Mindset, boundaries, goals and community are the keys if women want to break through in the business world.
Tiffany Helton and Lauren Storeby, partners in the Online Restaurant Academy and owners of restaurants in Fort Collins, delivered that message to a group at the 2022 Women’s Small Business Conference, which was hosted at Aims Community College in Greeley and organized by the Small Business Development Centers of Larimer County and East Colorado, as well as the Loveland Business Development Center.
Helton and her husband operate the Stuft Burger Bar in Fort Collins; Storeby and her husband are founders of the Snack Attack Specialty Sandwiches & Brews restaurant, also in Fort Collins.
“Your mindset controls how you show up in the world,” they said.
“The mindset of the owner is different than that of the worker in a restaurant,” Storeby said. “I quickly realized that if I didn’t get my mindset right, it wasn’t going to work,” she said of the restaurant that they started in 2017.
“Talk positively to yourself. You have to be positive even when s— hits the fan, because others take their cues from you.
“Your “why” is so important. When you hit a challenge, go back to your why — why did you do this.
“You have to have confidence in your decision making and in yourself. Once you learn that, you can step into your authentic self. Find your voice. Be inspired by others but find your voice.
Drop the judgments that you put on yourself,” she said.
Setting boundaries is important, they said.
“We learned a lot during COVID,” Helton said. “Our industry got decimated. We shut down during COVID. Our restaurant wasn’t set up for takeout, so shutting down was the right thing to do.
“I learned to set boundaries. … Everything in my day is scheduled around working out. I work out not for my body but for my mind. Do what you need to do to get your mind right. Set up your week so your boundaries are established. My stuff revolves around times that won’t be sacrificed. Set up the week so the things that give you joy are maintained.
“Say no to projects that are not beneficial. Be involved with passion projects. Be involved with things that grow your business. If it (an event) doesn’t mean anything to you, don’t go.
The two said that if goals aren’t set, they won’t be accomplished. Storeby offered 10 tips for accomplishing goals:
• Write them down.
• Speak them out loud. It becomes real.
• Find people who will support you.
• Ask questions.
• You will fail. Figure out a way around.
• It takes time. Things don’t happen overnight.
• Don’t be ashamed of what you want. “As women, it’s hard to talk about money and being financially stable.”
• Celebrate successes, big and small. “You have to pat yourself on the back.”
• Be flexible. “There’s only so much you can control. Figure out how you can get around the barriers.”
• Commitment and consistency. “You have to commit to doing things.”
For the business owner, especially the retailer or restaurant owner, community makes the difference between success and failure.
“I was amazed and blown away at how the community showed up for our restaurant when we were able to reopen,” Helton said.
Getting involved can help to build community, she said.
• Host fundraiser nights. Find a cause and figure out how to help. “People will support you in return.”
• Ask, “What legacy do you want to leave? Do you want to leave something behind that isn’t monetary? The community will support you in that.”
• Ask, “How do you want to be known in the community? Can you help others out in a way that you’re the first person people think about?”
• Ask, “How can you support someone else?”
This article was first published by BizWest, an independent news organization, and is published under a license agreement. © 2022 BizWest Media LLC.
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