Every time I look through my social media platform, I see a lot of events for the female entrepreneur. Last Saturday, I also had the privilege of speaking to some of these women in company of some other female doing great things. No better time in history to be a woman than now!
Even though women who run their own businesses may sometimes find that friends and family view their work as a hobby or side project rather than a serious business venture, more than ever, lots of women are grabbing the reins and embracing entrepreneurship and have become a powerful force in the market place today. They are starting businesses of every size and form and across all the industries; from technology to Real Estate to Professional Services and Consulting!
Female entrepreneurship is on the rise around the world. They now lead many of the leading companies in the United States and the case isn’t any different in Africa and Nigeria. Many women are leaders in the market place. Even though there is no such thing as a “woman-owned business, there are however certain challenges peculiar to this gender striving to pull their weight in business as the road to success for female entrepreneurs often involves its own unique set of perils. In comparison to male-owned businesses, female-owned businesses generally fail at a higher rate, employ fewer people and generate less revenue.
The reasons for the disparity are complicated and vary from cultural and social norms, trouble in accessing funds or capital, family pressures and demand to the woman’s internal landscape among several other factors. These factors have prevented Female entrepreneurs from exploring, starting, growing or scaling a business.
Find here tips to help female entrepreneurs give their businesses the best shot at success.
FIND AN IDEAL VENTURE FOR YOU– Depending on the level of risk and investment, a successful business could mean a structured organization with several employees and six-digits returns and revenues annually or a small consulting self craft or artisan business that generates good income and allows generous personal freedom. Whatever cuts it for you, you must careful choose and plan what your ideal vision is for your business and your personal life bearing in mind the fact no matter how small the business is it can be quite profitable if it is target an untapped niche. It’s almost always possible to find profitable niche markets if you look carefully.
USE YOUR SOCIAL CAPITAL- Women are natural connectors hence they belong to all kinds of groups and associations physically and virtually. On Whatsapp, an average woman is a member of at least three groups and some of these groups hit the maximum number of 256 persons per group. What are you doing with your social capital? Are you only sharing jokes and “Happy Sunday”, “Happy New Month messages”? Can you begin to think of a product or service you can sell to these groups? How about your church, club or old school association members? Are you doing business with any one of them? If the answer is NO, them you need to reappraise yourself…. YOU ARE NOT LEVERAGING ON THE CHEAPEST BUT BIGGEST CAPITAL YOU HAVE!
NETWORK WITH OTHER WOMEN – Experienced business owners know that success depends not just on what you can do, but also on the people you know. That is why they say your network determines your net worth! The value of networking with other female entrepreneurs cannot be over emphasized as it helps create shared value for their businesses. Guess what? There is so much female entrepreneurs can gain by networking with other women one on one. For example, consider sending an email or a message on social media to a female business owner whose work you admire. The humble ones will immediately warm up to you and that is a good opportunity for her to mentor you and you can pick her brain to understand the secrets to her success. You would also learn how your businesses can support each other and explore room for collaborations.
BE COMMITTED TO CONTINUOUS LEARNING – Replace gigs with Conferences. Before you “turn up” for one party ensure your success hunger tank has been filled with 3 seminars! Cultivate a hunger for knowledge; be humble to ask questions. Before I start any venture, I research, read, ask questions and talk to lots of different people I know are well informed about my endeavor. It’s important to understand your industry and your market so that you can make well-informed decisions every step of the way.
FIND A MENTOR – In this part of the world a lot of entrepreneurs have not come to know the value of mentors and trusted advisors. Most women in business are “mentored” by their feelings and emotions! Business decisions are largely taken on sentiments and personal preferences. The truth is that having a trusted advisor or mentor is invaluable and can never be over emphasized.
Finding a good mentor is certainly not easy however if you are lucky to find a good one, the impact is priceless as they come in handy from providing training and support, to talking you through challenging situations. So if you don’t already have one please get searching because a good mentor will help you grow your business while developing your leadership skills. Additionally, women mentors can help you swim through the turbulent tides of challenges peculiar to female entrepreneurs, including gender discrimination and similar issues.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA – Research shows women spend more time on social media then men and they also attract more followers most times. It is also no longer news that social media has helped to bring down the borders and barriers in doing business globally! There’s no doubt that social media presence is important to a business’s marketing strategy; whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or even Pinterest, social media has proven to be a good conduit to business results in terms of leads, third-party endorsements and even outright sales.
What are you doing with your own social media account? Showing off your designer apparels and latest acquisitions? That same tool you are using to acquire haters for yourself is also the most powerful tool you can use to source customers across the globe for your business!
EXPLORE OTHER SOURCES OF FINANCING – Rather than source funds from the bank where you have to pay huge interest that will erode your income, seek non-traditional ways to raise funds for your business. All money is not equal so seek wisely! Look for investors who understand your sector and are aligned with goals for your company. Seek personal unsecured loans from family and friends, enter competitions that fund businesses, consider financial institutions that are committed to working with women-owned businesses have implemented lending programs focused on women-owned businesses.
Now that you have the tips, tools, intuition and technological information you need, go out and start your business and if you have already, apply these tips to make it better. Following these tips has helped me greatly and I’m sure doing so will also help you take your business to the next level and get closer achieving your entrepreneurial goals.