Women-owned businesses are becoming more popular across the country. Many people even use it as a marketing point. Unfortunately, statistically, women-owned businesses are more likely to fail.
That failure isn’t necessarily the result of anything you’re doing wrong. You might have a great product or service, a good marketing strategy, and hard-working employees. However, as the head of a woman-owned business, there are unique challenges you’ll likely have to overcome to truly achieve success.
Let’s take a look at a few strategies you can put into practice to reach that success and enjoy the fruits of your labor for many years to come.
1. Become Certified
Getting certified as a women-owned business is a great place to start if you want to be taken seriously. Again, many female business owners are using that kind of certification as a marketing point. People want to support female-led businesses and becoming certified shows that you want to be taken seriously.
Currently, there are two certification options women in business should consider:
- Women-Owned Small Business (WOSM): To qualify for this certification, at least 51% of your company needs to be owned by a woman, and a woman needs to operate day-to-day operations.
- Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB): If you live in a disadvantaged population, this certification can help you with access to resources that can help your business grow. The qualifications are a bit strict, including income and asset-based criteria that must be met.
Becoming certified can boost your business in a variety of ways. Not only will you appeal to a greater target audience, but certification can offer you eligibility for things like government contracts and programs that can help you thrive.
2. Embrace Sustainability
Today’s average consumer wants to support companies with values. More people than ever are switching to sustainable products and companies, and it’s important that your business creates a plan that allows you to establish a small carbon footprint. Having brand values is a great way to make your business seem more human and to connect with your audience by sharing the same beliefs and concerns that they have.
There are countless strategies you can put in place to foster a sustainable business, including:
- Responsible sourcing
- Training employees to implement “green” policies
- Using eco-friendly packaging
- Reducing waste
You can also use technology to your advantage. Things like data personalization can help you hone in on exactly who your target audience is and what they want. When you have more detailed information about your customers, you can minimize waste and energy consumption through more accurate production planning.
3. Stay True to Brand Values
Sustainability is just one brand value people are looking for in a responsible business. Your values shouldn’t be marketing ploys or things put in place to “look good.” Instead, think about what you truly want your business to stand for and make those values known. When you choose to stand by them no matter what, your consumers will develop a more secure, trusting relationship with you.
Those relationships are what lead to better loyalty and word-of-mouth advertising.
Keep in mind that not all of your brand values have to be major declarations. While supporting sustainability is great, your internal brand values are just as important for your employees and customers alike.
Your brand values might include things like transparency, freedom, respect, and winning as a team. Decide what’s important to you from the start, and don’t waver from those truths no matter how successful you become.
4. Join Women-Entrepreneur Groups
Even though female-owned businesses are on the rise, it can still feel somewhat isolating if you’re new to the business world and dealing with common challenges like low self-confidence, financial issues, or market saturation.
One of the best things you can do for your business and your own peace of mind is to join a few entrepreneur groups with women at the helm. These groups can help you make connections with other women in business. It’s a fantastic way to network, learn a few tricks of the trade, tap into resources, and boost your creativity.
Plus, if you’re struggling with low self-esteem about your business, these groups can help you feel supported and uplifted, and potentially reignite your passion for what you do. If you can’t find any women-entrepreneur groups near you, consider looking online. While it’s not exactly the same thing as attending a group in person, being a part of a digital forum makes it easy to ask questions and connect with people from all over the world and get your questions answered almost immediately.
There are so many perks to being a female entrepreneur. From financial independence to following your passion and surrounding yourself with positive people, you get to be in control of your business’s future. Don’t let statistics keep you from reaching the success your business deserves. Keep these strategies in mind to lead your business into the future while avoiding some common pitfalls women often face as they get started.
By Indiana Lee, BOSS contributor