As business models have changed with the growth of internet based service & technology, so have the unique issues encountered by women in business. We’ve looked at five stand out challenges facing women in business in the West- and are daring to suggest some ways to overcome these.
Challenge 1: Lack of Cash Flow
Even the most brilliant business plan will fail without sufficient cash flow. Simply put, cash flow can be loosely defined as “cash in” (as generated by revenue) and “cash out” (to pay the expenses incurred to achieve “cash in.” Inadequate cash flow can stifle a business into failure.
Let’s just get real… your creditors, employees or suppliers don’t care about your cash flow issues. They just want the pay cheque on time.
Solutions: Winning the lottery is perhaps the best option – but after that, to correct cash flow issues its worth taking a look at all facets of the balance sheet and income statement. Is there a lag time between the time you have to pay your creditors, suppliers and employees and when you collect from your customers? If so, you must pinpoint the problem areas and take necessary steps to correct them.
Four ways to manage your cash flow:
- Open a line of credit. A line of credit is a standard service provided by many banks and credit unions that serve small businesses. Your banker can best discuss the benefits of a business line of credit.
- Offer several payment options to your clients, such as EFT or pay pal.
- Track your receivables. Have a collection process in place so that you have a protocol to handle aging invoices.
Challenge 2: Undefined Niche
To Niche or Not to Niche…that is the question! A business with an undefined niche is bound to have a harder time. Creating a niche business allows you to market to your ideal clients.
Solution: Understanding who and where your ideal customers are makes it easier market to them.
Challenge 3: No Social Media Plan
Random tweets and meandering Facebook posts will result in a lot of time devoted to zero results. Before making another useless post, sit down with pen and paper and make a list of what you want to achieve from social media. To which social media do you belong? What are some social media marketing strategies that you have noticed from other companies? What do you have that will offer value? You may find that your company is spread a little too thin across the social media spectrum. Quality truly is superior to quantity in this respect.
Solutions: Create a social media marketing plan and stay the long haul. Establishing a strong presence can be a very time consuming process. It is unwise to expect your list of followers or subscribers to grow overnight.
Challenge 4: No Strategic Plan (after years in business)
Without a strategic plan, a business can become stagnant rather than focusing on long-term goals. Successful businesses recognize the critical need for strategic planning and it is an ongoing process – it is never finished.
Solutions: An effective strategic planning process allows small businesses to take control of their future and stay focused on the essential areas that will result in sustained periods of growth and success.
This list of challenges is far from exhaustive- what other challenges do you think female start ups & business owners face today that impede growth? We’d love to hear from you.