28 July 2020

J is for Join

I hope to add to the series more regularly now. The A to Z challenge and writing about woman entrepreneurs. You may read the previous posts here

A is for Ambition

B is for Business Plan

C is for Customer Connection

D is for Distractions

E is for Enterprise Evaluation

F is for Fatigue 

G is for Gratitude

H is for Harmony

I is for Introspection of the Ideal Client



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J is for Join
Women are naturally talented at networking. A mother will connect with other mothers in her child's class to car pool. A wife will ensure that her husband gets dinner, even if she is stuck in a meeting on the other end of town. A daughter will ensure that if she's unable to make it back home to her parents, some friend will step in and help them with whatever needs to be done. 

Women have social groups for all occasions and can build up a fantastic support group along the way to deal with all kinds of contingencies. Just as you have a support group for your family needs, you need a support group for your business. I am not just referring to the people whom you employ as part of your business, but also to other associates who may be able to help you when you need it.

Having a business will automatically put you in competition with other business owners for sales. This does not mean that everyone else is automatically the enemy. In fact, spending time with a person who has already been through what you are just about to experience, can be a real eye opener. One good thing about most women entrepreneurs is that they are always willing to share their journey. So take advantage of their generosity and learn from their mistakes. 

As a new comer into their circle, you will learn a lot from these women. This is why it's important for you to network and join up groups in your area of expertise. Some may meet physically each month, others are simply on a group on a popular social media website. It doesn't matter how and where you connect with them, but make an effort to do so. It will teach you so much simply by listening to their discussions. Ideas, that may not have yet come to you, will begin to flow. You will be able to ask for help with suppliers, book keepers, couriers and so much more. The recommendations you get will be solid and based on personal experience.

The Exercise 

What You Will Need: A positive attitude, a  few groups to join, the ability to share in other's success

Owning a startup is lonely, especially in the beginning when you are the only employee of your business. Trying to get everything done at once can be exhausting. Yet you are not close enough to making the type of profits to be able to hire another person to do some of the work. This is where having a support system of other women entrepreneurs can come in very handy. They will be able to tell you about the girl who is willing to work part time for you. The person who can handle your marketing calls for a conversion fee. The best suppliers for your raw materials and so many more relevant details that can help make your business a true success.

Fear and jealousy can wreck great opportunities to make friends with other women entrepreneurs. If you have a positive attitude, are willing to learn, and are ready to build a relationship based on mutual respect, you will attract the right people to you. One way to begin a good relationship is to approach a person you admire and ask her for tips. You can do this online via a private message. While an occasional person may not respond, many will. 

Now that you have received some tips from them, it's time to create some good karma for them by sharing their posts related to whatever they are selling. You can promote their event or workshop on your social media pages. Be sure to add a tag to them so that they know you have done it. Eventually you may build up a relationship where you meet up in person. If you have questions related to taking your business forward, ask them their opinion. Having a different perspective can make a huge difference to the success of your business.

Having a group of women entrepreneurs, who may not be exactly selling what you do, can be a good opportunity to cross sell each other's products and services. You can come up with offer coupons for each other's businesses for existing customers during the holiday season. It will be a mutually beneficial scheme. Besides the help that it can provide for your business, having a group like this can be excellent for exposing you to different people from varied backgrounds. It will help you grow as a person as well. Eventually you will have a community of like-minded people who grow together as they share their experiences.



24 July 2020

I is for Introspection of the Ideal Client

Continuing the series, after a bit of a longish break. The A to Z challenge and writing about woman entrepreneurs. You may read the previous posts here.

A is for Ambition


B is for Business Plan


C is for Customer Connection


D is for Distractions


E is for Enterprise Evaluation

F is for Fatigue 

G is for Gratitude

H is for Harmony


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I is for Introspection of the Ideal Client
Having a good idea is not the same as having a successful business. You may have done a lot to develop your idea, design and produce your products and services, but that does not guarantee financial success. You can't sell to the world. You must know that what you are creating in your business is a solution to a problem. A problem that is faced by a specific set of people. Now you need to identify those people in order to sell to them effectively. Introspection is a great way to reach your Ideal Client. 

