Success is about taking risks--the only obstacle is not knowing where to start. Then, you've got to navigate through all the mixed information out there for women entrepreneurs. Much of the business advice online is either vague or more inspirational than applicable. I’m aiming to change this issue. I've shared my insider experiences with People.com , spoke at universities (including Penn State, Ohio State and MSU) and lead a wellness workshop with Livestrong. Ultimately, my mission is to help fellow female entrepreneurs find their independence.
Although my heart will always be rooted in coaching gymnastics, I love being a coach of life. I know what it’s like to have goals that challenge your comfort zone. I also understand what it's like to deal with roadblocks: few resources, low finances, inexperience or discouragement. Here’s some REAL advice for women entrepreneurs that will fire your drive.
Know when you need help
A jack of all trades is a master of none. Are you trying to do it all? Tackle every aspect of your business, from marketing, strategizing, managing, designing ect? Trying to turn a ten person project into a one-woman-show is a recipe for a mental breakdown. The most successful female entrepreneurs know when it’s time to ease the load and hire outside talent.
Decide on your top two or three strengths and for your weaknesses, hire someone. This person doesn’t have to be an employee; they could simply be a remote contractor you find online. If you’re worried about dipping into your budget, ask yourself this: would you rather save some funds but stay stuck in business mayhem or would you rather reach your goals with the right talent? This decision makes a huge difference in your success and confidence as a woman entrepreneur.
Apply for business grants
Extra funds can plant the seeds of business growth. Since most entrepreneurs, at some point or another, need a money tree, You can get the ball rolling faster with a generous contribution to your cause. We’ve all heard of sites like “Go Fund Me” and “Kickstarter”, but there’s other options too!
Have you applied for any business grants? Apply for multiple grants that relate to your entrepreneurial field, including those dedicated to women entrepreneurs. You might be eligible. Check out this list of Small Business Grants.
Expect the unexpected
Entrepreneurs need to be prepared for the downhill times. The better you can forecast possible problems in your business, the faster you’ll recover and grow again. Sometimes, as a businesswoman with ambition, you’re more of a forward-pusher than a careful planner. Maybe you prefer focusing on your current goals, so you neglect the hypothetical problems. Except, your progress is equally important to planning for your rollbacks.
Many great businesses fail because of unforeseen issues-- over-spending, weak marketing, excess inventory and copycats are all common examples of problems that entrepreneurs fail to prepare for. We must be adaptable to change!
When I began multitasking between social media consulting and coaching, my schedule, home life and daily duties became completely unpredictable! So learning to adapt and roll with the waves is something I have pretty much mastered.
Fill the gaps first, then grow
Every business has room for growth. How can you improve? Consider any weak areas in your business: product quality, ad conversions, customer service, target market, sales, SEO, ect. For every problem, there’s a solution. You just need to understand the root of the problem.
Here’s a great story...
A friend of mine had started an Ecommerce store for organic skincare products, which were truly amazing quality. But surprisingly, she was barely making sales. Assuming it was a marketing issue, she continued spending money on Facebook ads. Yet sales were still low. Eventually, she had to face the real gap in her business: the brand. Although technically, the products were great, other people didn’t see them as special. Why? There are already tons of amazing skincare products out there, so why would consumers switch to hers? She had to accept that her products weren’t unique enough. She had to give them something more special—maybe add a cooler ingredient or packaging.
The lesson here is that when you get stuck in your comfort zone, you can’t reach that next level in your business. Success isn’t always about smooth sailing. It’s okay to disturb the flow and experiment with new improvements. Although you’ll be back to some trial-and-error, your business can grow instead of staying the same.
That’s what business is all about: trial and error! Improvement comes from continually identifying gaps in your business and finding solutions. Keep making adjustments as you go, so your goals are always on the rise. Entrepreneurship is a life-long learning curve that never ends.