June 1, 2023

FROM KATE: You Can't Do It On Your Own

WMarketplace Co-Founder and CEO, Kate Isler, has spent the past 9 months in the Goldman Sachs 10K Small Businesses program, deeply thinking and learning about what it takes to succeed as a small business owner. One invaluable takeaway? You can't do it alone! As women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs, we need to utilize each other's expertise so we aren't taking our most precious resource: time! away from our core businesses. Read on to learn more from Kate about the need to focus on our core businesses and outsource where we need help.

Kate Isler with her graduating class from the Goldman Sachs 10k Small Business program

Over the last several months, I have been deeply immersed in the Goldman Sachs 10k Small Businesses (10KSB) program. In partnership with Babson College, Goldman Sachs developed an in-depth curriculum that requires small business owners, or “scholars”, as we are called during the program, to take a deep look at each aspect of our businesses and at our leadership styles. Goldman Sachs developed this program with the belief that small businesses are the economic engine of the American economy and that the stronger those businesses are, the stronger and more resilient the American economy will be. This is particularly important today as we face tremendous economic uncertainty.

The program curriculum was demanding and required a significant time commitment. The end result was a 70 page, comprehensive business plan. The business plan was the tangible evidence that my fellow scholars and I completed the program and dug into the guts of our business. We each identified a "Growth Opportunity" and created a detailed plan to capture that opportunity. But to be clear, the plan was not strictly the result of the program curriculum. It was also the result of the invaluable network of hundreds of small businesses from every state in the union in my Goldman Sachs cohort, and the alumni of over 13,000 small businesses owners that now make up my community.

As small business owners, we can't do it alone! The great news is that you have partners in WMarketplace to support you!

As I sit at my computer today and pour through my company’s daily, weekly, and monthly financial reports, it is increasingly clear that I cannot do this alone. Like businesses leaders everywhere, I am concerned about the realities of the economy, the supply chain, access to capital, and all the myriad factors that affect my business, over which I have no control. The one fact that is crystal clear to me is that as small business owners, we need to join forces with each other.

One of the key takeaways from the last nine months of learning is that to be successful I need to focus on the core of my business and leverage other businesses for support in areas that are beyond my core business. In my case, my primary business is supplying a robust online sales channel that enables women-owned business to sell their products efficiently, with good commercial terms. Therefore, I rely on other businesses to fill in services that are beyond that primary business. These are things like bookkeeping, marketing support, and overall site design.

Our community is now over 500 businesses strong. I often have conversation with women that are selling incredible products that say they are very focused on setting up and managing their own single brand web site to sell products. I understand the desire to invest in creating the best environment for your brand to shine and being reluctant to pay commission and fees to sell a product. But when we begin talking about how they drive traffic and customers to their site, how they manage SEO, pay for their site infrastructure, spend time promoting their brand on social media, etc, the realization that the investment required adds up to a significant amount. Partnering with a service provider like The WMarketplace that enhances the efforts of a single brand, is a recipe for success - and simply makes sense.

The one fact that is crystal clear to me is that as small business owners, we need to join forces with each other.

Emerging brands have an uphill battle to break through the noise of a very crowded online shopping universe. I want to encourage each of you to take a look at your business and evaluate where you can optimize by leveraging services from others. It is a hard choice and one that SEEMS like just an expense. I am in the same position of evaluating every expense. But one of my key learnings from the last nine months is that I need to free up the time we are spending on business services and processes that are outside of our core business. We will ultimately drive additional revenue by focusing our attention on our core business, improving our financial bottom line, and achieving our goals of growing our business.

As small business owners, we can't do it alone! The great news is that you have partners in WMarketplace to support you!

Carmen Martinez, Customer Service Lead at WMarketplace


Carmen Martinez, Customer Service Lead at WMarketplace

Kate Isler is the CO-Founder and CEO of WMarketplace. After over 20 years with Microsoft, Kate took her passion for business into the start-up world. With a depth of experience in tech, a healthcare-focused technology grew almost to fruition. Kate considers this one of her best experiences as she learned “what not to do”. A shift into a non-profit start-up dedicated to celebrating International Women’s Day was the catalyst to Kate’s most recent adventure, WMarketplace. Kate’s passion for gender parity has led her to a seat on the global board of Girl Rising and she is a committed mentor for the International Women’s Forum. Kate lives in Seattle with her husband. They have three, flown-the-coop, sons and one granddog, Ed.

Launched in 2020, TheWMarketplace is a nationwide e-commerce marketplace for women-owned businesses to sell their products and professional and personal services. Offering favorable terms to its sellers, it also is a supportive community of women entrepreneurs that have access to learning opportunities through the trademarked HER-Commerce™ programs. With over 500 women-owned businesses selling 4000+ products and services ranging from home goods to coaching, in over 35 states, TheWMarketplace empowers shoppers with a new way to find the communities they want to support, including Black-woman owned, Latina-owned, AAPI-owned, Veteran woman-owned, and more.

From Kate: You Can't Do It On Your Own