Dr. Kerry Szymanski is the Director of The Tampa Bay Women’s Business Centre, which is a nonprofit organization that offers a diverse array of programs to help women in the Tampa Bay region succeed both personally and professionally.
Encourage, educate, and empower are three words that drive the organization to help women succeed.
Dr. Kerry has been with the non-profit for over a year and works to spread the word about The Tampa Bay Women’s Business Centre through fundraising videos, email marketing campaigns, social media, traditional marketing, and more.
As an experienced leader with an impressive history of working in fundraising, non-profits, consulting, entrepreneurship, higher education, and corporate marketing, we were excited to have her share her insights in this Q&A.
How would you describe the Tampa Bay Women’s Business Centre to someone who knows nothing about it?
The Tampa Bay Women’s Business Centre (TBWBC) helps female entrepreneurs launch and grow successful businesses by providing free business coaching, webinars, mastermind groups, trainings, networking opportunities, and access to business and financial resources. Now in its sixth year of operation, the Tampa Bay Women’s Business Centre is the only SBA-designated women’s business center on the west coast of Florida. Our offices are located in Tampa and St. Petersburg, FL which enables us to provide services to entrepreneurs in Hillsborough, Hernando, Pinellas, Polk, Pasco, and Manatee counties. The Tampa Bay WBC is funded in part by the US Small Business Administration (SBA).
Our mission is to help female entrepreneurs launch and grow successful businesses. Since 2013, the TBWBC has served more than 6,000 clients, helped over 200 women start a new business, created over 245 new jobs, and helped over 150 entrepreneurs access financial capital to expand their business ventures. We offer all of our services in both English and Spanish. Our services are offered virtually to make it easy for clients to connect with our coaches and attend our webinars and mastermind groups.
The Tampa Bay Women’s Business Centre, “Where Success Begins.”
What’s your best piece of advice for female entrepreneurs?
Planning is incredibly important for entrepreneurs. For entrepreneurs with a new business idea, a business plan is critical to mapping out the steps needed to launch and grow their companies. It is important to create a solid marketing plan, identify their competitive advantage, sourcing options for products and services, and an operations plan. Understanding the channels of revenue and financial projections for the company is necessary to build a solid foundation. Entrepreneurs who have moved beyond the start-up phase should create a strategic plan to help them identify where they would like to be in the next 3-5 years of their business. A strategic plan is vital to understand the mission, vision, and competitive advantage of a small business. Developing goals and tactics are critical to helping entrepreneurs set daily, monthly and yearly goals that will steer them toward success., “A goal without a plan is just a wish” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
What’s the most fulfilling aspect of your job?
The most fulfilling part of my job is to see the growth and success of our clients. Our team works with nascent entrepreneurs as well as small business owners who have been in business for a few years. Our highly skilled team of expert business coaches have all been entrepreneurs and understand the steps needed to start and run a successful business. Our team of program coordinators and business coaches empower, educate and encourage female entrepreneurs to succeed in their entrepreneurial endeavors. It is extremely rewarding to see the WBC program that we have expanded over the past year to include exceptional webinars for entrepreneurs, an interactive mastermind series, bi-lingual programs in English and Spanish as well as access to business and financial resources for entrepreneurs.
If you had to choose only one marketing channel for the rest of the year, what would it be and why?
There is so much competition to gain customers’ attention and it’s imperative that entrepreneurs understand their target market and which channels they prefer to access information. Social media is a widely used channel to share information, but it is imperative that entrepreneurs select the social media platforms that their customers frequent. Utilizing tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite can help schedule social media posts and strategize messaging. Messaging must be consistent and unique to stand out from the noise of the oversaturation of content on social media. How can your brand be unique in its social media advertising and messaging?