What women entrepreneurs need to do
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Amid all the challenges and obstacles brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been one silver lining: a reset – a global reset on top of that. The temporary hiatus gave the world the opportunity to reflect and deliberate on several things. From observing clearer skies during the lockdown to #BlackLivesMatter, many things that were probably taken for granted in a normal course became evident. The other catalytic change during the pandemic has been the acceptance of remote working models and the shift to digital interactions, all of which have resulted in a leveling of the business environment, especially for women. Women entrepreneurs have emerged and how, thanks to their passion, their deep understanding of client needs and their thirst to excel at what they do. There are certain things that have proven to be effective over time for successful women entrepreneurs today and can play a key role in business growth for emerging leaders in all industries.
To concentrate: When you start a business, there are a lot of challenges and distractions. You need to use your time and limited resources optimally to gain traction. In such a scenario, concentration is of paramount importance. It helps to reduce the frustration and disappointment that a businesswoman might feel. Right off the bat, you get the big picture and the roadmap, and the more attention you pay to your trip, the faster you grow. Being a female entrepreneur doesn’t limit your reach or your ability to succeed. You can start small, offering a limited range of products and services to see how well your business model is performing and how customers are responding to your offers.
Get financing: One of the main reasons businesses fail to grow is lack of funding. While the most common form of starting a business is seed, it is usually not the most efficient way. There are a number of programs and financial institutions that fund start-ups as well as women-owned start-ups. By securing financing, you not only get the money to run the business operations during the tough phase, but you also validate your idea and instill confidence in the business model. You can go for various options such as loans, debt funds, grants, and risk financing. The key is to decide on the business plan, determine the financial needs, and then secure sufficient funds to take the plunge.
Networking: Networking is of the utmost importance for entrepreneurs. There are a lot of layers and options. Friends and family, former colleagues, clients, and professional associations are some of the channels through which you can network. Even when physical networking through industry events and meetings is not possible, there is still an option to stay connected to your contacts and expand your network on virtual platforms. LinkedIn is a key platform for optimizing your personal profile, and you can connect with other industry stakeholders, investors, clients, and buyers through virtual events, webinars, and live events.
Let others clearly understand your business, your vision and the difference you are making through the power of networking and there is a good chance that you can leverage your networks for the success of your business.
Highlight your USPs: No two companies are the same, even if they operate in the same vertical. Find out what sets your business apart from others in your industry. If you are a food company, what are your signature dishes, if you are an e-commerce brand, how do you differentiate yourself from others? It could be your design and usefulness of your products or customer service or delivery logistics etc.
Do in-depth industry research and map your competition. What do the others offer? What are the gaps between demand and supply and unmet needs in your industry? Once you’ve found the answers, create your branding preposition that will make buyers choose you over them. Once you know and are able to effectively project what sets your business apart and how it benefits your TG, success won’t be that hard to come by.
Flexibility and adaptability: If there’s one lesson the pandemic has taught us all, it’s the importance of flexibility and adaptability in business operations. Adaptation is the key to survival. A large number of businesses have closed during the pandemic and there are many more on the verge of closing. To ensure that your business continues to grow in the current scenario, you must be prepared to reinvent, learn, or unlearn processes. The focus needs to shift from what worked to what will work. Customer needs have changed in the new scenario and it is important to realign business strategies as well as products and services to remain relevant to the revised needs.
Positivity: The pandemic has made it clear that despite the most logical plans, detailed research and funding, there is always the possibility of things getting out of hand due to factors beyond the control of a business owner. In such situations, the key is to stay optimistic and calm. You need to reassess and identify growth opportunities as they arise.
The pandemic has given us the opportunity to dig deep and make a real difference for society through a combination of innovative technologies, powerful partnerships and results-based management. While this has been an incredible challenge, it has also been a watershed moment for innovation across the spectrum. Given my experience, I always encourage women to use a combination of skills, abilities and understanding to deliver substantial value and impact. The opportunities are immense. Above all, it is important to understand that being a woman should never be taken as a disadvantage. While the start might not be easy, the right amount of focus and self-confidence can do the trick. In a room full of men, I used to be the only female entrepreneur. However, I stuck it out and over time helped those around me realize that I should be seen as an entrepreneur and not as a man or a woman in the race – pandemic or not!