PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) – Pennsylvania is home to 1.1 million small businesses, 39.4% of which are owned by women.
According to the US Small Business Administration, only 6% of women-owned businesses will survive past 20 years.
Sue Pera, owner of Cornerstone Coffeehouse in Camphill, and Monica Gould, owner of Strategic Consulting Partners in Mechanicsburg, are among that 6%.
“Opening a new business is very risky. So you want to make sure you have everything set up for success,” Pera said.
Pera opened Cornerstone Coffeehouse 25 years ago and Gould founded Strategic Consulting Partners 29 years ago.
“It’s not an easy path when you decide to do it alone and are one of the pioneers. But it is a path worth taking because in the end you are very fulfilled,” said Gould.
Both women admitted that they faced difficulties along the way.
“I think the biggest obstacle is financial. I was struggling to get financing from the bank and I needed them to tell me I needed someone to co-sign for it,” Pera said.
“People didn’t believe I could do it. Some of my first work was pro bono work because I was doing things for free and proving myself and showing people that I can do the work and that I’m really good at what I do,” Gould said.
Gould also mentioned that work-life balance was another obstacle.
The key to success lies in networking.
“The most important thing is to reach out to the chambers, make contacts, find a mentor, ask to join a board and ask for a seat on the board. Just getting to know people.”
Pera and Gould say it’s important to have a business plan and a mentor. Both say they would like to help women make their dreams come true.