HerHeadquarters adjusts to an unpredictable year by giving back—and growing

When SPN first spotlighted HerHeadquarters in February of 2020, few of us were aware how drastically the looming pandemic would change our lives. While HerHeadquarters has not been immune to the changes wrought by COVID-19, the past year nonetheless offers a tale of trial and triumph for the Omaha-based brand. The start of 2020 came…

Carina Glover, courtesy HerHeadquarters
Carina Glover, courtesy HerHeadquarters

When SPN first spotlighted HerHeadquarters in February of 2020, few of us were aware how drastically the looming pandemic would change our lives. While HerHeadquarters has not been immune to the changes wrought by COVID-19, the past year nonetheless offers a tale of trial and triumph for the Omaha-based brand.

The start of 2020 came with big growth plans for HerHeadquarters, a company founded to help women entrepreneurs enrich their businesses.

As a solo founder, Carina Glover had carefully crafted her growth plan for 2020, relying heavily on a calendar packed with onsite events, exhibitions and conferences relevant to her target audience. When the pandemic began to hit the U.S. full force in March, however, plans to reach any audience in person looked increasingly futile. 

Within a two-week period, Glover said, every email she received from organizers had the same message: cancelled. 

Although, as Glover put it, angel investors were already lined up to support HerHeadquarters, were mere seconds away from signing on the dotted line, ultimately, those investments had to be put on hold as the world moved into an unknown future and the growth strategy Glover designed was no longer possible.

“As a founder, one of the biggest adjustments (I had to make) was being okay with saying ‘I don’t know’ and trusting myself to figure it out. Even if it didn’t happen overnight,” Glover said.

At the beginning of 2020, HerHeadquarters could be found in six U.S. cities. Glover’s plan was to strategically target 14 more communities across the country, offering the app to women business founders in these areas once HerHeadquarters could establish enough connections and potential brand partnerships with local, women-owned businesses to justify the expansion. Then, over time, the company would grow nationwide to cities on its lengthening waitlist, a ramp-up strategy Glover had carefully calculated to optimize the app’s influence. 

With the ability to target specific cities through events and conferences no longer an option, Glover weighed the risks of premature expansion and decided to give her development team the go-ahead to release the app nationwide. The risk paid off. 

By the end of 2020, HerHeadquarters had amassed thousands of users from over 50 U.S. cities, Glover said.

Although in-person events remained off the table throughout 2020, HerHeadquarters organized a three-day summit for women founders called The Power Player’s Conference: Succeeding in Business through Partnerships. Glover partnered with five other women-owned companies to pull off the event, which included a $750 business grant awarded to one lucky attendee.

Glover said her company’s user base grew by 30% thanks to that event. 

HerHeadquarters also used the year as an opportunity to address another critical issue facing women entrepreneurs: lack of access to capital and investment. To that end, the company donated a $1,500 business grant to a female founder in celebration of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day in November. The gesture ended up earning HerHeadquarters another 600 new app users, Glover said..

“Maybe we’re not at the size just yet where we can give away a $15,000 grant or a $100,000 grant,” Glover said. “But we don’t have to wait until we’re this giant Fortune 500 company to impact today.”

Looking ahead to 2022, Glover said HerHeadquarters’s waitlist for international cities currently sits at around 15, and she’s begun the process of researching which markets to launch in first. 

As for the rest of 2021, HerHeadquarters will be busy. The company just released HerHeadquarters 3.0 and debuted the Power of the Female Partnership campaign, which Glover said helps connect women-owned businesses through the “secret weapon” of brand partnerships. The app added a new tiered price structure, as well as a series of master classes covering a different business topic each month, such as email automation, effective marketing campaigns and what women founders need to know when preparing to hire their first employees.

This should all help actualize Glover’s vision of HerHeadquarters as a vital business tool for women, perhaps the kind of tool Glover could have used on her way to becoming the seasoned entrepreneur she is today.

As a parting gift for SPN readers, Glover said she wanted to offer any aspiring or emerging women entrepreneurs the following advice: “Do your own independent research. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. When you’re starting a business, nothing is below you.” 

Glover also recommends conducting surveys, focus groups, one-on-one interviews: it all counts as valuable research with the power to shape strategy and spark innovation.

“The better you understand the problems your target audience has, the better you can serve them, and the more valuable your product or service will be,” Glover said.

 

This article features reporting by SPN contributor Matthew Robbins Case.

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