Mind Your Business, Inc. is a proud woman-owned small business, which has been running successfully since 1996. Recent achievements, including CEO Karen Caruso being awarded Small Business Person of the Year for North Carolina, have led us at MYB to step back and consider what it means to be a woman-owned small business. How do woman-owned businesses stand up when compared to the rest of the market, and what makes them so extraordinary?
First off, let’s take a look at a few facts about woman-owned businesses
- Woman-owned (50% or greater) businesses comprise nearly 10.4 million firms, employing 12.8 million people
- Woman-owned firms have grown at approximately twice the rate of all other firms. Over the past two decades, majority woman-owned businesses have experienced 42% growth as compared to 24% for all others
- Businesses owned by women generate $1.9 trillion in sales
As stats show, woman-owned businesses make a significant contribution to the economy, with small businesses being a huge part of this. This is surely one aspect of woman-owned small businesses that makes them extraordinary, but what are the others?
As with any business, they face a struggle to get off the ground and an even bigger struggle to maintain prolonged success. Take MYB as an example – started by Karen Caruso in the basement of her home, Karen took a big step. With no college degree, only a laptop, $2000 and an unyielding belief, she conceived an organization whose origins are not based in financial gain or selfish ambitions, but altruism. All around were doubters, but with dedication and commitment, MYB took off.
Now, 15 years later, Mind Your Business finds itself as one of the leading employment screening companies, providing background checks and drug screening to organizations across the nation, keeping them and their employees safe and protected. Renound for their cost-effective service and quick turnaround, it is such customer-focus that makes this woman-owned small business an extraordinary company to work at and with.
Also to consider is the poor economy over the last few years. Both as a small business and a woman-owned business, MYB has certainly faced some hurdles during this time. However, the passion from the staff that you see in many woman-owned small businesses has allowed MYB to thrive during this time, seeing growth year after year in a time when many other businesses have had to downsize or, even worse, fold altogether.
The characteristic that really makes a woman-owned small business extraordinary, in my opinion, is the care and commitment shown to customers. Evidence of this is shown in testimonies on their site – one example stating:
“(Karen) and her staff work exceptionally hard to make our screening program a success. It is refreshing to see a staff that seems to have an unlimited amount of energy and holds firmly to the conviction that if it is worth doing; it is worth doing it right. It is fair to say that without Karen and her staff, our screening program would not have been nearly as successful as it is.”
A commendable reference which emphasizes the role that MYB place on customer care in their day-to-day business, and their desire to provide real value to each and every client.
So they are my reasons for what makes a woman-owned small business extraordinary, but what do you think? Are there any other important characteristics that I’ve missed?
Heath Shuler paid a visit to the Mind Your Business office earlier this week to personally congratulate MYB CEO, Karen Caruso, on her North Carolina Small Business Person of the Year award. It was a visit that not only signifies how high a recognition that the award is, but also how highly government officials in the region value the impact that small businesses, such as MYB, make in the state.
A native of Swain County and a current resident of Haywood County, Heath Shuler was first elected to represent North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District in November 2006. A former NFL quarterback, Congressman Shuler was also a successful entrepreneur and small business owner prior to his congressional bid.
As someone who has first-hand experience creating and sustaining a successful small business, he was in a perfect position to understand the struggles that Karen and MYB have overcome – particularly in the current economic situation.
Following his visit, Shuler posted a status on his Facebook Fan page:
He notes that “Caruso exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit and tireless work ethic that you can find in communities all across Western North Carolina” – a true compliment and worthy praise from such an instrumental figure in the region.
For those – the significant majority of us these days – who are on Facebook, visit the MYB Facebook page or the Heath Shuler Facebook page to learn a bit more about both, and what the visit and the SBA awards was all about.
CHARLOTTE – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has named Karen Caruso, CEO of Mind Your Business, Inc. (MYB) the North Carolina Small Business Person of the Year for 2011. She was nominated by Annice Brown and Clark Fields of the North Carolina Small Business & Technology Development Center, Western Regional Center.
