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Why My Startup Is Betting On 'Returnships' To Help Women Restart Their Careers

Like most CEOs in growing companies, one of my chief concerns has always been talent. I thought about all parts of the employee lifecycle. I obsess about finding great people, making them successful, developing their skills, and retaining them for the long haul. Research has long shown that more diverse teams produce better business results. Outside of work, I started to notice something as I entered my 40s – female friends and colleagues were leaving their careers for a period of time to focus on their children and finding it difficult to restart their careers. Their attempts were thwarted by bias from recruiters and hiring managers who were reluctant to consider a candidate with a career gap or someone who wanted something less than a full-time role. So we decided to launch an experiment at Return Path. Our CTO and human resources leaders convinced me that we could find success by building a new kind of internship program aimed specifically at women looking to restart their careers…

4 Success Tips From Small Businesses That Are Doing It Right

Somethings work regardless what your business is.

Sometimes the most valuable advice comes from your fellow entrepreneurs, not the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. At Facebook, we know that behind every business is a person, and behind every person is a story – with insights and advice to share. That’s why we created the Small Business Council which consists of entrepreneurs who share a common belief in the importance of serving their customers, their communities, and each other.

Each year we meet with our U.S. Small Business Council members to hear from small businesses across a variety of industries, sizes and geographies. Earlier this year I had the pleasure of meeting our newest 2017 Small Business Council members to learn from them and help them support their communities and fellow businesses.

Here are a few of my favorite tips directly from the Small Business Council members past and present:

Learn from and connect with other businesses.
“Visit your competition and introduce yourself. Nurture and develop a good relationship with them. Refer customers to them, as well. It's give-and-take and there really is enough to go around. Don't be afraid to ask them for help or advice.” – Kay Martinovic, Kay’s Designer Consignment, Ormond Beach, FL

Go mobile.
“We would often say to ourselves ‘If you build it, they will come!’ We built a beautiful place with a delicious menu offering, but they did not come. We had a website and social media accounts, but no real budget or strategy to promote our business. We turned to Facebook, started promoting posts and saw results immediately. We have not stopped promoting posts and creating marketing campaigns on Facebook since then. If you have not already done so, create a Facebook Page and learn how to use their marketing tools with their online training program called Blueprint; you will set yourself in a path to grow your business, really fast.” – Manuel Bucio, Razpachos, Chicago, IL

Prioritize quality over quantity.
“It’s important to plan out your Facebook posts and activity. It’s not a good practice to take a bunch of pictures one day and post them all. One thought out, strategic, well branded post a day or a few times a week is so much better than posting 10 pictures in one day without a strategy.” – Julie Walton Garland, Walton’s Antique Jewelry, Franklin, TN

Follow your dreams.
“Identify what your true motivation is for starting your business or for pursuing your particular path in life. Then study it, dream it, live it, and most importantly, never lose sight of it. And always, always, always pursue with passion, desire, and the most definiteness of purpose.” – Jonah Sandler, Scene75 Entertainment, Dayton, OH

I believe that whether you’re just starting your business, or have been at it for years, advice from fellow business owners can be invaluable. You never know when words of wisdom will strike a chord and inspire you to grow and change for the better. I encourage you to check out the Small Business Council website to learn about these and other successful small businesses.
-Katherine Shappley

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