Woman entrepreneur talks business

Tracy Higginbotham knew she needed to surround herself with women when she became an entrepreneur in 1995.

Her first business was Five Star Events, an event planning and public relations company based in Syracuse. Higginbotham said the entrepreneurial spirit got into her when she was about 7 years old. As a professional, she has seen over the years that more women individually are getting into business ownership.

As with many businesses, the road for Higginbotham curved. She was no longer only providing event planning for businesses but also being asked by first-time hostesses and hosts if she could also help with the PR end of things.

"My passion for promoting women entrepreneurs came from being a woman entrepreneur," she said to members of the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce during their luncheon meeting at Mirbeau Inn on Thursday Nov. 13. "We're still financially behind men."

As a rule, due to the financial aspect, Higginbotham encourages business owners to do business with women vendors.

Now, in addition to owning Five Star Events, Higginbotham has also created Women TIES -- Together Inspiring Entrepreneurial Success -- where she is a promoter and advocate of women business owners.

With her success with two businesses, Higginbotham presented the Chamber members with a list of habits for successful entrepreneurs, the first habit being to monitor the business plan.

"Currently, in the economic climate, it's important to be updating the business plan regularly," she said. "Everybody thinks they have the next best business."

To keep on top of the business, Higginbotham's first habit includes observing successes and failures and making adjustments based on those.

Second, a business owner must excel at customer service by delivering on promises made.

"Never underestimate the wisdom of your clients," she said.

Higginbotham also spoke about public relations and how businesses need to be getting their news to the media, but that they "shouldn't be pitching it like an infomercial. That's what paid advertising is for."

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