MYB conducts pre-employment screening, applicant background checks and drug & alcohol testing services to individuals, corporate and government clients Nationally and Internationally.
Small Business Person of the Year winners from 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam will converge on Washington, D.C. May 18-20, 2011 to mark the annual celebration of National Small Business Week. One of them will be selected as National Small Business Person of the Year.
The theme of Small Business Week 2011 is “Empowering Entrepreneurs.”
The criteria for the award include: Longevity – a substantiated history as an established business, growth in number of employees, innovativeness of product/service offered, response to adversity and contributions to community-oriented projects.
Karen Caruso’s inspiration to start her business occurred in 1995 while she and her 10 month old daughter Shelby were watching an Oprah Winfrey show on abusive child care providers. Immediately seeing the need and recognizing the importance, Karen developed applicant screening services centered around but not limited to the childcare industry. Her experience in security proved to be pivotal and the essential factor in what would become the foundation of a safer and more secure environment for children and the child care industry. In 1996 with $2500.00, a vision, two employees and a personal computer, Mind Your Business, Inc. (MYB) was launched in the basement of her New Jersey home.
With the assistance of SBA sponsored counseling, training through SCORE, the North Carolina Small Business Technology and Development Center, and the SBA Women’s Business Center, MYB and the number of clients it supports has grown substantially. MYB now employs 14 people, serves over 1500 businesses and since 2004, operates in a 3,000 square foot facility in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Despite the economy and it’s relation to the employment sector, MYB posted record profits in 2009 and 2010 due largely in part to it’s hands on management team and unyielding commitment to customer service.
Recently, MYB expanded its services to include Drug and Alcohol testing, FMCSA Fleet Incident Reporting Management and NRMA The National Retail Mutual Association Theft Database.
In addition to these services, MYB in collaboration with Western Carolina University created proprietary software programs to service its clients with Visitor Management Screening tools. In December 2010, MYB was approved for a $25,000 SBA Express loan through First Citizens Bank to market the newly developed services. For more information contact Karen Caruso, at Mind Your Business, Inc., 305 East 8th Avenue, Hendersonville, NC 828-698-9905 or e-mail email@example.com.
We recently posted how Mind Your Business CEO Karen Caruso has been selected as the 2011 North Carolina Small Business Person of the Year by the US Small Business Association (SBA). This accolade has not gone unnoticed in the North Carolina region, with the story being picked up by several newspapers. Most recently, the Winston-Salem Chronicle published an article regarding Karen, the award and MYB. To be recognized in this way by such a popular NC newspaper is yet another source of pride for both Karen and the company.
The article begins by stating how “The U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) has named Karen Caruso, CEO of Mind Your Business, Inc. (MYB) the North Carolina Small Business Person of the Year”. It furthermore goes on to tell us who Karen was nominated by, how MYB began and the success the company has achieved.
The recognition that “MYB posted record profits in 2009 and 2010″ certainly does not hide the fact that the SBA award is well deserved. Further on, we are told by the article that the criteria for the award was six-fold: staying power, employee growth, innovativeness of services offered, response to adversity and contributions to the community. Karen has excelled in all of these, as is clear by not only her nomination, but by her success in receiving the award.
Small Business Person of the Year winners from 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rica and Guam will be converging for the award ceremony 18-20 May in Washington D.C., where a national Small Business Person of the Year will be selected. We at MYB certainly have our fingers crossed for Karen, and we will be sure to let you know the results!
So a couple of months ago we mentioned how MYBINC had been recognized by the SBA as an elite small business in Western North Carolina. Nominated companies must have their paperwork sent in by August 20th, and MYB has recently spent time confirming their application and getting it sent off.
Just to refresh your memory, here is a bit more information about the SBA and their role in assisting small businesses. Millions will receive these results, including the President himself. Obama himself emphasized the importance of small business in this country back in February, and certainly does not stand alone in recognizing the impact such businesses have on the economy and how they can help us rise out of these troubled economic times.
We will be sure to let you know when we can expect the results!