Your business is not meant for everyone. There are specific people whom you wish to target as clients. Now think about the reason you thought up about this business. At that time you had a certain person in mind. This is the person who would love to buy what you offer in your products and services. What are the features of this person? Think of the demographics, is it a man or a woman? Are they young teenagers or young professionals in their twenties? Is it stay at home mothers in the thirties or mid life crisis fathers in their forties? Are they living in the big cities or the smaller towns? 

Your business may be targeting more than one demographic. However there will be a thread of commonality that ties all of these potential customers together. To figure that out ask yourself a few questions when you introspect about your idea client. Here's a list to get your started. Feel free to add more questions that apply to your business in specific.

  • What are values of your ideal customer? 
  • What are they passionate about?
  • Where do they work?
  • What do they do for fun?
  • What are they interested in learning?
  • Why would they be interested in your business?
  • What qualities are they looking for in your products and services?
The more in-depth you get, the more clarity you will have about who you wish to target as an ideal client. Once you have the ideal client defined, it's time to get in touch with them. The best place to start is online. Offer content on a blog which they would relate to. Get on to the social media platforms that they are likely to frequent and speak about your business. It's time to bring the attention of your ideal client to the existence of your business and how it can help them.

The Exercise 

What You Will Need: Time to Develop the Blueprint for your Ideal Customer, Developing the Right Relationship with them

Using the questions that have been set down above, try and create the blueprint for the ideal client. Get inside the head of the person who will be happy to buy from you. What would they like or dislike? How are they likely to shop from you? Will they prefer online shopping or would they rather hold the product in their hands first before buying it? For instance, if your product is handmade and environmentally friendly, think of the people who would appreciate these features. It would be someone who values saving the environment, may be into protecting animals, could be interested in tree plantation drives, and so on. 

Now think of the events where you may bump into these people in real life and speak with them about your products of services. You can book a stall at such an event and connect with potential clients by distributing free samples and your business cards. You may not be able to attend meetings and exhibitions on a regular basis, but getting out in the market will help your business. The second way to stay in touch with potential clients is to get the social media and online presence of your business going.

In order for you to connect with your ideal customer, you need to send out a consistent message to them. Your social media posts should have a commonality of theme running through them which links it back to the backbone of your business. Your customers should  be able to identify what you sell easily. They should value what they buy from you enough to share it with their friends through word of mouth. Each time they shop from you, they should have a similar and satisfying experience. The customer service that you extend to them will also go a long way in harnessing their customer loyalty, not to mention their praise to friends.

Keep a track of any mistakes or mishaps that have occurred with a customer. Ensure that they do not happen again. There can be miscommunication regarding offers, so ensure that your marketing material is clearly defined. Your knowledge of the profile of the Ideal Client should also be able to help you judge what their budget is likely to be. So when you design your products keep that in mind as well. Even if a product solves a problem, the ideal client may not want to purchase it, should it prove to be too expensive for their tastes.

31 January 2020

H is for Harmony

Yes, it's been a while and I agree the challenge ended in April, but I can't seem to give up on this series. So I'm going to continue on my own pace and complete the list. May take a while, but thanks for sticking with me and reading.
The A to Z challenge and writing about woman entrepreneurs. You may read the previous posts here.

A is for Ambition


B is for Business Plan


C is for Customer Connection


D is for Distractions


E is for Enterprise Evaluation

F is for Fatigue 
 
G is for Gratitude




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H is for Harmony

An uneasy mind does not function as well as one which is in harmony with the natural cycle of the world. The struggle and obsession with balance is often dis-empowering. Instead look for the harmony in natural cycles. As a startup requires a considerable amount of attention, the general harmony in the life of a woman entrepreneur is disturbed.  Her own needs take a back seat, and other duties and responsibilities take over her life.

Instead of having fixed times for work and play, it becomes a mad rush to get all manners of work done before some personally set deadline. Family time and family life is totally disrupted. Personal time ceases to exist. All that seems to happen is one task after the other, with no breathing space in between. Where once she thought that owning her own business would be easier than working on a schedule for someone else, she realizes that being her own boss is rarely fun and even more demanding than working for an external boss.

