Things have really changed for us at SIGNARAMA Vermont, after we started the company 19 years ago! Just imagine what your world was like nearly 20 years ago, and how it is different today. What kinds of skills do you have now? What kinds of technology are you using? And how are you different for having those?
Those types of changes and little evolutions are noticeable even in owning a business and watching it grow.
For instance, 19 years ago, the assumption was that my husband owned and ran SIGNARAMA Vermont. It was not uncommon for a male customer to walk into the store and ask me if they could speak with the owner, because they assumed the owner was male.
Imagine their surprise when the friendly female behind the counter answered that they were speaking with the owner (one of them, anyway; my husband also owns the company with me). It seems that only men were surprised to find a woman running the business. Interestingly, women who made the inquiry did not seem to care. I’ve seen that change a lot in the last few years.
I oversee the marketing efforts of SIGNARAMA Vermont, which means that I am also the face of the company. I’m involved in the community, I work on different committees, attend different events, and use all the social networking tools. We also have our own blog, with my name on the byline.
A lot of this has not only helped our own visibility, but mine as well. I think part of the reason people aren’t surprised that we have a female owner is that I’m the one they see the most.
Since I am the face of the company, I make it a point to get out into the community and raise awareness of what we do and who we are. In fact, I have two speaking engagements scheduled this year, including one at a local women’s business owners networking meeting at the end of the year. Last year, I spoke at my local homebuilder’s chapter to promote SIGNARAMA Vermont.
Being a woman business owner has its advantages. I am better able to reach out to other female small business owners — a population that is quickly growing — and put them at ease. They are very comfortable speaking with me, and we are often able to help each other.