Ladies' Launchpad / Kathy McShane
We are told never to make generalizations; however, I can't help myself. In my experience, working with female entrepreneurs, I find many similarities.
Afraid to ask for the order. Women are uncomfortable about asking for the order. Maybe they are afraid of a "no." Prospective clients want to know that you are interested in doing business with them. Conversely, we have to realize that not everyone is our customer. The "nos" can sometimes be a good thing. It helps us to focus on who our target market really is. In the long run, it will save you time and effort.
Lack of sales and marketing skills. Women are not comfortable in a sales role, especially when they are selling themselves or their own brand. Yet most women like to solve problems. So turn the concept of selling around to solving your prospects' problems. Listen to your prospects' challenges, goals and pain points. This gives you the opportunity to show them how your product can solve these problems. Women take a micro approach to marketing. They "test" things and do a little here and a little there. They will run a large ad in a slick magazine because they personally like the publication. Or, they stick only to digital media because it's "free." Market where your prospects are. Try digital, smart targeted print and even radio. Track where your leads are coming from and then you will know what's working.
Not going with your tummy. Women are naturally intuitive. If your tummy is telling you that something is not right, walk away from it.
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One-woman show. Don't put yourself in a position where you are the chief cook and bottle washer. You can't do it all. When I first started my marketing agency, my clients only wanted to work with me. I learned to tell them that I was handing off things to staff members who were much more qualified to do certain things.
Not having enough capital. Some women don't know where to go for funding, a necessary ingredient to growing a business. There are many funding opportunities available. Be sure that you have a sound business and marketing plan. You will not be taken seriously if you don't have this essential road map to follow.
Being a successful entrepreneur takes effort. If you do it properly, you will see the benefits.
Kathy McShane is managing director of Ladies Who Launch, Connecticut. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or ladieswholaunch.com/southwestct. Send your business questions to email@example.com.