When The Metropreneur interviewed Grace Bosworth about Global to Local Language Solutions, the translation and interpretation services company she founded in 2009, we were impressed with her thoughtful answers to our questions. However, we were forced to leave some of those questions and answers out of our story for the sake of brevity.
That pained us, so we decided to feature her insights in a separate piece− this one.
The following are Bosworth’s take on the obstacles woman-owned businesses often run into, and what new business owners can learn from her entrepreneurial experiences.
The Metropreneur: Do you think woman-owned businesses face specific challenges?
Grace Bosworth: I am part of a supplier diversity group in Cincinnati run by UC Health. Before I became a part of that group, I had never had the opportunity to really examine the number of women- and minority-owned businesses who are winning major contracts and building large companies. I had been under the impression, like most of us are, that the playing field is level. However, it is not. Far from it.
Women and minorities are underrepresented across every industry, and not just by a little. The supplier diversity group meets every Thursday at UC Health, and certain companies that are awarded millions of dollars of contracts for UC Health are required to come in once a month and report on their diversity spend. Out of millions of dollars in contracts, most of them can’t get even 15 percent inclusion, and that includes both minorities and women.
In addition, the group receives reports and we see presentations on industries, such as accounting and financial services. When you get down to the numbers, women and minorities are not even close. It’s a deeply-rooted problem and one I am very concerned with. My major platform is the lack of women-owned minority businesses.
Hispanic women don’t open businesses; they don’t even think they could do it. Those who do open businesses are generally not in the technology field. They start businesses that make jewelry or do hair. Nothing is wrong with those businesses ,of course, but it perpetuates the problem.
I don’t even see that anyone is closing doors on Hispanic women. It is the women themselves that don’t take advantage of the opportunities out there for them. There are some major hurdles that need to be overcome to get minority women where they need to be. I hope to have the opportunity to be a part of the solution at some point in my career.
The Metropreneur: Is there anything else you think we should know?
GB: There are a couple of points that budding entrepreneurs should take away from my story.
The first is that timing is everything− and I mean this on many different levels. One has to learn, and there are so many things about running a business that have absolutely nothing to do with your core business, like payroll and accounting. Schools can’t teach you those things. You have to learn somewhere.
Don’t get impatient. Start with a goal in mind, then find a place to work that will help you reach your goal. Note that this may not be the highest paying job available at the time!
I made someone else a lot of money for a lot of years, but I also learned some things I couldn’t have learned without that experience. If you knew you would have all kinds of money in 10 years, would you worry about money now? Just trust in yourself and make the best decisions for the future you envision, not the one others push you towards.
Finally, when your business does take off, you get all kinds of clues as to whether a decision is a good one or a bad one. Look for these cues, they are all around you.
For example, when G2Local started to look into a Columbus office, we were not sure it was the direction we wanted to go in. However, almost immediately, we found the Women’s Small Business Accelerator. The WSBA offered everything we wanted and more. It was an opportunity to enter a new market with some guidance, it gave us an advisor that knew small business and the Columbus market, the rent was affordable, the facility was beautiful. I love putting money into people and causes I believe in, and the WSBA was absolutely where we wanted to start our Columbus branch.
We were going to spend rent money anyway. Why not spend it in a way that gives back to us? The day after we signed the lease, the city of Columbus put out an RFP for interpreting services. The very next day! We couldn’t believe it!
These contracts only come up for bid every three to four years. The timing was too incredible to be coincidental. I am a firm believer that, if you are going in the right direction, everything in your life lines up in that direction. If your direction is wrong, everything goes wrong. If everything is going wrong, try to examine what life is trying to tell you or push you towards.