to fill out your taxes more accurately. It also makes it possible to see whether your business is growing or not. Before you can take this step, however, you need to have your business officially formed, with the paperwork to prove it (the bank will ask).

Check whether you need permits

Depending on the type of business you’ve started, your local town or county may require you to fill out more paperwork. You may need a permit or license to operate your business, for example. Call your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to find out what you need to be legit.

Get insurance

Nearly every business needs to have Workers’ Compensation Insurance in place, but you may also want more than that, such as liability insurance (if you’ll have customers or employees on your premises), business interruption insurance (to cover you if your business has to close suddenly), or general coverage for your property and equipment.

Request an employer identification number (EIN).

An employer identification number (EIN) is a tax identification number and is a smart idea whether you intend to ever have employees or not. Once you have an EIN, you can use it in place of your social security number on things like invoices, loan applications, and other official documentation, which will help prevent identity theft.

Claim your domain name.

Before you design a website, stake your claim to your business domain name. Ideally, you’ll find your business name is still available as a URL with a .com suffix. If it’s already taken, try variations, such as by adding the city or state you operate in. GoDaddy is one of the biggest domain name sellers.

Create a website.

No matter what business you’re in, the majority of potential customers today are likely to head online to Google you before heading over to your store or buying from you online. They may want to find out where you’re located, what your hours are, what products or services you sell, or to straight up shop. You need to give them all that in one place—your website.

Start selling.

Sure, you may not have everything all figured out, but one of the first things you should be doing is selling, selling, selling. That’s the only way you’ll make any money in business. Let people know what you do, who your ideal customer is, who can benefit from your products or services—spread the word far and wide! Don’t put off marketing and promoting your business until everything is perfect, because it won’t ever be. 

Start where you are and keep improving as you go.

June 2021 Amber Grant Finalists

Sunday, July 11th, 2021

We’re delighted to share with you 5 finalists for the $10,000 June Amber Grant.

The June recipient will become the seventh qualifier for our 2021 year-end Amber Grant ($25,000). We’ll announce the business selected to receive the $10,000 grant by the 22nd of this month. Remember, each of the runners-up will earn $1,000 in grant funds.

Note: The $10,000 Amber Grant continues to run monthly in 2021. If you’d like to apply in support of your women-owned business, you can fill out an application. In July, an additional grant of $5,000 will be awarded to a women-owned business in the Animal Services industry.

Shortly, we’ll announce the June, business-specific grant award recipient (Business Support Service, $5,000).

Finally, a big congratulations to the following 5 Amber Grant finalists for last month:

Language Learning Market

Website

 

Rainbow Secure

Website

 

Revival Direct Primary Care

Website

 

Terrae Packaging

Website

 

The Shanwich Shop

(Website not yet available)

May 2021 Amber Grant Awarded to The Sweetberry Company

Sunday, June 20th, 2021

We’re thrilled to announce the $10,000 May Amber Grant recipient. Congratulations to Tiye Harris, Founder of The Sweetberry Company.

Tiye is the sixth qualifier for the 2021 year-end Amber Grant ($25,000).

Recently, WomensNet Advisory Board member Marcia Layton Turner sat down with Tiye for an exclusive interview. You can listen to their conversation and view the transcript below.

WomensNet: Welcome everyone to a chat with our latest WomensNet winner of the Amber Grant. Today, we’re speaking with Tiye Harris of The Sweetberry Company, formerly Sweetberry Books. And she is our Amber Grant winner for May, 2021.

I’m Marcia Layton Turner. And I’m just one of the members of the WomensNet Advisory Board. So Tiye, welcome. So glad that you’re able to chat with us. Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us about your business. Why did you start it? What do you sell?

Tiye: Sure, absolutely. Well first thank you, Marcia, for being a part of a group that has afforded women like myself to have the opportunity to be a recipient of the Amber Grant. So thank you so much. So excited to be a May recipient of the Amber Grant.

The Sweetberry Company really got started from one eventful exchange from one of my very young students. So about 13 years ago, I left a career in pharmaceutical sales to join the Teach for America Corps. It was kind of a passion of mine to teach inner city youth. So it was my first class with Teach for America — a kindergarten class in Philadelphia — and we were having a lesson where the kids had to draw what they wanted to be.

