Women entrepreneurs are those who establish a business, put together all the available resources, take risks, confront challenges, simultaneously create employment opportunities for others, and manage & organize the business independently. “Women Entrepreneurship” means an act of business ownership and business creation that empowers women economically in a position in society.
Historically it’s been a popular belief that women are not meant to be in a leadership position; they are expected to take orders rather than give them. It’s not that they are not capable of doing it instead our society is not quite comfortable and accepting when it comes to being led by women.
As of 2020, there are 12.3 million women-owned businesses, which means women-owned companies account for 40% of all businesses in the U.S. That growth is thanks to women who pursued their entrepreneurial dreams, forged their path, and built something from the ground up. According to the report published by American Express women-owned businesses have risen 114 percent over the last 20 years. That’s more than 2.5 times the growth rate of all the major corporations nationally.
But these figures only show one side of the story. Women-owned businesses are still extremely low and the barriers for women operating in a highly competitive business environment are rough and completely different from the ones dealt by their male counterparts. Despite all the notable advancements in recent years, women still have to fight for their position in the business world. Following are some suggestions to make women-owned businesses successful.
1. A Business Mindset
Having a correct mindset is essential to address any problem in life and it’s the same for your success in the business world. Having an Entrepreneurial mindset to deal with problems and situations at hand will boost your odds and make your company thrive. However, all the business owners are not the same and have different personalities but they do share a lot of traits. Such as, being decisive, being able to make a tough and hard decisions in face of adversity. Being able to stay motivated and to motive your employees.
2. Set Clear and Realistic Goals
Studies have shown you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you’ve written them down. Having set goals for the short-term and long-term is crucial for business start-ups and as they grow bigger. For example, achieving a 15% increase in sales by the end of the quarter is a short-term target, and expanding & opening up a new franchise by next year is a long-term objective.
You also need to make a strategy, a business plan, on how to achieve your set targets. You can update your business strategy according to your company’s requirements and changes in circumstances. Companies that have a formal executable business strategy are 27% more likely to carry it through.
Knowing where you’re headed also includes modifying your business as the surrounding changes. COVID-19 forced some business owners to close their physical locations, but smart owners shifted their efforts online.
3. Plan for Further Growth
Planning when to grow your company is a decision every business struggle with and women-owned businesses are no different. Finding the perfect time to make that call is difficult as you may experience some short time pain on your finances and you’re always worried if the investment in growth will pay off or not.
Our tip is for planning for growth is to find the timing when you know the opportunity at hand will pay off the investment in the coming period. For example, investing in your second kitchen is a good idea before the holiday season when people dine out a lot.
It’s essential for women-owned start-ups to not miss out on these opportunities and plan their growth around them.
4. Move to the Next Stage
Most women-owned business start as a sole proprietorship, meaning the owner and the business is the same and the owner shares the debt of the business. This may change when you decide to change how your business is set up and restructure your business as a limited liability company (LLC). Restructuring your business will help you as your personal assets are separate from your business liabilities in case of bankruptcy. It also protects you if a lawsuit is brought against your company.
When your business grows bigger, you’ll need assistance in managing and organizing. You may want people around you to help you make decisions. The board of advisors with their expertise provides you with useful information to make the correct decisions. You may also want to hire more people according to the skill required for the job. For example, a digital marketing expert is required to advertise your product on the internet and you need to hire someone who specializes in that field.
So, getting the right people on board that bring in a unique skill set and knowledge to guide you is extremely important to progress to the next level.
5. Secure Fundings
Getting your business financed is one of the difficult tasks women-owned businesses have to deal with and also reluctant to do so. However, it was reported in 2018 there was a 13% increase in women-owned businesses applying for financial capital. You can greatly improve the chance of securing finance for your business by keeping a good credit score. As 36% of small businesses are denied to due low credit ratings.
Forbes reported women owners are less likely to apply for business loans than men but loans are vital for your business growth and success. Women-owned small businesses can seek funding by applying for small-scale business loans or lines of credit from banks, or online investors. This influx of money from loans can help you boost your operations. For example, by purchasing extra raw materials you can produce more products and increase your sales.
Previously, venture capital investors were reluctant to invest in women-owned businesses due to lack of evidence for its success but after the recent reports on profitability, they actively look for good women-owned enterprise to invest their venture capital money.
6. Expand Your Skillset
Every businesswoman has distinctive strengths. Figure out the areas you need to improve on by judging your business strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, decisions making skills, and threats. The evaluating of your strength and weakness is known as SWOT study. This analysis helps you to define your strengths and work on the weakness by learning. There are a lot of resources available for you to learn from and acquire new skills. Such as digital marketing classes, Entrepreneurial books, seminars, etc.
Depending on the importance and urgency of the task you can also outsource it. For example, you can hire a professional accountant that specializes in tax to file your taxes instead of learning to do it yourself.
7. Start Formalizing Marketing Strategies
In today’s world, customers have so many choices available which makes it extremely important for businesses to promote its product or services. Create a marketing strategy to connect to your target audience and push traffic to your website or door. Although your marketing budget depends on your company’s type and age it is ideal to allocate 7% to 8% of your gross revenue for it. You may spend have to spend extra on special occasions. For example, when introducing a new line of product or opening a new outlet, so on.
You should not be overspending on marketing, meaning your marketing strategy should be cost-effective. It’s extremely crucial for smaller businesses with a tight budget not to go overboard with their marketing expenses. They should start with setting up a low weekly budget, posts on social media and ads, monitor the returns, and make changes accordingly.
8. Attain Certifications
Certifications are perhaps the best way to excel in most fields and it’s no different when it comes to women who are business-minded. Through relevant certifications, they can excel in the businesses and increase the turnover. For instance, women can attain accreditation from Small Business Administration (SBA) which offers special certifications to women in businesses; the only requirement is that the eligibility documents must be submitted to the WOSB respiratory.
For more information regarding this, you can check out this official PDF from here.
9. Work on Networking
Networking is something small women businesses highly underestimate. Collaborating with other small businesses can help you connect with new clients and customers, and will increase your reach. So, reach out to fellow female entrepreneurs and think of ideas you can work on together. Small businesses can help each other to overcome common hurdles easily and boost each other.
10. Maximize on Available Resources
A lot of helpful resources are out there for women-owned businesses to capitalize on. These resources provide education (in-person or online training) and networking opportunities for women and offer mentorship, growth opportunities and access to credit and capital information, and industry certifications.
Also, there are financial assistance programs available that women entrepreneurs can access and play their part in the economy. In addition to that, the UAE government also offers financial support programs to promote and aid women-owned enterprises to succeed.
The women-owned businesses are gaining more and more popularity with each passing day and they are also contributing substantially to the economic stability of various regions. This is one of the reasons countries such as the United Arab Emirates are looking to become more women-inclusive so they can lay down the foundation for women all around the globe.