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NWSB Month Continues

Jennifer Williams

The next in our series of “Woman-Owned Businesses” profiles is Ginine Capozzi, who owns KnowledgeForce Consulting, a talent development firm that specializes in design, development and facilitation of custom training programs for different industries (including telecommunications, medical equipment manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and industrial).

Ginine had been working in the custom training programs field for over 10 years when she decided that she was ready to go out on her own. She started the process of going into business in March of 2012 after receiving encouragement from her family and friends. The final push to get things started came when she received a birthday card from her brother with the necessary paperwork to move things forward. “It was the best birthday gift I’ve ever received,” says Ginine! The legal paperwork was complete in June of 2012.

Ginine has found some of the major obstacles of operating your own small business is access to other people who are in the same boat. Decision-making is often done in a vacuum and can create uncertainty. “I think a few other challenges have been knowing the right time to expand and offer employment opportunities to others, and having to stretch my skills and develop others in areas that aren’t my ‘core business,’ such as developing website content, identifying target markets and elements to grow the business.” However, she says it’s been a fun journey, filled with times of uncertainty around “what’s next?”

When starting her business, Ginine found there are many resources available for small- and woman- owned businesses. She went through the process of becoming a certified woman-owned business in the state of New York, but is still working through how to leverage that distinction.” I think one of the major aspects that’s been challenging is living in the ‘middle.’ I’m no longer considered a ‘new business,’ but I am also not categorized as being ‘mid-size.’ I have found there are many resources available for those who are new and those who have been around for 5+ years, or are a bit larger, but support for the ‘space between’ is hard to find and leverage. Breaking the glass ceiling is a true reality and I have heard from others in my position that the next few years is a true test of the businesses success.”

Which is not to say Ginine hasn’t experienced success already. Says Ginine: “I have experienced several big moments of success landing national accounts. I acquired 5 new customers in a 6 month window, which in my business is fantastic. All of this has been through word of mouth and testimonials from existing clients. I also was proud to achieve my 3 year financial goal in the first 18 months of business. Ultimately it taught me to dream bigger!”

To other women trying to start their own businesses, Ginine would suggest taking the time necessary to get their finances in order. “Knowing the numbers of what you need, and what it will take is critical (both personally and for the business). Consider what you can live without and what you can change to make your dream a reality. Also, take the time and go through the motions and processes that a large business follows such as writing a business plan, creating budgets and sales goals, and developing a marketing plan and strategy. These endeavors take a great deal of time and effort, and it can be difficult to focus your energy on them when you’re busy trying to earn money, but they are invaluable in helping focus your energy.”

The best advice Ginine received starting out was from a mentor who had 30+ years of experience running various small businesses. She said, “Remember to set time aside from working IN your business to work ON your business.” Each week, Ginine spends 4-6 hours thinking about what needs to be done to grow, build new relationships, improve profitability, etc. “It’s nice to have those plans to fall back on when things are tough,” says Ginine. “And overall, enjoy the journey…otherwise really what’s the point?”

Stay tuned for more profiles of successful woman business owners in our “Woman-Owned Businesses” series!