When a female entrepreneur experiences a setback in her business, she must take certain steps to get back on track so she can gain the confidence and success she deserves.
While any female entrepreneur who has experienced a setback in her business will ultimately take a multi-pronged approach to getting back on track, certain specific elements of the rise to ideal apply differently to each entrepreneurial type.
A recent study from Jane Out of the Box, an authority on female entrepreneurs, reveals there are five distinct types of women in business. Based on professional market research of more than 3,500 women in business, this study shows that each type of business owner has a unique approach to running a business and therefore each one has a unique combination of needs. When a woman is living as her ideal entrepreneurial type, she feels satisfied, personally and professionally. This article outlines six ideas for jumpstarting cash flow following a business setback.
Most women business owners who have experienced a setback are living a Tenacity Jane phase. Tenacity Jane is an entrepreneur with an undeniable passion for her business, and one who tends to be struggling with cash flow. As a result, she's working longer hours, and making less money than she'd like. Nevertheless, Tenacity Jane is bound and determined to make her business a success. At 31% of women in business, Tenacity Janes make up the largest group of female entrepreneurs. Typically, a woman business owner becomes a Tenacity Jane for one of five reasons: she has a craft or skill, but lacks business knowledge, the business started undercapitalized or acquired more debt than can be comfortably carried at current revenue levels, she doesn’t charge enough for her services, she lacks focus and is trying to accomplish too much all at once, or something has changed in the industry or cost structure that has caused a once-prosperous business to falter financially.
To move forward from a Tenacity Jane phase, a woman business owner must:
Invest in her own knowledge. New knowledge can be the key to jumpstarting profitability. Even if she is an expert in her craft, she may not have the knowledge she needs to run a successful business. Odds are, she recognizes where she can improve her knowledge for the betterment of her business. An entrepreneur can create her own training plan or she can hire someone with expertise to fill in the gaps. Whether she reads books, buys home study courses or attends live classes, an entrepreneur who builds her knowledge base dramatically increases her chances of boosting her profit. Some areas where she may need new knowledge: marketing (specifically, email marketing, social networking as a marketing tool, etc.), financial management, team building and delegation, and project and time management.
Identify her target market and its needs, and then market accordingly. By surveying her existing customers, a female entrepreneur can get an inexpensive and very accurate picture of which of her products and services are most in-demand, and of the profiles of the people who are using them the most. Then, she can market to similar people, thus increasing her chances of attracting ideal clients who need (and will pay for) her services.
Evaluate her pricing and raise it, if possible. Whether she “started low” to win business and never raised her rates, or she over-estimated her profit margin, it never hurts for an entrepreneur to evaluate how her pricing compares with that of other similar professionals in her area. She can send surveys to existing customers, asking them about industry pricing, and call competitors and ask for a price sheet. Also, by evaluating her costs and margin, she can determine whether she could increase her margin slightly and therefore increase her profits. When considering hourly rates, a female business owner should remember to include the cost of taking time off for vacation, and the time she spends working non-billable hours marketing, paying bills, etc. She should consider what each project or unit is worth to her – and create a guideline for herself about how much she has to charge to feel properly compensated.
Network. By networking with other like-minded professionals, a woman business owner creates opportunities for a support system in which she can share ideas and information, and for getting word of mouth referrals. Also, networking provides chances for affiliate relationships, in which two professionals who offer related services market their products together.
Upsell. Business owners can drive profit fairly easily with a little extra work through consistent upselling. In this sales approach, every time someone buys from the entrepreneur, she offers them a chance to pay just a little bit more for an expanded service or an augmented product. For example, if she sells a necklace, she upsells to include a fancy jewelry box. If she sells an information product, she upsells to a continuity product such as a newsletter.
Communicate regularly with information and offers. Every business owner probably has a list of prospects and current customers. A female entrepreneur must recognize that the more frequently she communicates with her prospects and customers, the more frequently she’ll be on their minds – increasing the likelihood that they’ll buy from her! Business owners can employ (almost) effortless marketing methods for communicating regularly, such as social networking, blogging and newsletters.
It is common for a business owner to experience a setback within her company. Fortunately, by following specific steps and guidelines, and by using the six cash flow jumpstart strategies listed above, a female entrepreneur can overcome her setbacks and be on her way to living her ideal entrepreneurial type and enjoying her successes.
Michele DeKinder-Smith is the founder and CEO of Jane out of the Box, an online resource dedicated to the women entrepreneur community. Discover more incredibly useful information for running a small business by taking the FREE Jane Types Assessment at Jane out of the Box. Offering networking and marketing opportunities, key resources and mentorship from successful women in business, Jane Out of the Box is online at www.janeoutofthebox.com.