Solving Problems
Meet Three Female Entrepreneurs that Dream Big Every Month of the Year
Free Enterprise Staff | April 2, 2018

On the heels of Woman’s History Month, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is partnering with MetLife to recognize the very best in American small business. Every year at the Small Business Summit, the Dream Big Small Business of the Year Awards program honors the achievements of small businesses and highlights their contributions to America’s economic growth.

Women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy and are starting businesses at twice the rate of men. As such, we wanted to highlight three of last year’s woman-owned finalists, a generation of innovative women entrepreneurs pushing for change, fighting for opportunity,  who aren’t taking no for an answer. Read below for more:

(*And if you are a small business, or you want to nominate a small business for this year’s awards check out the program here.)

Sage Restoration

Who’s in charge: Stephanie Sage

Where are they: Overland Park, Kansas

What they do: Restore property after water, fire, smoke or mold damage

Q: What does it mean to not only have created your own job, but to also create jobs for others?

Sage: We work very closely with our Sage employees and consider them members of our family-owned business.  Helping them to become highly skilled in their jobs and being able to support their families, have a nice standard of living and realize their own dreams means a great deal to us.  On our Sage projects, we utilize the services of other small businesses, many of which are based in Kansas City.  I know the project work we send to these businesses truly help them grow and hire additional employees.  We are proud to be a growing revenue stream for them.

Q: What’s your best advice for other small business owners who want to Dream Big?

Sage: My advice to other small business owners would be to participate in programs that offer courses, training, mentorship and insights into business development. By doing this, they can learn how to avoid costly mistakes, gain an understanding of the importance of outsourcing, have solid management practices, and build relationships and alliances with other entrepreneurs who can help them when they need advice and support. I would tell them to do business with other small enterprises and to accept leadership positions in the business community, too. Social networking is critical to meeting people and building these relationships especially in the startup phase, it’s very hard to do it alone, it truly takes a village. And, I would tell them to be proud of their accomplishments and contributions to the US economy and to continue to dream big every day!

PROJECTXYZ, Inc.

Who’s in charge: Kim Lewis

Where are they: Huntsville, AL

What they do: Technical solutions for federal and commercial customers

Q: Tell us about your company’s role in the community. How do you use serve your hometown?

Lewis: We are adamant about giving back to our community through donations, mentorship, and by serving on the boards of numerous civic organizations. I am the acting board president of Health Establishments at Local Schools (HEALS, Inc.), serve on the Huntsville Hospital Foundation Board of Directors, on the Huntsville Botanical Gardens Board, the National Children Advocacy Center (NCAC) board, and am also the chair for economic development with the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce. I was most recently recognized as one of six honorees in September at the 2016 Women Honoring Women event and was part of the Leadership Alabama Class XXVI in September 2015. Meanwhile, Larry is the Board Chair for the United Way of Madison County. He was recognized in June 2016 as the Huntsville Association of Small Businesses in Advanced Technology’s (HASBAT) Professional of the Year, and recently recognized by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) for his work in the entrepreneurial community.

Q: What’s your best advice for other small business owners who want to Dream Big?

Lewis: Deliver on the promises you make to your customers, employees, and stakeholders. Be patient and persistent in pursuit of your goals.

Golden Openings, Inc.

Who’s in charge: Kimberly Baeth

Where are they: Urbandale, Iowa

What they do: Create memorable ceremonial events through unique, customized products

Q: What does it mean to not only have created your own job, but to also create jobs for others?

Baeth: Creating jobs for others is an extraordinary honor. It provides a strong sense of fulfillment to enable families to own a home, send children to school, and lead a happy life in America.  We extremely proud to have created employment for our team members and view them as family.  We recognize that just they have responsibilities to our business, we have a significant responsibility to them as well.  We embrace this responsibility and strive to make our company a great employer every day.

Q: What’s your best advice for other small business owners who want to Dream Big?

Baeth: Do what you love and put a dent in the universe.  Use your passion, talent, and desire to find your niche and then go out and change the world. Listen to what customers want and make it happen.  Always say, YES, WE CAN, staying true to your niche, but make it happen!  Figure out how to do it later. For example, one day a customer asked for a giant light switch.  Googled it and couldn’t find it.  Now we make them!  We have sold over 100 giant light switches! Make connections. People with a broad set experiences can often see things that others miss.  Always look for connections and opportunity. Know the “WHY”. Many businesses and salespeople make the mistake of focusing on the “what” and “how” of a product.  Typically, this does not lead to success.  Instead, focus on “why” your customers need your products or services.