The balancing act of trying to do everything required at home by the family, and trying to do right with her own business can leave the woman totally out of sync with her own priorities. Everything that comes across her plate is urgent, it may not necessarily be important, but the urgency burns away the desire to sit down and think the actions through. Needless to say, in place of the balance that she so desperately desires, she ends up with anxiety and stress that threaten her health and the well being of her business venture.

Hunting for the harmony that will allow her to work in peace and still be the best wife and mother can take work. This is where having Standard Operating Procedures or SOPs will help. In order to set up these SOPs, the woman entrepreneur needs to sit down and work things through in her own mind first. Then implement it with a ruthlessness that shows everyone that she means business. Convincing herself is important, because without the conviction of her own thoughts there is no way she will be able to convince her family or her business team.

The Exercise 

What You Will Need: A comprehensive list of all your responsibilities, the actions you need to take, and clarity of thought. (Yes a paper and pen as well)

The first thing you need to do is write down the responsibilities you have in different areas of your life. Both as a entrepreneur and as a family member. Once you have these jotted down, focus on the actions that each of these responsibilities requires for you to take. For instance as a mother, you may be required to look into your children's education. As a business owner you may need to procure some raw material for your final product. And so on.

You should now have a second list. This one is of the actions that are required to keep every area of your life running harmoniously. Allowing you to achieve the balance that you strive for. Consider each action that you need to take. Do you need to do everything physically by yourself, or is it possible to get someone else to help you with it? Can a tutor help with monitoring your children's homework? Yes. Can you hire someone to shop for raw material for you? Maybe not, if you need to see all options available before making a choice.

So go through your list of actions. Against each action that you can find a way to delegate, now mark a D. Also add the names of people who can perform this action instead of you. Decide if you need more staff to help you or if family members need to pitch in. This is a simple and effective way of freeing up your time so that you can focus on tasks that only you can do.

Think of all your marketing plan steps. Do you need to handle everything yourself? No, you don't. It is possible to get a virtual assistant to help with some aspects of the business. If you feel you can't hire anyone as of now due to monetary constraints, think about recruiting people from your family or friend circle. You can always find help when you have clarity of thought about what you wish to achieve.

27 June 2019

G is for Gratitude

Moving ahead, albeit a bit slower than intended. The A to Z challenge and writing about woman entrepreneurs.
You may read the previous posts here.

A is for Ambition


B is for Business Plan


C is for Customer Connection


D is for Distractions


E is for Enterprise Evaluation

F is for Fatigue

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G is for Gratitude 
Stress and anxiety are the natural companions of entrepreneurship. There's always a new challenge to be met, or an old problem without an obvious solution niggling at you. If you don't take care, you will find that these unavoidable thoughts begin a downward spiral in your energy. Your well of enthusiasm and motivation will begin to dry up as you begin fighting phantoms that you have no hope of defeating.

The fastest way for a business to fail is if the entrepreneur is not totally present. Working on auto pilot is not the formula for success. There will always be battles for you to win, and challenges for you to master. This may be done in private as long as you keep your well full with gratitude. The gratitude you express may be shared publicly. Giving you a positive point to focus your thoughts on throughout the day.

There are many ways to express gratitude and here I share some of my favourites. The writing down of each thing during the day that you feel grateful for is by far the most powerful exercise. It ensures that you stay on the positive thinking side. It keeps you aware of the many blessings that strolled in to your day, each day. It makes you feel content, satisfied and supported by the Universe.

Another way is to express gratitude through charity. You know you have been blessed by abundance, and you are happy to share it with those who are less fortunate that you. This is perhaps the best way you can give thanks to the abundant Universe. It also sets the Law of Attraction in motion towards giving you more, so that you may give away more with joy. 

As an entrepreneur you may also think about a client you may have helped and how that incident lifted your spirits. You could also have your clients talk about things that they feel grateful for on your social media page. Think about dedicating a gratitude practice to a cause. For instance people often give away their services or products to those in need at a discount or even pro-bono.

The Exercise 

What You Will Need:  A pretty journal and different coloured pens 

I usually prefer to get a journal that is not dated, as despite the best of intentions it can be difficult to write down the list everyday. I am currently using a spiral bound notebook of a large size and highly recommend it. On the first page of the journal write down your name in bold calligraphy. Around it you can write down the primary areas of your life such as 
  • Body and Health
  • Career and Professional Development
  • Family and Relationships
  • Travel and Fun
  • Money and Financial Growth
  • Personal and Spiritual Development
These serve as reminders when you are writing your gratitude points each day. At times you may feel stuck about what to write, in which case reading these points can make you immediately think of what you can give thanks for you in your life.

