Create Your Best Year Yet!

did you know that according to the seventh annual State of Women-Owned Business Report, North Carolina ranks #7 in the country for growth of women-owned businesses? One place to glean evidence of this is at a Create Your Best Year Yet (BYY) workshop sponsored by the Western Women’s Business Center (WWBC), a program of Carolina Small Business Development Fund. The impact of women entrepreneurs in our state is changing the business landscape. We own over 333,100 businesses, employ 279,700 people, and generate about $39.4 billion annually. As business owners, women are looking for ways to grow while balancing work and life – and the BYY program invites women to do just that, strategically.

I was first introduced to BYY by Annice Brown, a successful small business consultant and coach with over 25 years of experience. She has been working this program since 2004 and knows it works. Even though I’ve studied and implemented many tools, strategies, and philosophies as a coach, I was blown away by the BYY program and the blueprint it provides for a simple and effective structure to make goals happen.

When I started my jewelry design business in Asheville in 2013, I utilized many resources available to small businesses in WNC, and created a strong network. The one thing I couldn’t find was ongoing, low-cost support with a coach and a group of other entrepreneurs who also wanted to grow and have accountability. Annice and I wanted to create a program to meet that need, to help women entrepreneurs truly transform their lives and businesses.

Annice approached the Director of the WWBC

, Sharon Oxendine, to discuss the possibility of us piloting this program. Over 25 women signed up for our first one-day workshop to create their Best Year Yet plans for the next 12 months. While some participants used the self-directed online program, almost half signed up for the yearlong program, which includes a monthly group meeting and one-on-one coaching.

Did you know...
…that according to the seventh annual State of Women-Owned Business Report, North Carolina ranks #7 in the country for growth of women-owned businesses? One place to glean evidence of this is at a Create Your Best Year Yet (BYY) workshop sponsored by the Western Women’s Business Center (WWBC), a program of Carolina Small Business Development Fund. The impact of women entrepreneurs in our state is changing the business landscape. We own over 333,100 businesses, employ 279,700 people, and generate about $39.4 billion annually.
Participants range in their experience and business size from start-ups to existing businesses with 15+ employees. Our workshop on October 10, 2017, was our third sold-out workshop. A handful of women were in transition, and one participant came from Raleigh because she had taken the BYY workshop years ago and wanted to create a strategic plan. The women in these groups are making their goals happen. Creating clear and strong goals helps them develop and refine a strong business model, as well as keep life balanced. This consistent group process strengthens their support systems for problem solving and sharing accomplishments, while fostering personal and business growth.

For over 35 years, the BYY program has offered over a million users a clear sense of how to transform limiting beliefs into empowering new mindsets by defining a new reality, backed by a plan on how to achieve it. According to Jinny Ditzler, founder of the BYY System and author of Your Best Year Yet®, if you’ve reached 80 percent of your goals, your year has been a success, and that’s what we see in our groups. In fact, several participants in the coaching program have signed up for a second year because of the results they achieved. We are committed to the program’s objective: To align women entrepreneurs to their purpose, passion, and success factors. We facilitate shifts in mindset to cultivate self-empowerment through effective group and personal coaching using the Best Year Yet 12-month plan.

Sharon Oxendine, Director of the WWBC states, “These two savvy women entrepreneurs have their hand on the pulse of the WNC region regarding trends, and are equipped to support women entrepreneurs in developing strategic plans that are realistic and reasonable. The metrics and impact of this program show that women entrepreneurs are empowered and supported to take risks, develop action plans that are real and constructive, and begin to share their entrepreneurial journeys with other women entrepreneurs.”

We also recommend this program for non-profit leaders. Just ask Alyce Knaflich, who raised considerable funds for Aura Home, a shelter for homeless women Veterans, and was the WLOS person of the week in June 2017. Additionally, the year-long program has supported women to accomplish goals such as the following: start a business, get out of debt, lose weight, apply for capital, plan for retirement, up-level office space, double business income, implement a marketing plan, create business systems, save money, etc.

“We are intentional about helping women entrepreneurs grow and expand their business, and the BYY program does just that. After seeing the need in Asheville for this program, we decided to duplicate the program in Raleigh, NC. We believe this is a constructive opportunity for women entrepreneurs as they build their business and achieve their personal goals,” said Lenwood V. Long, Sr., President/CEO of Carolina Small Business Development Fund.

If you are starting a business, expanding, or at the place where you need solid goals, support, and accountability, we invite you to create your Best Year Yet. It all starts with a trans-formative workshop where you set your top 10 goals for the year.
The new owners of Best Year Yet (also women entrepreneurs) are committed to supporting our program in WNC by offering the materials and technology at a reduced rate. And thanks to the support of the WWBC and Carolina Small Business Development Fund, this program offers the goal focused, long-term support women entrepreneurs need. This is a community effort to provide value, support, and empowered success to the women in this region.

The next Create Your Best Year Yet one-day workshop will be held in Asheville on January 25th and the optional 12-month program will begin in February. To register, visit CarolinaSmallBusiness.org/events.


Jen Aly, M.S. has been a coach since 2003 and has certifications through Best Year Yet and Martha Beck. She learned business skills from million-dollar training company, Thrive Academy in California, and worked as a coach for their clients. At age 23, she began teaching university level English, and her seven years of teaching spanned from Honduras to Hawai’i. As an Asheville based jewelry designer, she created a full-time business in less than one year. 

Jen Aly
Written by Jen Aly