And we were going to make a comic book of what we’re going to be when we grow up. And half of the students were having trouble thinking about what they want it to be. And the other half got really busy drawing athletes, entertainers… but the other half — it wasn’t that they were spoiled for choice. It was almost as if they didn’t know what they could be. So in the drawings that had already been drawn, I noticed that no careers like teacher, police officer, a fireman, a doctor, had been drawn. So I said, ‘Hey guys, who wants to be a doctor,’? And before the students could even answer, one of my little, most bubbly students — his name is Celine — he laughed and he said

“Mrs. Harris, we can’t be doctors, were black.” And it stopped me in my tracks. And the whole class started laughing. Now this is a class of five and six year olds, and it was inner city Philly, a 100% black and about 90% low income. And I don’t say that to say that this demographic doesn’t think they can become anything; not at all. But later, statistics will show when I start The Sweetberry company, exactly why that was very important. But it just blew me away that that was the thought. And of course, while I was with those students, we did so much around black history and lessons where we can integrate that in. And I started to think, how can I help change the narrative? Because at the end of the day, you can’t be what you don’t see and you can’t achieve what you don’t believe.

And the thing was, you just need exposure. And it starting so young. This was years ago when this first started. So I thought about it over the course of years, of course, and decided that my contribution would be to use some of my creativity skills, my teaching skills, to start with the books. There have been studies that show that children are more susceptible to like reading if they see characters that look that like them, or if they see characters that have a community like theirs. But aside from that, there was a study that showed that nearly 60% of low income homes have no books in their home for the kids.

As I was teaching, I found that there were little, if any books, that my students could see themselves represented in. And I was an early elementary school teacher. So we’re talking kindergarten to third or fourth grade. And there were hardly any books where the students could see themselves. And also in these communities, in this community, there’s usually one book per 300 students. This is statistically speaking. Now this was in 2014 and we hope these demographics and these statistics have changed. But nonetheless this really fueled me to want to do something different, to help shape the narrative. So the first book was, Look What Brown Can Do, for Sweetberry Books. It is like a little kid version of a black history book. It’s made for little eyes and little fingers. It’s illustrated, it’s written in ways they can read it and understand.

And we’re not just talking about black history champions that we all kind of know about. Many of them we don’t know about. And it just caused Sweetberry Books (now The Sweetberry Company) to blossom to more books. We now have products that have characters on them because the point is, you know, “representation matters” is so much more than a hashtag. And we want every child to be able to see themselves as a hero and as a main character. And while these books are perfect for any household, it means so much to me that I’m able to put them in hands of kids that look like me and look like I did. I didn’t have that when I was a kid either.

WomensNet: That’s awesome. And what are the other two titles that you have in front of you?

Tiye: In front of us, I have Kayleigh Bailey. We often see books that have black characters and they are centered around either black culture — our hair, maybe black history — but I wanted there to be a book series where it’s just a character doing little kid stuff. So this is just Kayleigh. She’s just Kayleigh. She tends to take things very, very literally. So this is called Scaredy Cat, and she thinks when she gets scared, she turns into a cat. So it’s pretty cute. And this book here, it’s a coloring book, and it was birthed in our quarantine. Beautiful, beautiful illustrations using quotes from black champions. Just a beautiful, beautiful book, and we have others and other products on the website as well.

WomensNet: Obviously, you’ve been very successful so far. What do you think has been your secret? What’s gotten you to this point?

Tiye: This is something that I’m extremely passionate about. And when you are starting a business, businesses have challenges. They have major challenges and minor challenges, but what really keeps me going is receiving feedback. I get videos all the time, messages all the time. Just the reviews and the pictures and the videos, is so much bigger than me, that it really has helped on the days you kind of think, ‘do I have anything left in me?’

But when you get a mother to write you and say, ‘my child now wants to be an electrical engineer with a focus on cellular technology,’ ….and they’re eight? That means so much. And you get grown up saying, ‘I didn’t know, I could sing opera.’ I wanted to, when I was a kid, but I didn’t know this was here. I didn’t know this world existed. So those are the types of things that say to me, ‘you’re doing a good job and keep going.’ And that to me is more success than anything.

WomensNet: So take me back. How did you hear about the Amber Grant and what made you decide to apply?

Tiye: The Amber Grant stuck out in a huge way because not only was this centered around women in businesses, but I saw an array of women. I went on the website and I saw that this grant had been given to so many different businesses, doing so many amazing things. And also women of all walks and cultures in life. And that just stuck out to me. I was so grateful to even be able to apply, and now to be a winner, is amazing. Thank you.

