Mandan News

Women business owners forming professional group

By Jessica Holdman

Women Entrepreneurs Bismarck-Mandan, a new business group strictly for female business owners, has formed in the community.

Group co-founder Mary Jo Van Horn said she helped form the group to bring female business owners together for support and information.

Van Horn said the free group will meet monthly and will receive training and information on work life balance as well as marketing and advertising.

Van Horn got the idea for the group while she was a client of her co-founder Karen Wolff, a life and business coach.

“I thought wouldn’t it be great to create a community of women business owners,” Van Horn said. She said combining her social media and marketing skills with Wolff’s coaching skills would help with problems she hears about most from other female business owners.

“They (female business owners) say I feel guilty when I’m at work and not home taking care of family,” Van Horn said. “Then when they’re with family they feel guilty about not working harder.”
Van Horn said she does think men face similar problems with work life balance but thinks women tend to play that family role more often, especially those women who are the sole owner and worker of a business or who are working from home.

“They tend to want to do it all, they tend not to complain and they tend not to ask for help,” she said.

Van Horn and Wolff both started their own businesses, which Wolff said gives them a special connection with this particular group. Wolff started as a corporate operations manager and knows what it’s like to develop employees and budget.

Wolff said later they may open the group to men, professional women and students as well.
Van Horn said topics of meetings will be driven by response of members.
“We also plan to bring in industry experts for other topics our group members most want to learn about,” she said.

The group meets the third Tuesday of each month. The first organizational meeting took place this week with about a dozen women signed up.
Wolff said they are not aware of what other women’s business groups there may be in the area but “because of the response we’re getting so quickly I don’t think there’s a lot out there.”
Wolff said the meetings also will be different because they will be more hands on. For example, her work life balance segment will ask the women to inventory the things that they’re doing that are not “adding value to their life.”

“They get so caught up in life that life is running them, not other way around,” she said. “When you’re an entrepreneur it’s your desire to do all, be all, be everything to everyone … When you’re trying to run a business it’s very difficult.

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