President George Bush at the 2011 Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum

Former President George Bush at the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum

Are You Ready to Think BIG with

Your Business?

By: Rieva Lesonsky | |

Are you ready to think big?

This year's Entrepreneurial Winning Women program, first launched by global management firm Ernst & Young, is dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs think big -- to learn how to grow and scale their businesses. (I first reported on this program back in 2009.)

The winners of the competition will be given access to capital, mentors, and networks to help them grow their businesses. They were also invited to attend this year's E&Y's Strategic Growth Forum, which was just held in Palm Springs, Calif.

Lisa Schiffman, E&Y's Americas director of marketing and communications, explains that after attending this conference, many of these entrepreneurs have a "eureka" moment and realize, as she says, "They're not thinking big enough."

I spoke with some of these "Entrepreneurial Winning Women" at the event and asked them to talk about their businesses and how they are planning to grow next year and beyond.

Not a Cop Out

Stephanie Point loved working as a police officer for the Los Angeles Police Department, where she was assigned to sex crimes and homicides in some of the most dangerous parts of the city. But after a knee injury forced her out, she found a less strenuous job at a private security firm and eventually realized, as she says, "I can do this different. I can do this better."

That's when she decided to start her own business. Although her first attempt failed when a potential partner backed out, in 2004 she used the equity in her house to start Point 2 Point Global Security, a "high-end, boutique" security firm.

Point made $750,000 her first year in business, but, like most of us, her business took a big hit in 2008. Instead of laying off staff, she and the management team decided to go without raises and bonuses. This year revenues are expected to hit $10-13 million.

Point says she has learned that she "needs to be less hard on herself and her employees." Her ambitious goals are to grow her staff from 300 full-time employees to over 2,000, and to double revenues in 2012.

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