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Celebrating International Women’s Day with Women in Business

Posted On: 03/01/2019 / By:
Franchises / Owning a Business

Women-owned businesses employ almost nine million people in the United States and generate $1.7 trillion in sales; yet, only one in five businesses worth over $1 million are woman-owned. Although women are still the minority when it comes to business ownership, women in business are blazing a trail for future female business owners.

Celebrating Women in Business

To celebrate International Women’s Day, the Sunbelt Business Brokers network would like to recognize several of its inspiring female franchisees and business owners. See what they had to say about being women in business, and more specifically women in business brokerage, below.

1. How did you get started in the business industry?

“I wanted a break from my 20-year corporate career and go into entrepreneurship. I wanted to buy a business and worked with a business broker. The more I worked with the broker to find me a business, I quickly realized how exciting and rewarding the work of a broker really is and decided to become a business broker myself.” – Sara Mashkoor, Sunbelt Business Brokers of Collin County

Doreen Morgan of sunbelt atlanta

Doreen Morgan, Sunbelt Business Brokers of Atlanta

“I worked for Mrs. Fields Famous Brands as a Franchise Development Specialist and assisted with selling new development. At the time the company had five concepts, and I represented TCBY Yogurt. The company was sold to a Private Equity Group that wanted franchised locations only and we had 356 corporate-owned locations, which they wanted sold. I moved to the sell-side team and worked with the Area Development Managers as a transfer specialist. When we got down to the last 50 locations, I started looking for a job and saw an ad in the paper for a business broker with Sunbelt. I wasn’t brought on as a broker, but came in as a franchise specialist to sell new development and after several months, I convinced them that I could sell existing businesses too and was told I could sell existing franchise concepts, (no one else in the office wanted that market – 18 years ago franchises were not considered real businesses). Haha!” – Doreen Morgan, Sunbelt Business Brokers of Atlanta

“My career path has been winding, but every step has built on the one before. I went to grad school to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and spent several years working in mental health which provided me with the soft skills and the observational skills to apply to business. I ventured into the pharmaceutical industry where I worked for two Fortune 100 companies and received state-of-the-art sales training which is invaluable in this industry. I also spent some years in healthcare leadership where I obtained my project management certification which provided big-picture planning skills. My husband and I bought our first side business in 2001 and since that time we’ve bought and sold three additional businesses and realized we were capable of doing the work performed by our broker. Being an owner, buyer, and seller gave me a unique advantage as a business broker and allowed a smooth and successful transition to this industry.” – Jeannie Keen, Sunbelt Business Brokers of Roanoke & Lynchburg

“I worked for two different wealthy families at different times as an “Intermediary” between the generations (fathers and sons in both instances). I was hired in both instances during an economic catastrophe and handled their business transactions and found that I was hooked on solving impossible problems! I showed great results and got a reputation for turning tough situations around. When that need was winding down, I spent a year looking around to see how best to use my skill set and started the business brokerage practice. I began running into several franchises and bought Sunbelt and the rest is history.” – Karen Tipton, Sunbelt Business Brokers of Tulsa

2. What do you love about what you do?

Sara Mashkoor of sunbelt plano

Sara Mashkoor, Sunbelt Business Brokers of Collin County

“I love the fact that I get to wear multiple hats in my work which is a huge departure from my corporate career where we used to work in silos driving towards a single goal. In the business brokerage world, we are the business analyst, marketer, accountant, business developer, project manager, and customer service manager all in one go!” – Sara Mashkoor

“Everything! No two days are the same. I love that I meet business owners from all walks of life and all different industries. I love learning about what makes different businesses go; the little nuances that them tick. I love helping sellers realize the value of all they have built and enter into the next chapter in their lives and seeing it pass on to another person, often times, also entering a new chapter in their lives.” – Doreen Morgan

“I love the variety and excitement. In the past, when I learned a job, I was ready to move on to the next challenge rather than settle in, and my resume reflects that. With business brokerage, every deal and every day is different and it provides me with the variety to keep me challenged. As my own boss, I also enjoy the autonomy to be in charge of my day. I get to determine goals, strategy, and scheduling. I also enjoy helping others become business owners and see their dreams of business ownership come true. In addition, I find it rewarding to help buyers/sellers through the stressful process of buying and selling a business by helping them manage their expectations and normalizing the often stressful process.” – Jeannie Keen

“The problem solving aspect of the job – it’s like putting a puzzle together, has many moving parts and is never boring, but challenging!!! I really don’t think there is enough money in the world to pay you to do it, you have to like the challenge and the satisfaction of really helping people, which we do every day.” – Karen Tipton

3. What advice would you give to aspiring women in business?

“I’d tell them to be very confident in whatever they say to a buyer or seller. But to gain that confidence, make sure to study the industry and market of the client and also have a sound understanding of business brokerage essentials. Make no one take you for granted and never feel less than any of your male counterparts.” – Sara Mashkoor

“Don’t think that you can’t do something. If you want to do it, do it. The only glass ceiling that remains in this country today are the ones we put up ourselves!” – Doreen Morgan

Jeannie Keen of sunbelt roanoke

Jeannie Keen, Sunbelt Business Brokers of Roanoke & Lynchburg

“A. Go out on a limb because that’s where the fruit’s at. You have to set big, scary goals and take calculated risks to achieve them.

B. Embrace your unique skills and focus on your strengths. Surround yourself with a strong team who can compensate for the skills you lack.

