By Cindy Krischer Goodman
Ginny Simon, mother of four boys, saw an empty nest in her future. So she became an entrepreneur.
It didn’t exactly happen overnight. But it happened in a big way. Ginny makes organic, gluton-free baked goods. Her products have landed on the shelves of massive retailers such as Fresh Market and Whole Foods. Her volume is so large that she has had to build a 8,500-square-foot commercial kitchen. The idea for Ginny Bakes sprouted from her consulting business. She’s a holistic nutritionist and self-professed “health nut” who came up with this idea when she was unable to find baked goods for her clients.
On Tuesday, Ginny and other successful entrepreneurs shared the stage and offered advice at the two-day Women’s Success Summit in Miami, which wrapped up Wednesday. Here are some pearls of wisdom they shared with aspiring entrepreneurs:
* “It takes passion and believing in your product to overcome challenges,” Ginny said. She has has reinvested all profits to grow the business, but she remains confident it will pay off. She says she’s careful to listen to the feedback and tailor her products to what people want. “Creative people are not brilliant but they listen well,” she said.
* “Know your purpose and how your business fulfills that purpose,” said Susie Taylor, president and head of product development for Bibbitec. Susie says her purpose is staying passionately ethical. She had an opportunity to sell her bib business to a company that would take the manufacturing to China. She chose to keep it and have her unique bibs made locally in Hialeah. She is about to appear on ABC's "Shark Tank."
* “Founding a company may be your passion, but if you can’t make money, it’s not a business,” said Carol Fenster, co-founder of Baby Abuelita, which recently licensed its toy products and is developing an assortment of new products.
* “You cannot be an expert in everything, which is why I surround myself with experts. As you grow, you have to visualize the business working without you. Take the time to mentor people who can take the work load off you," said Leila Chang Pipich, CEO of Florida Dental Benefits and founder and president of Ideal Lifestyle Concierge.
* “You have to ask yourself, ‘are you building a business or creating a job for yourself?’ ” said the founder of the Women’s Success Summit, Michelle Villalobos. “If you are interested in building a business, look around for someone who has had success with what you’re trying to do.”
* All of the women said it’s important to get your spouse’s support – and that’s something that may take time. Ginny and Susie both revealed their husbands, both lawyers, were reluctant about their ventures, particularly about reinvesting profits. But with success came approval. Both spouses now work for their wives' businesses.
Cindy Krischer Goodman is CEO of BalanceGal LLC, a provider of news and advice on how to balance work and life. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read her columns and blog at worklifebalancingact.com.