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Out of the Mouths of Sages

Mar 1, 2019

As written for Fargo, INC

We have the great honor of working with many savvy women business owners.

Each one with a fresh perspective and unique ideology of what it takes to run their business.  As we look across our portfolio, there is one thing that they all have in common – wisdom.  With experience comes wisdom.  With wisdom comes the responsibility to share it.

So, in the spirit of facilitating that process, we reached out to several of our woman-owned business borrowers and asked them to share some insights.  Their responses will provide some valuable insight that may help other business owners or those thinking about making the leap.  And the best part of all – any business owner or professional can benefit.  Enjoy!

What is the most valuable piece of business advice that you have ever received and why?

  • “Learn how to do every job in the company.” Our company started out small (just the two of us and two patients, essentially!), and we were the receptionist, the billing department, the janitorial staff, and the therapy staff. As our company has grown, it’s given us good perspective specific to the demands of each position and each department and helps us appreciate the great work and success that goes into a well-run company.
    ~Heather Arnt, M.S., CCC-SLP & Kelli Ellenbaum, M.S., CCC-SLP – Red Door Pediatric Therapy, Bismarck
  • Don’t let the one elephant in the room linger, you know what you have to do and do it. **Hire slow and fire fast.
    ~Bridget Gerhardt – Bridget’s Room, Bismarck
  • A good family friend told me “Hire out your payroll,” which I did and I’m glad I did it!
    ~Rachelle Sian – Spectrum Fitness, Minot
  • Just get started”. As I am often challenged with perfectionistic tendencies, it can cause me to wait on taking action until I have everything perfectly in place and all plans in order.  I have learned that in business, as well as in life, nothing is ever going to be perfectly in place or planned and what I needed to do most was to take action and just get started.  The plans I had been developing were sufficient in getting me started and, once my business was opened, it allowed me to gain increased perspective and a reality-based view of what next steps I needed to take.
    ~Debby Moen – Me Time Relaxation & Wellness Studio, Fargo
  • Years ago, when I was dealing with a work crisis, a mentor told me, “worry about what you can control.” That advice seems simple but is it a fundamental point that I often have to remind myself to think about. As a small business owner, there are a wide variety of tasks that need my attention at any given time. Plus, our industry has undergone significant change and we have had to adjust our product line to accommodate that. By focusing on the things that I can control or have impact on, my time is spent efficiently.
    ~Beth Ehlis – FunShine Express, Dickinson
  • Don’t get emotional! (From my accountant in reference to a rejection on a bank loan).  Things always work out the way they should!
    ~Cherie Harms – Leonardite Products, Williston
  • Failure doesn’t exist. All actions in life produce results, the question to focus on is “What have I learned?”  Never stop trying.  This is the only key you need for success.  The key to not stop trying is to believe in yourself.  This is the advice I go back to over and over again.
    ~Andrea Grigsby – One Massage at a Time, Bismarck

Looking historically, if you could change one thing or make one decision differently for your business, what would it be & why?

  • I believe that everything happens for a reason, the journey that life gives you are lessons. I wouldn’t change anything that has happened during this journey, including the negatives. I wouldn’t be who I am today if I never had the path that I followed.
    ~Rebecca Alvarez – With Room Coffee, Minot
  • If I could change one thing about my business it would have to be technology, I wish I would have invested more on new technology because data is the best way to verify you are making good sound decisions.
    ~Shannon Michels – Karma Convenience Stores, Minot
  • I wish that I knew when I first started that everyone will give you suggestions about what you should be doing to make your business better, or what you should sell. Make sure you weigh the suggestions move heavily of the people who are in your target market versus those who would be further on the fringe. A lot of people will make suggestions based on what they think would sell versus what they would actually buy. So, listen to your customer, just make sure it is YOUR customer who you are listening to.
    ~Amber Sander – Boots & Heels, Devils Lake
  • I should have expanded quicker. I hesitated and that is my regret.
    ~Marcia Humphrey – Eddie and Barkus, Fargo
  • Never underestimate the experience, knowledge you have, and difference you can make. You are worth more than you think, although you have to get down the road 2-3 years in your business success to truly realize that.
    ~MaryJane Nipstad – MJ Nipstad Management Solutions, Fargo

Our hats are off to these amazing ladies!

Thank you for sharing your wisdom and congratulations on your success.