Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)–the nation’s largest third-party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women–has recognized and certified We Sell Mats as a Women’s Business Enterprise. This is a widely recognized and respected national certification that select women-owned businesses in the U.S. receive. At We Sell Mats, we are excited to share a bit about our journey to get to where we are today and inspire other women to take a leap of faith and start a business.
What It Takes to Become a Successful Woman-Owned Business
Many factors contribute to the success of a woman-owned business. First and foremost, it takes hard work and dedication. Successful women entrepreneurs are usually passionate about their companies and willing to work the long hours necessary to make their businesses thrive. Missy Richardson, the owner of We Sell Mats, shares:
“The funny thing is when I would tell people I'm venturing out to start my own business, their comment would be, ‘That's great, you'll be able to work when you want to work.’ This is far from the truth. I was working 12+ hours a day, sometimes 7 days a week, juggling family and work when we started. We didn't take a family vacation until 10 years after the startup of WSM. I'd pick up my kids from school and bring them to the warehouse with me.”
Although We Sell Mats is now a thriving independent business, Missy and her team had to overcome some challenges to get where they are today. Balancing business and family life is one of the most common challenges associated with starting and running a successful woman-owned business. Richardson credits having a strong team of supportive employees. These employees often share the same dedication and commitment to the company as the owner and are vital to the business’s success.
An Entrepreneurial Mindset
Starting a business from scratch is sometimes born of desire for change while maintaining balance. When Missy’s children were young, she stepped away from her corporate job. But like many moms, there were elements of working that she missed. Missy shares:
“I started looking for opportunities that allowed me to care for my family during the day and work in the evenings when I had time to focus. I started selling items online and saw the demand as my customer base increased.
This was my first step moving towards a new entrepreneur venture. I did grow up working for my father's business which he started himself. I knew starting a business would be a lot of work and there would be unforeseen challenges.”
Building a Strong Business
It wasn’t always easy. In fact, it rarely was. Like millions of other business owners, the COVID-19 pandemic brought on a new set of challenges that Missy had to navigate. Missy credits hiring the right people for the right positions to get through the storm, while always having a mindset of learning.
“Until recently, we have never had to search for funding solutions. After Covid and the cost of overseas shipments increased 4-5x which became a huge financial strain on WSM. Sometimes the cost of shipping was more than the cost of the product inside the container.
Fortunately, by hiring the right executive team members that have years of experience, we are working together to weather this storm. This is an on-going challenge which has been a great opportunity to learn.”
Advice to Others Starting a Woman-Owned Business
Understand that you don't have to be great or big to get started. Know your “why.” When times get tough–and they will–remembering why you started your business will provide the encouragement you need to tackle the challenges. Stay positive, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You don't have to do everything on your own, and plenty of resources are available to support you.
Missy’s advice to women, especially mothers, wanting to start their own business strikes a powerful note of balancing work and life:
“Take the risk! Work hard for what you believe in. Surround yourself with positive, knowledgeable people, and don't let the word "no" stop you. Involve your children in your work as best as possible so that they have a sense of belonging and contributing. Your patience and hard work will pay off.”
When asked if she would change anything about her journey to becoming a business owner, Missy shared:
"I would have taken business classes and got involved with associations that help budding business owners learn. If you asked me 15 years ago where I would be, I would have never said, ‘In a 100,000-foot warehouse with 20+ employees.’ I feel very fortunate to have come this far in my journey.”
Finally, always remember that you are not alone in your business ventures. There are millions of other women entrepreneurs who have faced similar challenges and overcome them. Use their experiences as inspiration and motivation to keep moving forward.
“It takes a team of strong, smart, positive individuals working together to support future growth. I'm surrounded by outstanding people which I'm happy to call Family.” shares Missy.
Support Women-Owned Businesses Today by Shopping at We Sell Mats
We Sell Mats is a proud Certified Women's Business Enterprise. Providing top-quality products and offering support that’s second to none is what we strive to do every day. And we are excited to help you with all your flooring and portable mat needs. Shop today to find the flooring solutions you need to transform your space!