One of the major factors that is critical for business owners to consider when growing their businesses is their mindset, according to leadership specialist, Sue Stockdale.   In her latest book, The Growth Story, published this month, Sue interviewed nine successful women entrepreneurs from UK and North America.  Stockdale found that the women shared common characteristics that helped them to succeed, particularly around their mindset, in relation to issues of control, debt and capability.   These beliefs included:

  • I need to recruit good people who are better than me
  • Debt is ok if the business is to grow
  • I cannot do it all myself
  • Sharing and helping others will help my business too
  • I am good enough

Sue commented “Our beliefs impact our choices and decisions, but we often don’t question them. And some may be unconsciously limiting our actions. These successful women clearly showed by their actions that they did not need to prove their capabilities to others, and were more willing to relinquish control of key areas that were not their strengths. They all had a collaborative approach which meant that they were willing to share their knowledge with others, even competitors, and still achieve their own business goals.    This is in contrast to many entrepreneurs, both men and women, who say they want to grow their business but never quite make it happen, which may have more to do with what they believe than what they do”.

“With the current economic situation, lack of available finance is often cited as a reason for limited growth, but I think that more attention needs to be paid to helping entrepreneurs to challenge their own beliefs. The women I interviewed, all believed that taking on debt can be beneficial as a tool for growth and did not avoid risk. They are important role models whose experiences can help other business owners be prepared for the reality of what business growth means in terms of their mindset as well as action”.

Today, women-owned businesses are a powerful force in the world’s economy. According to the World Bank, between a quarter and a third of all private businesses worldwide are currently owned or operated by women.   These numbers vary country by country. In the USA, 46% of privately held firms are now at least half-owned by women. In Canada, the number of women-owned businesses is growing 60% faster than those run by men.

In the UK, just 16.6% of growth-oriented businesses are women-owned. When do they do grow, the evidence shows that there is no difference in their growth expectations, actual business growth, job creation or turnover per employee compared to businesses run by men.

The Growth Story: Successful Business Growth Strategies used by Women Entrepreneurs

The book aims to help both men and women learn about different strategies that can be used to grow a business, as well as understanding the mindset and beliefs that support business growth. Comments from respected people in the women’s enterprise sector include:

Packed with inspiration and practical advice about the Number One Question for ambitious women entrepreneurs: how to grow your business successfully
Mirella Visser, Founder of the Centre for Inclusive Leadership and author of ‘The Female Leadership Paradox’

Well done, Sue, for providing inspiration to women everywhere by shedding light on the strategies, beliefs and practices that underlie success.
Sharon Vosmek, CEO, Astia

The Growth Story is an excellent resource of concrete strategies to grow your business, whether you are male or female.
Marsha Firestone, Ph.D.  Founder, President, Women Presidents’ Organization

Sue has effectively captured a wealth of meaningful and relevant management actions that can immediately be applied for your own success. A must read!
Barbara Mowat, President, Impact Communications Ltd., and GroYourBiz, Canada

Sue Stockdale once and for all decisively answers the age-old question ‘Can entrepreneurship be taught?’  With the role models, good and bad experiences, practical hints, structured and professional advice, and inspiring messages all found in this book, ‘Yes it can’
Candace Johnson, Serial entrepreneur – SES, Loral Teleport Europe, Europe Online, VATM, GTWN, Succes Europe

Companies Featured


The Personnel Department – headquartered in Vancouver, operates in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Duinkerken Foods a Canadian based retailer of gluten-free products now trading across North America.

Jexa – a world-leading e-procurement solution developed by Margaret Ramsdale.  This came as a result of a piece of technology developed by her uniform company (Omega Uniform Systems) to help clients manage their uniform programs.


ICON Information Consultants, LP based in Texas, has had straight line growth since 1998, and now has revenues in excess of $165 million.

MSA Global/Toptel Joint Venture Inc – Madinah Ali has taken her global contact center business on a growth journey by partnering with Toptel.

Jazzercise has won worldwide acclaim for its franchise concept and is consistently named as #1 fitness franchise. The company has been operating for over 40 years and has over 7,800 instructors teaching classes worldwide.

United Kingdom

Forensic Pathways – providing data analysis solutions for mobile phone forensics, criminal and business intelligence, it has grown a worldwide distributor network

The Old Station Nurserya company in the children’s day nursery sector that operates 13 sites across the country and has grown rapidly using an acquisition strategy.

Everyclick founder, Polly Gowers has raised more than £2.5 million for UK charities through her technology platform “Give as you live”.