Things Women Entrepreneurs Need to Do
Amidst all the challenges and obstacles brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been one positive aspect: a reset – a global one at that. The temporary pause has given the world an opportunity to reflect and deliberate on several things. From observing clearer skies during the lockdown to #BlackLivesMatter, many things that probably were taken for granted in a normal course came to the fore. The other catalysing change during the pandemic has been the acceptance of remote working models, and shift to digital interactions, all of which have brought about a levelling of the business environment – especially for women. Women entrepreneurs have emerged and how with their sheer passion, in-depth understanding of customer needs, and the thirst to excel in what they do.There are certain things which have proven effective over time for successful women entrepreneurs of today and can play a key role in business growth for the emerging leaders across industries.
Focus: When you start a business, there are plenty of challenges and distractions. You have to make optimal use of your time and limited resources to gain traction. In such a scenario, focus is of paramount importance. It helps in reducing frustration and disappointment that a businesswoman might experience. Right from the word go, you have the big picture and the roadmap, and the more attention you pay to your journey, the faster you grow. Being a woman entrepreneur doesn't limit your scope or ability to succeed. You can start out small, offering a limited range of products and services to see how well your business model is doing and how the customers respond to your offerings.
Get funded: One of the biggest reasons why businesses fail to grow is the lack of funding. Though the commonest form of starting a business is to bootstrap, it is usually not the most effective way. There are a number of programmes and financial institutions that provide funding to start-ups as well as women owned start-ups. By securing funding, you not only get the cash to run the business operations through the tough phase, but also validate your idea and instilconfidence in the business model. There are various options such as loans, debt funds, grants and venture funding that you can opt for. The key is to decide on the business plan, work out the financial needs and then secure adequate funds to take the plunge.
Networking: Networking is of utmost importance for entrepreneurs. There are many layers and options to it. Friends and family, former colleagues, clients and business associations are some of the channels that you can network through. Even when the physical networking through industry events and get-togethers is not possible, there are always option to stay connected to your contacts and expand your network on virtual platforms. LinkedIn is a key platform to keep your personal profile optimized and you can connect with other industry stakeholders, investors, clients and buyers through virtual events, webinars and live-stream events.
Let others clearly understand your business, vision and the difference you are making through the power of networking and chances are that you will be able to leverage your networks for your business success.
Highlight your USPs: No two businesses are alike even if they operate in the same vertical. Find out what makes your business different from others in your industry. If you are a food business then what are your signature dishes, if you are an e-commerce brand then how do you differentiate yourself from others? It could be your design and usefulness of your products or your customer service or the delivery logistics etc.
Do a thorough industry research and map your competition. What are others offering? What are the demand supply gaps and unaddressed needs in your vertical? Once you find the answers then create your brand preposition that will make the 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 will not be that hard to find.
Flexibility and adaptability: If there is one lesson that the pandemic has taught us all then it is the importance of flexibility and adaptability in business operations. Adaptation is the key to survival. A large number of businesses shut during the pandemic and there are many more on the verge of shutting down. To ensure that your business continues growing in the current scenario, you need to be ready to reinvent, learn or unlearn the processes. The focus has to shift from what worked to what will work. Customer needs have changed in the new scenario and it is important to realign the business strategies as well as products and services to stay relevant to the revised needs.
Positivity: The pandemic has made it clear that despite the most logical plans, detailed research and funding, there are always possibilities that things can go out of hand due to factors beyond a business owner's control. In such situations, the key is to remain optimistic and calm. You need to reassess and identify the growth opportunities as they emerge.
The pandemic has given us the opportunity to dig deep and make a genuine difference to society through a combination of innovative tech, powerful partnerships, and results-driven management. Although it 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 skill, ability and understanding to deliver substantial value and impact.The opportunities are immense. Above everything, it is important to understand that being a woman is never to be taken as a disadvantage. Although the start may not be easy but the right amount of focus and self-belief can do the trick. In a room full of men, I was once the only woman entrepreneur. However, I stood my ground and over time, helped those around me realize that I am to be looked at as an entrepreneur and not according to whether I am a man or woman in the race – pandemic or not!