C. Never stop learning. I listen to business podcasts in the car, in the shower, while cooking dinner and much to their chagrin, I make my kids listen when there’s something they can glean. I learn something new every day from listening to industry and business leaders.

D. Become crystal clear on your personal and professional goals. That doesn’t mean saying broadly that you would like to make a million dollars this year. That means outlining exactly what you have to do to make that happen and working toward that every day. Ask yourself, “What do I need to do this week to meet that goal?”

E. Timing is everything. When someone tells you ‘No’, what they’re really saying is “Not right now.” – Jeannie Keen

“Learn the basics, do the work, don’t waste time trying to make it easy – it’s NOT!! Do what you say you will do, don’t accept the idea that your deals will fall, learn how to keep that from happening. Otherwise, discouragement will get you! Make sure you work in an atmosphere where you can think through issues, not just react. This job takes brain power. Before I started this business, I had a partner once that would say that there is no problem that cannot be solved with enough brain power applied! I believe that. Living in a hectic state all the time makes it impossible to focus and truly solve an issue vs. just a band aid.” – Karen Tipton

4. How do you achieve work-life balance?

“This is the same for any working mom in our outside of business brokerage. In this case the only difference is to manage most of client meetings during workdays in normal business hours and take only weekends and evening meetings as the last resort.” – Sara Mashkoor

“I have a great husband, and we are very much partners. We divide and conquer on most things. I don’t try to do it all myself, and I don’t strive for perfection. I constantly remind myself that the

Karen Tipton smiling

Karen Tipton, Sunbelt Business Brokers of Tulsa

kids are not going to remember that the beds weren’t made everyday or that there were always a load of unfolded laundry in the laundry room. They will remember what we did together as a family.” – Doreen Morgan

“Being my own boss allows me to stay home when the kids are sick or to take several weeks of vacation every year. The trade-off is that I’m never really ‘off’ or without my laptop and I work (at least a little) almost every day of the year. It’s a double-edged sword, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.” – Jeannie Keen

“We don’t do brain surgery here! It’s not life or death, you must be responsive, but if you don’t have a life you will burn out. I NEVER work on Sundays because I want that day as the Lord’s day, but also His plan is for a day of rest and it is wisdom not to let all the days run together. You need mental clarity for this job. Also, you are working with business people and they understand this. It takes effort daily to set priorities. Family needs must be taken care of, learn how to make sure that is done so that everything is not a crisis.” – Karen Tipton

5. Who inspires you in the business world?

“I am very inspired by my mentor and trainer, Len Krick.” – Sara Mashkoor

“I love Bill Gates, but it really is the business owners I work with. Almost daily I meet with business owners and get to hear their stories about how they started their business, the challenges and stories of the start-up years and how they grew.” – Doreen Morgan

“A. Sara Blakely, Founder of Spanx. I love that she didn’t take no for an answer.

B. Barbara Corcoran, Shark Tank. She is an example that shows grades are not the sole determining factor for success.

C. Rachel Hollis, author of Girl, Wash your Face. When you hear the backstory of someone like Rachel who is a self-taught businesswoman, I’m inspired by the determination it took to get to the point of becoming a successful author, lifestyle blogger, podcaster, and mother of four.

D. But mostly, everyday business owners and entrepreneurs who are driving their business and wearing all the hats every day, like my best friend, Sandi Worley. After growing weary of the corporate world, she left the comfort of her 6-figure director position with a communications company to buy a struggling flower shop. This was an industry she knew nothing about but she believed in her ability to move the needle and she knew she had, what I refer to as achievement drive. With this skill, you will be successful no matter what you do, because you have the internal drive to succeed.” – Jeannie Keen

“We don’t do brain surgery here! It’s not life or death, you must be responsive, but if you don’t have a life you will burn out. I NEVER work on Sundays because I want that day as the Lord’s day, but also His plan is for a day of rest and it is wisdom not to let all the days run together. You need mental clarity for this job. Also, you are working with business people and they understand this. It takes effort daily to set priorities. Family needs must be taken care of, learn how to make sure that is done so that everything is not a crisis.” – Karen Tipton

If these remarkable female Sunbelt business brokers have inspired you to explore business ownership, consider working with one of them or your local Sunbelt office to learn more about business opportunities in your area. Alternatively, Sunbelt Business Brokers is always looking for talented women in business to join the Sunbelt franchise. If you’re interested in joining the Sunbelt franchise, please contact Sunbelt Corporate for information regarding available franchise opportunities.


Brian Knoderer

Brian Knoderer is the President of Sunbelt Business Brokers. He has over 20 years of experience as a business owner and managing business transactions. As a seasoned intermediary, Brian has successfully represented companies in a broad range of industries helping business owners achieve their desired exit strategy or growth initiative.

Brian is also co-owner of Sunbelt Indiana and Managing Director of MMI Capital Partners, a franchisor focused investment banking firm.

Previously Brian was involved in several entrepreneurial ventures as well as having held corporate roles in Franchise Development for Prime Hospitality and Choice Hotels.

Brian is a graduate of Ball State University with a degree in Management Information Systems and earned his MBA from Butler University. He has received the Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisor (CM&AA) designation, holds both the Series 7 – General Security License and the Series 63 – Uniform Securities Licenses, and is a licensed Real Estate Broker. He has been affiliated with several organizations including the Entrepreneur Organization, a Member of the International Business Brokers Association, Venture Club, and a Board Member of The Entrepreneur Institute.

More Posts From Brian

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