On the left side of the journal I write down ten things that happened during the day that I am grateful for. This is essentially Gratitude Expression. On the right side of the journal I write down things that I wish would happen, things that I would be happy expressing gratitude for. It could be from any area of my life. This is Gratitude Intention.

Periodically I will find something on the Gratitude Intention list coming true. That day I write in of the Gratitude Expression side. The next day I may choose to add something new to the Gratitude Intention list or just continue working it the way it is. In a way, you are keeping track of your goals and accomplishing them, all from a space of gratitude.

You may choose to share gratitude lists once a week related to your business related activities on your social media accounts. This helps send out positive vibes about your business and allows you to thank both clients and suppliers who may have helped you out. Everyone loves being appreciated for the good that they have done!

15 April 2019

F is for Fatigue

Onward we go in this series of 26 posts. Although it speaks to Women Entrepreneurs, I hope it will help anyone who is thinking of setting up their own business.
You may read the previous posts here.

A is for Ambition 


B is for Business Plan


C is for Customer Connection


D is for Distractions

E is for Enterprise Evaluation

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F is for Fatigue

If  it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Being an entrepreneur is not easy. Building up your own business from scratch takes time, effort, money and the ability to stay strong during the slow periods and transitions. For a woman entrepreneur starting from scratch it can be quite challenging to keep her focus on growing the business, especially when she has to constantly split her attention between the business and her other responsibilities to home and family.

One reason why so many start ups of women entrepreneurs fail within the first year, is the fatigue that hits them trying to do the balancing act. This can be crippling when the family members do not support her efforts. Experiencing a few road blocks when you run a business is normal. It is to be expected, so don't think that you have failed. Now is when you need to pull up your socks and decide what you need to do differently going forward.

Trying to do everything together is not a good idea. The focus would change each day based on your priorities. Some day it may be more important to sit with your  child and get them to learn the Pythagoras theorem, than to call up potential customers and discuss your new discount offer. No two days are ever the same in the life of an entrepreneur. You will always have many balls in the air and you need to become proficient in juggling them.

At the same time you need to learn to take care of yourself and your personal needs. Everything hinges on you. Your home, your family, your business, it all runs on your personal energy. If you are running yourself ragged, nothing is going to go well. You need to not just prioritize but also delegate the non essential tasks to someone you trust to do a good job. Killing yourself trying to do it all, is simply not recommended. 
The Exercise 

What You Will Need: Time to rest and introspect

Have you reached a point where nothing you do seems to give you happiness. That all things seem to be dragging you down? The first thing to do is to give yourself a well deserved break. This can be in the form of a day of self pampering. If you can hand over the duties of your daily responsibilities to your spouse or another trusted adult, just physically remove yourself from the home and do things that bring you a sense of joy. 

The day's break will rejuvenate you. Plus once the day of rest is over you will be eager to get back to the main work that has been bothering you. Consider the recent failures to meet your goals. You need to analyze what is going wrong. You know that you are trying to do your best, however are you actually being able to consistently give your business your best? 

Are you connecting with your clients and building a relationship with them? The idea here is not to sell them things, but to help them. As soon as you begin to make a difference in their lives, they will be happy to buy from you. 

Think about both external and internal factors that are holding you back from your success. Internal factors will include your own attitude, your level of motivation and the energy you bring to the work. External factors will include time wasters in the form of chores and people, responsibilities that you can't circumnavigate, business trends and the economy in general.

If it's beyond your control, don't dwell on changing it. Think of how you can work with it. If it's in your control, what are you waiting for? Just drift it over to what you want instead of what you are making do with. Here are some things to think about and take action on.

  • Setting the Right Intention for YOU!
  • Connecting with your clients in a helpful manner, to them.
  • Having proper promotion techniques and following them up.
  • Help with your administrative duties related to the business.
  • Regular analysis of the business in a month, quarter, half year and annually.
  • Work out what things need to change and how you will bring about the change based on this analysis.