Women-owned businesses are a key driver in the US economy, generating $1.8 trillion a year and employing over 9.4 million people. This is despite the numerous challenges that female-led businesses face such as gender bias, barriers to accessing funding, fewer networking opportunities, and systemic inequalities.
For those reasons, it is less likely that a woman-owned business will survive past the 5-year mark than their male-led competition. Below are five key tips to help ensure that your company doesn’t just survive, but thrives in the years to come.
Adapt to your customers’ needs
Especially during the pandemic, we saw how important it was for businesses to adapt to their customers’ changing behavior and needs. Many companies that resisted change went out of business. Work to understand your customers’ pains and frustrations, and provide solutions that will be in demand. Take an honest assessment of your company’s product and service offerings, and be willing to pivot if the marketplace warrants it.
Plan for the future
Whether you are just launching your business or feel like it has stalled out a bit, you should take the time and effort to build a business plan. Going through this process will not only help you describe how your business will run, the products and services you will offer, and what sets you apart; it will also empower you to map out goals and plan how you will achieve those goals. A solid business plan can act as a roadmap to guide you forward, and is also a helpful tool in obtaining new investors or acquiring financing.
Spread the word
Sometimes, new business owners get so caught up in the actual operations of the business that they neglect to properly market and advertise. Your prospects need to know that your company exists and how to find you. Be sure to leverage multiple channels such as social media, online advertising, local events, blog posts, press releases, sponsorships, networking groups, and more to increase your visibility and spread the word.
Ask for help
Women often feel the pressure to prove themselves or do everything on their own, but this is not the path to success. Be willing to seek help from others, whether that means asking for advice from a mentor, requesting introductions to potential clients or partners, delegating or automating time-consuming tasks that aren’t the best use of your time, or seeking financial help.
Join a supportive networking group
According to Inc., 48% of female entrepreneurs feel that a lack of supporters, advisors, and mentors limits their professional growth. Combat this by joining female-focused networking groups, like Valley’s Women in Business program, which connects and empowers professional women by providing networking and educational opportunities that enrich the professional lives of women. Women in Business collaborates with thought leaders in the community and fosters connections between members by hosting social and educational events that provide opportunities for growth, learning and networking.