WomensNet: Now that you’ve won $10,000 to grow the company, what are some of the first investments that you think you’ll make?

Tiye: So The Sweetberry company has been afforded some pretty great opportunities that haven’t been able to scale as well as I would like due to inventory. Typically, I just keep around 200, 100, books of each copy. And from a publisher’s perspective, that’s a very low amount of inventory. So when I get opportunities to perhaps, put a book in the Smithsonian National African-American Museum or other African-American museums, whether it be one in North Carolina or LA, they’re asking for such large amounts and on a monthly basis. They might say ‘Hey, we need this. This is wonderful. We want to place you here. This is great. We’ll take 550 copies or 1200.’ And so at that point, it’s a matter of timing. It’s a matter of cost.

With the Amber Grant, one of the first things that will happen are getting those numbers, those inventories up right away, so that I can fulfill those orders as well as sell on my own. Once this happens again, go to trade shows and pop-up shops, and be able to interact more with my merchandise. Aside from that, we have some pretty great things in the pipeline for stories, expanding the line for older kids, middle grade(s). One of them I’m really, really excited about, is going to feature black children and children of color with disabilities. And that’s going to take a very different kind of illustrator, because it’s comic book form. And illustrators are costly, as they should be — it takes a lot of expertise. So the Amber Grant is going to help us propel those projects forward.

WomensNet: You gave us a little bit of a taste of what’s to come next, and that was going to be my next question. What are your future plans? So beyond, say, the next six months to a year, what do you see for The Sweetberry Company.

Tiye: We’ve got so many great plans. I’m so excited. So we have planned to partner with charter schools and large organizations that service minority urban low income youth. And typically we do see a lot of children of color there. So, like I said, charter schools like Boys and Girls Club YMCA, and we are planning to start something — tentatively called The Sweetberry Book Club. The purpose of it is to get booklets and magazine type books into the hands of these kids so that they can take something home; something that’s encouraging, something that they can have and keep for themselves. It wouldn’t be a charge, because it’s a partnership with these different entities. But it really means a lot to be able to give a child something that’s going to inspire them and encourage them to look towards the future and show them what they can do.

I’m really excited about that. In addition, probably early next year, I’m currently working on a specialty coloring book that is going to specifically be for jails and prisons for activity time for visiting day. A lot of times kids like this kind of get overlooked, and I’m passionate about that. I don’t want anyone to be overlooked. They’ll still be aligned with our goal to make sure that every child is represented and they get to see themselves as a main character. Those are two of the major things that are coming down the pipeline, in addition to some more books.

WomensNet: Do you have any advice? So many of the women in our community are getting started, trying to find their way to get to where you are. So do you have any advice for them? Anything you’ve learned along the way that might help them?

Tiye: My biggest advice would be to honor your journey. Because sometimes, especially women, we look at everything we have to do. We’re moms, we’re not moms, we’re aunts, we’re working or taking care of responsibilities. We might be caring for other people. And so we keep a lot on our shoulders and we think ‘I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t be doing this. I should be this already.’ And it doesn’t help. Sometimes on social media, we see other people with some measure of success that we think we should have maybe gotten there already, but it really is a journey. And so sometimes we have to honor that journey and celebrate what we’ve already done. And that would be my biggest piece of advice.

We hear a lot of stories about how you just got to grind, grind, grind, grind. And sometimes that can feel pretty stressful, especially when you’re building a business. So honor the journey. You don’t have to be anywhere. You’re not right now. You’re in the best place; keep building and celebrate today.

Women Business Owners, Do You Need Business Insurance?

Thursday, June 17th, 2021

In a word, yes. You need insurance of some type to keep your company up-and-running long-term. Insurance is a tool to help mitigate some of the risks associated with running a business and having employees, both of which open you up to liability.

“If you have a business and hope to survive, you’ll want to protect against losses like property damage and liability claims against your business, says Fran Majidi of SmartFinancial Insurance. “Otherwise, you may have to pay for losses out of pocket or have no assistance if your business becomes inoperable.” 

Majidi points out that states each have their own specific laws and requirements regarding business insurance that you’ll want to check. However, in most states, workers compensation, unemployment, and disability insurance are required of employers.

Workers’ Comp Insurance

“Workers’ compensation will cover the costs associated with job-related injuries and illnesses,” explains Majidi. “When your employees experience work-related injuries, the company will be spared from paying their medical expenses because the insurance will cover, if not all, most of it,” says Nick Schrader, an insurance agent with Texas General Insurance.

