International Women's Day is celebrated every March 8 to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. As a woman entrepreneur, you deserve to celebrate your hard work and the resulting success. But, like all other entrepreneurs, you also need to get past the start-up stage. Looking ahead towards growth is the crucial next step. The question to ask is not “Should I grow?” but “How should I do it?”

Why not step back and reflect on the state of your business and the direction in which you're going? You may re-define your journey. A few questions could provide answers that guide you towards the next steps.

Are you clear about the purpose of your business?

  • Is your progress in line with your planning? Consider looking over your business plan and revising it if necessary.
  • Do your mission and vision statements still apply to your business in its present form? You may need to fine-tune your long-term goals.

How will you grow your business?

  • Decide to broaden your range of products or services, or your range of customers.
  • Do you have access to the financing you need?

What kinds of technology can you adopt to make your business more innovative?

  • More research and development may result in new offerings.
  • Commercializing technology or licensing your products could open doors.
  • Some form of e-business might lead to growth.

How can you expand your networks?

  • Joining new business support organizations will provide new contacts.
  • A mentor or an advisory team could coach you towards growth.
  • Are there opportunities for you to explore abroad?

Organizations such as Canadian Women in Technology, the Women's Enterprise Centre and Business Women in International Trade  (link no longer valid) could provide the networking opportunities and support that you've been seeking.

So this year, why not mark International Women's Day with a challenge to yourself and to your business? Make the move out of your comfort zone and avoid complacency. Look for new opportunities, apply new skills and grow for it!