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Omaha Magazine

Roundtable: What does it take to succeed?

Nov 28, 2022 08:13AM ● By Linda Persigehl

Photos Contributed

We reached out to women business owners to share their biggest hurdles, wisdom for their younger selves, and tips for those following in their footsteps. Our contributors: Nikki Wulff, owner of Assisted Living Locators of Greater Omaha; Alecia Steed, owner of The Busy Vegan; and Angelia Thomas, co-owner of an Ameriprise Financial Services branch in southwest Omaha. (Edited for length and clarity).

B2B: Tell us a bit about your position and your company. Years in business? Number of employees?

NW: Assisted Living Locators is an eldercare advisor business, helping families navigate the maze of healthcare with their senior loved ones. It can be a very stressful time and it’s important to have an advocate to help you through the process. I’ve been in business for almost five years and have two employees.

AS: I am owner and chef for Busy Vegan, a meal prep service for those desiring a plant-based diet. I launched Busy Vegan from my home September 2021, but am now preparing meals out of No More Empty Pots’ commercial kitchen. I have a few people that assist me, but I’m trying to grow to where I’m able to hire employees.

AT: I’m a franchise owner with Ameriprise Financial Services LLC. I’ve been a financial advisor for 22 years, helping clients achieve their goals and promoting financial literacy. We address retirement planning, education funding, home purchases, asset management, wealth transfer, etc. Many clients are professional women balancing work, families, and finances while navigating additional challenges women face, including longer life spans, less pay, and breaks in employment.

B2B: What are the biggest challenges you experienced in launching and growing your business?
NW: Getting funding to support my start-up. It was a very defeating process, but I encourage other women out there NOT to give up! I ended up working with the Nebraska Enterprise Fund to help me. It was a true blessing finding them because they believed in me when nobody else did.

AS: The biggest challenges are knowing what funding is out there for my business, balancing life as a mother of three young children, and just trying to learn what it takes to be an entrepreneur. It’s important to have mentors and an understanding of my business finances, so I can focus on producing more in the kitchen, which is my happy place. 

AT: Developing relationships and acquiring clients. Figuring out what your niche is and letting people know what services you provide is difficult. Social marketing is a must for businesses today, but I believe word of mouth and referrals are still the best avenues for marketing.

B2B: What words of wisdom would you give your younger self beginning your professional life?

NW: To not wait so long to chase after your dreams, and don’t let your inner negative self-talk get the best of you. I always told myself I could never do it, I didn’t have enough money saved up, or I wasn’t good enough. Starting my business was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, but also the hardest. It’s not for the faint of heart. 

AS: That life is a marathon, not a race. You can conquer whatever you put your mind to, and don’t be apprehensive when asking for help with your challenges.

AT: Just believe in yourself. You can accomplish anything you set out to do.

B2B: What advice would you give aspiring women entrepreneurs today?

NW:  To always take the high road. You will have competition and you will have people that discourage you or talk down to you. Don’t forget that competition is a good thing and it keeps you on your “A” game. Also, don’t try to have a back-up plan or work another job while starting something new. In my case, knowing that failure wasn’t an option was my motivator.

AS: Know that a business takes time to flourish. Also, know your passion in life. You might be able to create a business out of it. I once heard a quote by Dr. T.D. Jakes that helped me: “Everything that was created was based off an idea.” Just knowing that your one idea can impact to your community is inspiring to me.

AT: Don’t sell yourself short. There are so many opportunities out there for those willing to take a chance on themselves. Business ownership is the most challenging yet rewarding endeavor. You’ll discover it takes all your gifts and talents to achieve the goals and plans you set for yourself. Find what you love doing and get after it!

This article originally appeared in the December 2022/January 2023 issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  
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