Marina Grant, president of Grant Communications Inc., initially started her business out of a desire to help women fight discrimination in the workplace. She also happened to land squarely in one of the fastest-growing niches of the services industry-labor law consulting and conflict resolution.
It’s also one of five hot industries for women that probably won’t cool down for the next five to 10 years. Others include: home healthcare, information technology services, commercial cleaning and entertainment (television, motion pictures, publishing, recorded music and video games). Approximately 60% of black women-owned firms are in the service sector, according to the National Foundation for Women Business Owners.
For women entrepreneurs, these industries represent some of the best opportunities for success, which is always within your grasp as long as you are focused, prepared and have a plan and the determination to be the best at what you do.
Meet five women who, reading the clues and taking advantage of their industry knowledge and experience, started service businesses in our five hot industries at the right time, some even a little ahead of the curve.
Artistic Endeavors: Entertainment Consulting and Services
Consumers will spend nearly $270 billion on television and radio, recorded music, magazines, newspapers and books, home video, motion pictures, video games and consumer online services by the year 2002, according to a recent industry study, The Veronis, Suhler & Associates Communications Industry Forecast, 1998.
“Television is still an exploding industry,” writes Lynne Rogers, author of Working in Show Business: Behind-the-Scenes Careers in Theater, Film, Television (Back Stage Books, $18.95). In addition, special interest television and video-both educational and corporate-continue to grow, which translates into opportunities for talent above and below the line, notes Rogers.
With the right skills and visibility, opportunities abound, says Pat Tobin, who serves on the board of the Los Angeles chapter of Women in Film and owns a 15-year-old public relations firm, Tobin & Associates in Hollywood, which helped put Spike Lee on the map, in the early 1980s.
“For me, staying operational throughout the years has required a proactive approach to obtaining business,” says Tobin. Half of creating opportunities is networking and getting your name out there. “This industry requires nurturing key contacts and relationships, knowing your craft, and then exceeding your clients’ expectations.”
When a friend asked Nancy Carter to be the audience coordinator for her new television talk show, Carter realized there were business opportunities in supplying audiences. The show lasted one television season, which was just long enough for Carter to turn what she had learned into Applause! Inc., “The Audience Co.” The five-year-old Santa Monica, California-based firm supplies audiences, page services (personal aides for a show) and consulting services for game shows, talk shows, infomercials and sitcoms such as Carter’s first client, Moesha. Other clients include The Steve Harvey Show and The Hughleys.
A former actress, runway model, talent agent/manager and production company owner, Carter, 53, is an industry insider who knows how to network. “Once you prove you can fill the seats with a quality audience that fits the show’s