According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, America has nearly 12 million women-owned businesses, employing nine million people and generating revenue of $1.7 trillion.
Being a woman entrepreneur is an extremely rewarding experience; yet, starting a business isn’t as easy as it seems. It requires buckets of hard work, knowledge of the market, and a steady source of funds.
Moreover, finding a profitable niche for your venture isn’t something that happens overnight. It requires a lot of research and brainstorming to come up with a product that will appeal to a particular demographic and make money in the long run.
For instance, if ten companies offer cannabidiol products in the U.S. and yours offers organically-grown hemp CBD oil with the most advanced nanotechnology, ensuring better absorption, guess where those customers looking for CBD products will go?
Preparing for the entrepreneurial journey can be exciting and overwhelming, particularly in the case of first-time female entrepreneurs. If you are passionate about being your own boss, the effective five tips shared in this post will help you launch and scale your venture, allowing you to realize your professional goals.
1. Prepare a Robust Business Plan
A full-bodied business plan helps in setting and communicating venture goals to financial backers and stakeholders, thereby opening up numerous funding opportunities. Thus, if you need capital for your new venture, a business plan is non-negotiable.
A robust business plan will include information about your product or service, the customer and market analysis, business vision and goals, the financing methods, the marketing plan, sales forecasts, and the business strategies.
Business plan software like LivePlan and Enloop can help you pitch, plan, and track the progress of your business, enabling you to get your venture off the ground fast.
2. Determine Your Sources of Funding
Owing to the gender bias and social conditioning, raising capital for women-owned ventures can be quite a challenge. According to a report published by National Women's Business Council, men receive nine times more financing for their business in comparison to women.
In order to explore funding opportunities for your venture, connect with female-friendly organizations that support women entrepreneurship, offer financial advice, and desire to invest in your business. Female-focused venture funds like Female Founders Fund, Starvest Partners, and Women’s Venture Capital Fund are dedicated to investing in ambitious women-owned ventures.
Crowdfunding is an excellent way to raise capital for a new business idea. Reward-based and equity crowdfunding are the most common types of crowdfunding used by most entrepreneurs. In reward-based crowdfunding, you send your product or service in exchange for capital, whereas in equity crowdfunding you offer the lenders a part of your company to own (for instance, the company stocks).
Increasing your pool of angel investors can help you raise sufficient capital for your dream project. Several women angel investor networks like Pipeline Angels, Hello Angels, and Astia are committed to helping early-stage women entrepreneurs grow and scale their business.
3. Improve Your Online Presence
Mastering social media marketing enables you to have a low-cost opportunity to improve network and promote your business. Every single blog post, tweet, or image you post becomes a part of your brand image and establish you as an authority figure in the domain; hence, it is important to put some thought into your online marketing strategy.
97 percent of customers look online for products and services before buying them locally. Hence, it is wise to optimize your business website to showcase your brand, customer testimonials, and a blog that shares your unique voice.
Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are excellent social media platforms that enable entrepreneurs to generate leads and engage their customers. Make sure you are active on these platforms and curate value-adding content for your customers. Use multiple forms of content that are entertaining and informative, namely videos, podcasts, infographics, case studies, and webinars.
Strengthening your online reputation will help you earn credibility, gain the targeted exposure, and increase the traffic to your website, thereby improving your revenue.
4. Hone Your Leadership Skills
Following your passion and starting a business doesn’t necessarily put you in the leadership role. Most women entrepreneurs find themselves in the male-dominated business world that seldom acknowledges their leadership role.
Therefore, it is imperative that you cultivate the mindset of a leader from day one of your business launch, enabling you to command respect, elevate your operations, improve the relationship with your team, and make confident business decisions.
Leadership is all about managing people – internal (your team) and external (customers, vendors, and competitors). Make sure you communicate the strategic vision of your venture with your team. Ask them for their feedback and opinions and encourage them to take up responsibilities that match their strengths. This will not only make your team feel involved but also allow you to focus on other critical areas of your business.
Put a strong emphasis on networking, enabling you to reach new customers and industry opinion leaders and identify growth opportunities. In addition, attend industry conferences and join support networks to enhance your reputation in the industry and connect you to hubs, incubators, and accelerators that support new ventures.
5. Don’t Expect Success Overnight
The entrepreneurial journey is all about embracing change, taking calculated risks, and employing your skills to scale your business. The road to entrepreneurial success is paved with losses and mistakes. Moreover, you may not see success for a long time after launching your venture; yet, it is critical not to view failure as an excuse to relinquish your goals.
Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) goals will enable you to think through your plans in a concrete manner, helping you measure your progress at regular intervals.
Without a doubt, your first entrepreneurial failure will be painful; yet, each failure will teach you a valuable lesson, allowing you to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams with renewed passion. Learn from your mistakes and use this wisdom to steer your business towards success.
Women entrepreneurs across the globe are overcoming the common challenges of starting a new business and proving that their skills can build a profitable venture. If you aspire to catch up with the changing tide of women entrepreneurship, the effective tips shared in this post will help you create and scale your business, enabling you to realize your dreams.
Author Bio: Joy Smith is a speaker, mentor, entrepreneur, mother of four, and grandmother of six. After trying a number of poor quality CBD products, she teamed up with her family to develop an organically grown, full spectrum hemp oil to help people who suffer from a wide array of ailments. Visit Joy’s website to learn more joyorganics.com