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We’ve all been told that nice girls don’t get the corner office. And they certainly don’t strike out on their own to start a million-dollar company. . . Fortunately, we all know better. As the head of the highly successful (Small Business Television), author Susan Solovic is an authority on making money and building a thriving business. Now in The Girls’ Guide to Building a Million-Dollar Business, she shows women how to gain the confidence and knowledge they need to become successful entrepreneurs. Featuring interviews with daring, powerhouse women like Gayle Martz, President & CEO, Sherpa’s Pet Training Company, and Taryn Rose of Taryn Rose International, Solovic offers frank advice and hard-won lessons including:
• Taking emotions out of the workplace. Make business decisions based on what is best for the company, not on your personal feelings.

• Thinking big and bold. Believe that you can be successful and be willing to announce your intentions to the world.

• Managing for growth. Hire the right people and discover the best ways to keep them.

• Never being afraid to take a chance. Boost profits by taking financial risks.

Inspiring and and unflinching, The Girls’ Guide to Building a Million-Dollar Business shows women that not only do they have the power to earn more money and control their financial destinies—they deserve to.

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  • Susan Wilson Solovic
    Susan Wilson Solovic  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Only 3% of women-owned businesses in the U.S. gross a million dollars or more in revenue. It doesn't have to be that way, according to Solovic (The Girls' Guide to Power and Success), CEO of Women face deeply ingrained challenges on their way to wealth, from a discomfort with talking about money to a fear of success, but are also more inclined to create flexible working environments that cater to the needs of their employees as well as to the bottom line. Solovic lays out the steps to success: chutzpah, determination, managing changing relationships, keeping employees and customers happy, getting and maintaining credit, overcoming gender bias and creating a successful business plan and a solid brand. Though her cheery, can-do outlook is infectious, the lessons bog down in a plethora of quotes and personal stories from women (and a surprising number of men) who have made their financial mark. Nonetheless, this is a useful and encouraging guide, providing solid advice and resources to help women achieve and sustain entrepreneurial success. (Nov.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814474198
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 11/7/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Wilson Solovic (St. Louis, MO) is CEO and Chairman of and a respected consultant, columnist, and public speaker. She serves on advisory boards for the John Cook School of Business Entrepreneurial Studies at Saint Louis University and the Women Presidents’ Organization. Solovic is a popular guest on radio and television programs across the country, including CNN News and Early Today . She is a small business contributor on ABC America This Morning and is the author of The Girls’ Guide to Power and Success (978-0-8144-7227-9).

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Read an Excerpt


Congratulations. You have just opened the door to what hopefully will become one of the most exciting and rewarding journeys of your life: building a million-dollar business. Before you read on, take a minute to look at the front cover of this book. Notice the woman pictured there? Doesn’t she look as though she’s having the time of her life? Can’t you hear her exclaim, “I did it!”? She has the world by the tail. That could be you.

This book is designed to help you reach that moment of sheer ecstasy. Not in an intimate sense, but the kind of ecstasy you feel from succeeding, from living your dreams, from being the person you were meant to be. As you read and learn tips and strategies outlined throughout the book, I want you to stay focused on that feeling. You deserve to feel empowered, energized, and wonderful every day of your life.

It’s Your Turn to Be in the Spotlight

No matter what stage of life you are in at this point—please listen to me. It’s time for you. There are far too many women who postpone or give up their personal dreams in order to take care of others in their lives. Obligations fill their days and their own passions get buried. Their personal identities are tied up in other people’s lives.

As you read, I hope you’ll learn how exhilarating sitting at the helm of a million-dollar enterprise can be—not only from the sense of personal accomplishment, but also from your ability to impact the world. As a million-dollar business owner, you can provide for your family, your employees, and their families. Through charitable contributions you can help others in need. Your leadership position in the business world empowers you with a voice that can make a difference in our government. And as a role model, you can touch thousands of others and inspire them to do great things with their lives. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Join Millions of Women Who Get It

In 2006, the Center for Women’s Business Research reported that there are 10.4 million privately held firms in the United States that are 50 percent or more owned by a woman. This statistic doesn’t include companies such as mine, where I am the largest individual stockholder and the CEO, but I don’t own 50 percent. So the actual number of women-owned and women-led businesses is much higher than what is officially recognized.

“Women are catching up to men across the world,” says I. Elaine Allen, professor of statistics and entrepreneurship at Babson College in Massachusetts. Professor Allen was part of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2005 Report on Women and Entrepre neurship. This research is part of the world’s largest and longest-standing study of entrepreneurial activity, and it is the first comprehensive and timely study of women entrepreneurs around the globe.

Women are opening businesses at twice the rate of their male counterparts. It’s the fastest growing segment of the U.S. economy. Women view business ownership as an opportunity for independence, creative control, and financial freedom. So the number of women jumping into the entrepreneurial pond isn’t the issue. The issue is their ability to turn these businesses into large, sustainable, business operations.

“But maybe most women just don’t want to grow their businesses?” is a response I often get to that statement. Sure, some women may not want to grow their businesses, and that’s fine. However, are they really making that decision based on a true understanding of what is possible? I don’t think they are.

Additionally, research from the Center of Women’s Business Ownership notes nine out of ten women business owners want to expand their businesses and four in ten want their businesses to become as large as possible.

