Women entrepreneurs inherently have stronger skills than men in key areas. The keys to success for business women are to plan well, create the right balance, persevere and have the right support system.
Women are more organized than men in financial and other administrative matters, said a former longtime business associate in Washington state.
However, he cited a typical weakness for many women.
Generally, women are too empathetic to customers. That’s according to the late Neil Delisanti, a highly valued friend and associate who passed away in 2018. He was retired as a counselor with the Small Business Development Center, and as a business professor at University of Puget Sound and The Evergreen State College.
So here are 11 strategic and confidence-building tips:
1. Evaluate your personal and professional talent.
This requires the ability to look objectively at your skills and interests.
“Tell women entrepreneurs they’ll encounter major competition,” said Mr. Delisanti.
“Advise them to assess their strengths and weaknesses to determine their competitive advantages, and to develop operating strategies,” he added.
(As for his latter point on operating strategies, you can find dozens of strategies for operations here.)
2. Find a successful woman to mentor you.
This will be an important part of your support system. The best investment in yourself is a great mentor. Successful people know they can’t hold onto their success if they don’t give away information by sharing.
In the best-selling book, “The Millionaire Mind,” by Dr. Thomas J. Stanley revealed several traits of millionaires. One important statistic from his study of millionaires: They were successful largely thanks to supportive spouses who help minimize work-related stress.
3. Choose something you love.
If you’re passionate about an idea, it won’t feel like work to you. You’ll love waking up to your business operation every day. You’re more likely to strive as much as required for your business to succeed.
But don’t allow paralysis to creep into your analysis. If you have a great idea, don’t get stuck in first gear.
4. Trust your gut instincts but use due diligence.
Certainly by now you’ve developed enough strategic information, and you’ve had enough life experiences to make important decisions, especially if you’ve had the competitive advantage of a great mentor. It also helps to keep an open mind.
However, be forewarned: Launching a new business just might be the most challenging experience you’ll ever face. And you’ll encounter a roller coaster ride – there are ups and downs in business, and you’ll have decisions to make.
There are nine dos and don’ts for best decision-making which are applicable in three ways: Whether you have difficulty making the best decisions, engage in self doubt after making one, or are gun shy because some of your decisions have failed you.
That often includes when and how to cut costs – so you need to avoid making reactionary decisions.
5. Write a business plan.
You don’t want to launch a business without good planning. Depending on your business, you might not have to write a complete business plan. A vision plan will suffice.
You will have to write a business plan if you’re really ambitious and will be seeking funds. Banks, even through the Small Business Administration don’t lend money for startups without sufficient collateral, and they won’t for existing businesses just to fund their operations expenses.
Perhaps you’ve heard about crowdfunding, which is a vehicle to help entrepreneurs raise money. However, crowdfunding is remarkably similar to venture capital funding.
Whatever your entrepreneurial dreams, focusing on the right details is a skill conducive for setting goals strategically. However, if you don’t ponder enough on action-oriented details, goals are difficult to achieve.
That’s really true in our new economy in which ever-increasing change makes for surprises in a dynamic marketplace. To set goals, you will need to alleviate uncertainty by using best practices.
6. Be tightfisted with cash.
Cash flow is the dynamic that leads to the failure or success of a business. Whether your new company’s performance is stagnant or you’re growing quickly, cash flow will always be paramount. So strive to increase your startup’s cash flow.
It makes sense for you to organically grow your startup. You probably don’t have another choice.
In other words, assuming you don’t have an angel investor or you’re not independently wealthy, or are able to purchase an expensive franchise, bootstrapping is your likely remaining option. You’ll have to organically grow your business.
7. Learn business budgeting for maximum performance.
For entrepreneurs, often the most difficult part of launching a business is preparing financial projections. It may not be the most enjoyable task, but budgeting is imperative for maximizing performance.
“Eight out of 10 companies fail in the first two years due to insufficient cash,” warns esteemed financial consultant Roni Fischer. She warns micro businesses to use the budgeting basics.
Focus on pricing – don’t make the mistake of trying to sell at the lowest price – you won’t be successful. Know what drives your profit.
8. Stay focused on your niche by targeting the right customers.
Learn their needs and wants and provide the right products and services.
But do it economically. Consider the wisdom of Theodore Roosevelt: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” So be thrifty in marketing.
9. Build key relationships.
Whether you hire someone to perform certain tasks or you buy products to sell or for use in your business, consider such people as “centers of influence.” Spend time in sales and networking to build strong relationships.
They should be part of your strategies to get top results from your marketing plan.
10. Leverage the power of the Internet.
As you no doubt know, the digital age has brought new challenges and opportunities. Best practices are critical to optimize your brand and manage your Web reputation.
11. Continually seek ways to be universally known as empathetic.
To attract the right attention, look for people who need help. It will require an investment of time but not necessarily cash.
For example, introduce people to help each other or volunteer, and remember two important trends applicable for you: Branding and selling your business as green, and increasing sales by double-digit percentages with cause-related marketing.
From the Coach’s Corner, more tips:
8 Tips for Moms Who Want to be Entrepreneurs from Home — So, you have a job and would like to fire your boss to work at home. It’s not for everyone, but for many moms being an entrepreneur is a great idea.
Communication – You Can Train Yourself to Stop Stressing — Feeling pressure is one thing but allowing it to morph into stress and tension means you’re giving away your power, which inhibits your performance.
Protect Your Bank Accounts So You Can Sleep at Night — Small business bank accounts are at-risk. Cybercriminal attacks are skyrocketing, and business bank accounts are not insured by the FDIC.
When Should You Develop an Exit Strategy? Now…Here’s How — You should always have an exit strategy in place – no matter what. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a veteran business owner, you should always have an exit strategy.
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and not a follower.”