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Growing Your Woman-Owned Business: Lessons from “Mary, Mary Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow”

"Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

With silver bells, and cockle shells, and pretty maids all in a row."

Growing a business can be compared to tending a garden, and much like Mary, who may have faced struggles along the way, you may need some guidance as you grow your small business. Here are some key aspects to consider for business growth, inspired by this timeless nursery rhyme.

The Seeds of Success: Starting with a Solid Foundation

Just as a garden needs seeds, a business requires a strong foundation. This foundation includes having a solid business plan, identifying your competitive advantage, and setting clear, strong goals. Your business plan acts as the blueprint for your enterprise, guiding your actions and decisions. Similarly, knowing your competitive edge helps you stand out in the marketplace, while well-defined goals provide direction and motivation.

Watering and Nourishing: Investing Time and Resources

Gardens need water and nutrients to thrive; likewise, businesses need time, effort, and resources. Consistent investment in your business, whether through financial means, personal energy, or acquiring new skills, is crucial for growth. Continuous learning and adaptation are key. By attending workshops, seeking mentorship, and staying updated with industry trends, you ensure that your business remains healthy and competitive.

Weeding Out Challenges: Overcoming Obstacles

Just as weeds can choke a garden, challenges can hinder your business growth. Identifying and addressing these obstacles is essential. Whether it’s stiff competition, financial hurdles, or market changes, having strategies in place to overcome these barriers is crucial. This might involve seeking expert advice, innovating your offerings, or reevaluating your business model to stay resilient and adaptable.

Sunshine and Support: Building a Strong Network

Gardens flourish with sunlight and support from nature; similarly, businesses grow with strong networks and support systems. Building a network of mentors, peers, and industry contacts can provide invaluable guidance, support, and opportunities. Networking events, professional organizations, and online communities are great platforms to connect with like-minded individuals who can offer advice, share experiences, and open doors to new possibilities.

Harvesting the Rewards: Achieving Business Growth

The ultimate goal of gardening is a bountiful harvest, akin to achieving success in business. Celebrating your milestones, no matter how small, is important. It reflects the hard work and dedication you've invested. Continual evaluation and refinement of your strategies will ensure sustained growth and long-term success.

Remember, growth is a journey, not a destination, and every achievement is a step forward.

Growing Through Queen City Women in Business™ 

Recently I was introduced to an organization that is already allowing me to reap benefits and position myself for business and personal growth. Queen City Women in Business™ (QCWIB) is dedicated to helping women-owned small businesses connect with major organizations faster by simplifying the pathways to certification, building pre-established corporate partnerships, and providing direct access to continuous education. 

Queen City Women in Business™ is the ONLY membership-based platform dedicated to supplier sourcing and development, efficiently connecting women-owned businesses with major organizations. Founded by Dawn Nicole McIlwain in Charlotte, North Carolina, QCWIB is rapidly expanding nationally.  The recent launch of the Indiana by Chapter President Taja Graham, is just the beginning with more chapters slated for early 2025, adding to the fast-growing membership of over 600 women entrepreneurs.  

Ready to Grow?

If you want to learn more about Queen City Women in Business™ you can join us for a virtual Welcome Call (for new members or those interested in learning more) on the 2nd Wednesday of each month.  The next Welcome Call is July 10th and you can register here.  Or if you have learned enough and are ready to join this amazing network of small business owners, please use this link to join and discover how you can cultivate your own business garden! Either way, let me know you are interested and I’ll meet you there or schedule time to discuss in more detail.



Just as Mary tended to her garden with care and attention, you too can cultivate a thriving business by laying a strong foundation, investing time and resources, overcoming obstacles, building a supportive network, and celebrating your successes. Remember, growth requires patience, dedication, and the right resources. With organizations like QCWIB, women entrepreneurs have the support they need to grow and succeed in their business endeavors. 


Denola M. Burton is the Founder and CEO of Enhanced DNA: Develop Nurture Achieve, LLC and Enhanced DNA Publishing. Through Enhanced DNA, Denola develops and nurtures individuals and organizations to achieve their Leadership, Communication and Performance goals and objectives. Denola is also an author and publisher and through Enhanced DNA Publishing, assists new and newer authors in publishing their books according to the standards of the Independent Book Publisher's Association (IBPA). Denola retired from Eli Lilly and Company after 27 years where the majority of her career was focused on Employee Relations/Human Resources. Interested in becoming an author? Check out Denola' s award-winning book, Enhancing Your Author DNA: Step-by-Step Publishing Guide

You can connect with Denola on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIN Enhanced DNA or send a message to


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