Jayne Huston

Thursday, 27 February 2003 09:38

Business as unusual

Doing business in today's economy is anything but business as usual.

Over the past year, many changes have redefined the way entrepreneurs manage, especially when it comes to growing a business in a struggling economy. In preparing for our sixth annual small business conference, we heard from many women who are facing challenges they have never before been forced to confront.

The Center for Women's Business Research released a study that documented the strength of women business owners in their ability to excel in tough times. Between 1991 and 1994 -- the last time we felt a substantial economic crunch -- women-owned firms were more likely to have remained in business; 72.2 percent of women-owned firms were still operating in 1994, compared to 66.6 percent of their counterparts.

The research highlights one important reason for this difference -- women possess unique management styles that complement the ability to lead, often seeking out resources that fit their current business needs. If history is any indication, we can expect small business owners to rise up to today's challenges and implement creative strategies to remain a powerful economic force.

This is an exciting time for those who thrive on constant change, a key trait of a true entrepreneur. My staff and I are delighted to welcome Dr. Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a world-renown change management expert, to "Building A World-Class Business."

Her insight on today's business sector is sought the world over and will transform how we strategically approach the marketplace.

"Like masters of improvisational theater, pacesetting companies don't wait for a script; they create the plan through action, inquiring where those forks in the road might lead," she penned. "Wise leaders embrace the chance to explore those forks in the road. One of them could be the next major highway."

I hope that you will find "Redefining Business As Usual" an opportunity to open your mind or explore untapped possibilities, generating new methods of thinking, sparking ideas for growth in our region and seeking the confidence of a mentor as we move forward toward the economic road to recovery. Jayne H. Huston is transitional director of the Seton Hill University's National Education Center for Women in Business