So we know the number of women-owned firms is exploding, and we also know that many want to grow and expand their business. The astounding statistic that drove me to write this book is the fact that fewer than 3 percent of women-owned businesses in the U.S. gross a million dollars or more in revenue. To increase that number, women need a guide to help them navigate the challenges of business ownership—hence The Girls’ Guide to Building a Million-Dollar Business.

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Table of Contents


Foreword by Michael E. Gerber xi

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction xvii


1 Start the Million-Dollar Journey 3

You Look Like a Million 3

Revealing a Well-Kept Secret: Knowing Where to Look 4

If You Don’t Believe in You, No One Else Can 8

You’ve Seen and Conquered Before 12

Grit Your Teeth and Go for It 16

2 Think Big and Bold 19

Shout It Out 20

Mind Over Money 22

Bigger Can Be Better 26

Take Action: Make It Happen 27

If at First You Don’t Succeed. . . 29

3 Get Ready, Get Set, Grow 33

Get Your House in Order 33

Relationships May Change: Be Prepared 37

Create a Peer Support Network 41

Mentors Can Guide Your Growth 43


4 Create the Vision 49

Define the Vision of Your Company 49

Articulate Your Mission 51

Communicate the Core Values 52

Create the Right Business Plan 55

Focus, Focus, Focus 59

Invest in Professional Resources and Advisors 60

Step Up to the Role of CEO 63

Build an Advisory Board 65

5 Develop the Right Team 69

Let Go to Grow 70

Take Action Every Day 72

Hire the Right People 73

Hire the Best Candidate, Not the Best Job Seeker 75

Invest in Retention: Get Started on the Right Foot 77

Identify Your Company’s Pink Cadillac 79

Attract the Best and the Brightest

Through Innovation and Creativity 82

Take Emotions Out of the Workplace 83

Tap into Hidden Talents 85

Create Systems to Ensure Consistent Results 86

Learn from Resignations to Help You Grow 87

6 Implement Key Marketing Strategies 91

Create a Killer Brand 91

Shake Things Up: Create a Unique Value Proposition 94

Cultivate and Connect with Customers and Clients 97

Create a Customer Advisory Board 99

Know Your Competition 100

Touch Your Customers in Unique Ways 102

Become a Media Maven 106

Apply for Awards 109

Enjoy the Rewards of Networking 112

Go for the Gold 114

Bag the Big Business Deals 116

Don’t Put All Your Eggs into One Basket 120

7 Fund Your Business Growth 123

Obtain the Funding 126

Begin the Money Hunt 128

Get Credit When You Don’t Need It 131

Get to Know People in the Investment Community 132

Perfect Your Pitch 134

Angel Investors 136

Venture Capital 137

Overcome Gender Bias 140

Develop an Exit Strategy 144

Leave a Legacy 147


8 Develop Growth Strategies 153

Control the Growth 153

Build Together Through Strategic Alliances 155

Develop Smart Partnerships 156

Think Globally for Growth 159

Think Franchising for Fast Growth 162

Reap the Benefits of Direct Sales 164

9 The Rest of the Story 169

You’ve Gotta Love It 170

Define Success for Yourself 170

Stay True to Yourself 172

Cherish Yourself 173

Pay Yourself What You Are Worth 176

Be an Unintentional Mentor 178

Choose Your Battles Wisely 179

Expect the Unexpected 181

Reap the Ultimate Reward: Giving Back 183

You Can Do It 187

10 Great Resources 189

Appendix: Celebrating Our Successes 197

Notes 203

Index 205

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted June 21, 2011

    Great business roadmap!

    I loved this book and recommend buying it.

    The Girls' Guide to Building a Million-dollar Business is the type of book you want to have on hand as a guidebook throughout your entrepreneurial career. It is broken into three sections: setting the groundwork for your million $ biz, then part two is how to grow your business and part three is about accelerating your business growth.

    Natasha's 4 favorite things about the book:

    1. How Susan explains WHY you want to build a million-dollar business: personal accomplishment, able to impact the world, you can provide for your family and the families of your employees, you can help others in need, your business leadership gives you a voice that you can use for influence and you become a role model. I agree with her; it doesn't get much better than that.

    2. Susan shares that from her experience as a business leader that the two most critical factors in whether your business ever achieves a million-dollar revenue status are your confidence and your determination. That is so exciting!

    3. The book is literally stuffed full of personal stories of women who have built million-dollar businesses. The readers get a direct insight into the minds of some of the most influential women in business today.

    4. Girls' Guide is written by a woman who has decades of experience building businesses and it shows. Susan shares her mistakes, her advice, her lessons with us. This is not a book on the theory of how to accomplish this business goal but the nitty-gritty on how it was done by someone who has done it.

    If you're a business woman who has ever wondered EXACTLY how women become leaders of million-dollar businesses, this is the one-stop road map for you.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    Great Guide for Serious Business Builders!

    This book came at the perfect time. I am building a new business and the info Susan provided will help me tremendously. My husband has been in biz for 15 years and he didn't know some of the info. He's going to read it now. Thank you Susan for helping me deal with the initial jitters of taking on the daunting task of building a corporation that will hopefully grow to a multi-million-dollar enterprise. I have a Math & Law background and I found it sophisticated enough for me without being so scholarly that it will intimidate those without college or business experience. It was helpful to see how other women from all backgrounds have built successful businesses. I loved reading about the women who had men tell them their idea would not work or laugh at their idea and they went on to be successful! Awesome. If you are contemplating starting a biz that you want to grow to be a big success, get this book first!

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