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    Women "Surviving And Thriving" In Business

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    By Stephanie Kaye

    Female business owners are being held back by their own reluctance to hire new employees.

    Business in Washington is relatively booming, but it could be "boomier" if women entrepreneurs hired more help.

    "Eighty-seven percent of them want to grow; but only 23 percent of them see hiring as the way to grow their business," says, Nell Merino, CEO of "Count Me In," a women's business group. She held a conference at the National Press Club to talk about her survey's findings.

    "It's this notion that, 'Oh, by the time I explain it to you, I could do it myself,'" says Merino.

    Merino is launching "Survive and Thrive," an online resource where women can upload a two-minute description, or "elevator pitch," of their business.

    "If you can't explain what you're doing to a potential employee, you're not going to attract a lot of anything," she says.

    "I always thought I wanted to be a carpenter. Until I started thinking bigger and I said, 'No; I want to be the boss of a lot of carpenters,'" says Theresa Daytner, who wears a bright, busy blouse and has her 8-year-old's half-eaten apple in her purse. But that's not how this construction company CEO would describe herself.

    "I would say fearless," she says. "Confident. Generous in terms of sharing my experience. And inspiring."

    The triathlete and mother of six has grown her ideas into a nine-person, $17 million business, and she also hires subcontractors.

    "There's a multiplier on every person you put on the job," she says. "Part of that multiplier covers your overhead and puts profit back into the business. That's very empowering!"

    But, Daytner says, she's still got to work on that "elevator pitch."


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