Let's Honor Our Barrier-Breaking Leaders on Women's Entrepreneurship Day

Today we celebrate National Women's Entrepreneurship Day. According to their website, Women's Entrepreneurship Day (WED) is a day on which the work of women entrepreneurs is observed and discussed, held on the 19th of November of each year. The inaugural event was held in New York City at the United Nations, with additional events taking place simultaneously in several other countries. 144 nations overall recognized the first WED in 2014, which included the presentation of the Women's Entrepreneurship Day Pioneer Awards.

Women's Entrepreneurship Day was founded and implemented by Wendy Diamond, after volunteering with the Adelante Foundation, which provides microcredit to low income women while in Honduras. Upon her return to the US she decided she wanted to develop something to help this and similar philanthropic causes. The first day was held on November 19, 2014, and was observed in 144 countries that year. To celebrate the women in our Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program, I'd like to highlight Michele Kehrer. Michele is a graduate of Cohort 11 from the Chicago 10,000 Small Businesses program and is the Owner/CEO of LifeStyle Physical Therapy & Balance Center. LifeStyle Physical Therapy & Balance Center evaluates, diagnoses and treats patients with dizziness and balance disorders that stem from injury of the inner ear or balance system. Located in Chicago, LifeStyle is one of the country's few facilities with the expertise to provide balance-affected patients measurable results. Over 90 percent of their patients with dizziness, vertigo and balance problems experience a marked decrease in symptoms within four to eight weeks.

I recently had the chance to talk with Michele about the successes she's had since graduating from the 10,000 Small Businesses program. Here are some of her highlights:

Staffing Changes - Michele reorganized five of her employees and either hired or promoted an additional five employees. Growth Opportunities - Within 6 months of graduating from the program, Michele grew her business from 99 patient visits per week to 175 patients - 77 percent growth! Michele has also grown profits 14 percent in gross and 44 percent in net. This year alone, Michele's net revenue is up 110 percent over 2013. Funding Resources - Since completing the program, Michele has a new banking relationship and has secured funding to grow her company with a new business credit card.

Business to Business Connections - After graduation, Michele continued to make connections with the nearly 350 small business owners from the Chicago 10,000 Small Businesses alumni community. She has already established six business relationships and is in several conversations with many alumni from her cohort to invest in her growth plan to create a Balance Box. Exciting/Interesting Next Steps with the Business - LifeStyle has expanded 3 new programs to their current customers, implementing advertising and marketing solutions and obtaining funding for growth opportunities. Michele and her team have also hired new vendors to improve their sales leads and have even purchased a new building for their operations.

Community Involvement - Michele's company has partnered with One Tails at a Time for a pet food drive in November and December, offering complimentary body assessments and exercise programs to those suffering with metabolic syndromes. They also continue to provide complimentary exercise classes at two of the neighborhood independent and assisted living facilities. When I asked Michele what her key takeaway was from the 10,000 Small Businesses program, she had this to share: "There were so many amazing takeaways, I feel so much more in control of my business. I am running my business and my team instead of it running me. I am much more confident in all aspects of business. My business is a much better for my customers, referral sources and employees."

To learn more about Michele and LifeStyle Physical Therapy & Balance Center, please feel free to visit their website: http://balancechicago.com/.

The subject of this blog graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.