Unemployment Insurance

Employers are often required to carry unemployment insurance, which helps support workers who lose their jobs “for reasons beyond their control,” Majidi says.

Liability Insurance

“It doesn’t matter what type of business you own; liability insurance can protect you from any customer accidents in your store. Liability insurance can help provide coverage from bodily injury or property damage,” explains Jim Pendergast, senior vice president of altLINE Sobanco, a business advisory firm.

Commercial Umbrella Insurance

Another type to consider is commercial umbrella insurance, which “is an added insurance that extends coverage. If you live in a place prone to break-ins or property damage, umbrella insurance is worth its weight in gold,” Pendergast says.

Property Insurance

If your company has a physical presence that employees and/or customers visit, you’ll want to consider liability insurance and property insurance. “You wouldn’t want to throw away your hard-earning money by not making your establishment, tools, and equipment insured,” says Schrader. “Having property insurance ensures that whatever unfortunate events may happen in your establishment, everything will not be wasted because you can file a claim for it.” Meaning, you can be reimbursed for your losses.

Data Breach Insurance

With the exponential rise in computer hackers stealing business data, or holding it hostage, data breach insurance may be something to consider, especially if a large portion of your intellectual property or assets reside online. Pendergast explains that “any costs you must pay when data is stolen can come from data breach insurance.”

Key Man Insurance

Lyle Deitch, an insurance professional and CEO of Parachute360, says, “I always recommend that small business owners have key man insurance….[it] can be invaluable in buying your business, investors and family the time it needs to sort out the business, so that it can continue operations.”

Business Interruption

“Business interruption insurance, or BII, can be bought separately from a BOP policy, but it’ll cost more,” Majidi explains. “BII isn’t just lost income insurance, either. In the event of a covered catastrophe, BII may help pay mortgages and leases, taxes, relocation costs (this is especially important if this determines whether or not a business can get back on track), payroll costs and more.”

Business Owner’s Policy (BOP)

“Most small businesses would do well to purchase a small business owner’s policy (BOP), which combines business property, business liability and business income in one affordable policy,” says Majidi. “With this policy, your business would be covered if there were damages done to the building, equipment, furniture, documents, and all other contents. You’d also be covered if your business operations came to a halt due to a covered catastrophe,” she says.

“Often, the difference between a business that overcomes a disaster and one that shuts down is the right business insurance policy,” says Majidi.

Heather Burns of Hutcheson Reynolds & Caswell Insurance in Ontario, Canada, points out that business insurance can help protect all the assets associated with a business and can help “absorb the financial burden of a loss to their business.”

Big picture, she says, business insurance “is designed to give all business owners peace of mind knowing their investment is protected.”

May 2021 Amber Grant Finalists

Wednesday, June 9th, 2021

We’re delighted to share with you 5 finalists for the $10,000 May Amber Grant.

The May recipient will become the sixth qualifier for our 2021 year-end Amber Grant ($25,000). We’ll announce the business selected to receive the $10,000 grant by the 25th of this month. Remember, each of the runners-up will earn $1,000 in grant funds.

Note: The $10,000 Amber Grant will continue to run monthly in 2021. If you’d like to apply in support of your women-owned business, you can fill out an application. In June, an additional grant of $5,000 will be awarded to a women-owned business in the Business Support Service industry.

Shortly, we’ll announce the May, business-specific grant award recipient (Mental & Emotional Support, $5,000).

Finally, a big congratulations to the following 5 Amber Grant finalists for May, 2021:

ActivArmor

Website

 

La Vie en Code

Website

 

Roe Lashay Yoga/Girl Stance

Website/Website

 

Rozanna’s Violins

Website

 

The Sweetberry Company

Website

WNN Blog Get application & business ideas on the WomensNet blog »

What people are saying about WomensNet

Forbes

“You have to be in it to win it...seize the opportunity and apply.”

Nerd Wallet

“The Foundation awards $10,000 to a different women-owned business every month. At the end of each year, one of the 12 grant winners is awarded an additional $25,000.”

Score

“Launched 20 years ago this grant honors the memory of a young woman who wanted to be an entrepreneur but died at age 19 before she could achieve her goal.”

Fundera

“The Amber Grant Foundation was launched in 1998 to honor the memory of a young woman. The grant was formed to help women entrepreneurs reach their goals when Amber could not.”