Top 5 Challenges Faced By Women In Business And The Solutions!

Both career women and those in business have faced many obstacles in past decades and unfortunately, still today. Women in the workforce have battled glass ceilings, unequal pay for equal production and undeserved stereotypical barriers. As business prototypes have changed with the advent and growth of the internet, so have the unique issues encountered by women in business. Below are five of these challenges and solutions to overcome and achieve success.

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 woes. They want to be paid in a timely manner!

Solution:To simplify this problem, as well as correct it, 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 quick solutions to manage your cash flow:

  • Consider factoring. In factoring, a business owner sells accounts receivable at a discount to a third-party funding source that pays invoices immediately. Chris Lehres, a loan officer for Versant Funding says, “A wide range of companies in a multitude of industries, including some with a negative net worth, that are losing money, and often even companies in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy are eligible for factoring services.”
  • 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 Electronic Funds Transfer (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. What is a niche? A niche business is one that targets a very specific group of people with specific shared interest. A business with an undefined niche is like a ship sailing in shallow water.

By creating a niche business allows you to market to your ideal clients. For example, if you were a behavioral psychologist targeting teens, you would market your services in places where parents are likely to find out about you; such as advertising in parent magazines, providing resources to local middle and high schools or joining organizations geared towards parents.

Solution: By understanding who and where your ideal customers are; it is easy to craft a marketing plan to target them.

Here are three easy ways to target your potential clients:

  • Improve your website’s SEO with specific key words.
  • Generate exposure locally and virtually with professional speaking, seminars or publishing a book or articles.
  • Craft a clear message that speak at the heart of your customer.

Challenge 3: Not Understanding the Power of Referral Marketing

For years, the mantra for success in marketing was “cold calling.” Today, we know that cold calling is ineffectual, especially when compared to referral marketing. Referral marketing is promoting your business through referrals and word of mouth networking to more effectively gain sales.

When comparing referral marketing to cold calling, think of it as sowing grass seed. It is much easier to grow grass from seeds if you know how fertile the ground is. You can scatter a handful of seeds over a wide area of dirt and some of it may, or may not, take root.

Solution: Find others with whom to network and collaborate to gain sales. For instance, if your business sells cars, you might collaborate with a local automobile service company with the result that the purchase of a car includes a certificate for a free oil change from the car servicing business. Both businesses benefit and just increased the likelihood for repeat business.

Challenge 4: 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.

Solution: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 fans, followers or subscribers to grow overnight.

Challenge 5: No Strategic Plan (after 3 years in business)

Without a strategic plan, a business can become stagnant in the mire of what is immediately going on, 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.

Solution: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. Here are six tips to help you in the planning process:

  • Assess the Current Business Environment
  • Focus on Important (SWOT) Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
  • Define (or Redefine) the Company’s Mission and Goals
  • Start with An End In Mind
  • Establish Mini Milestones
  • Plan for Follow Through

As you can see, there are many hurdles that can cause women to fail in business; nevertheless, many solutions to prevent failure from happening. These are my top 5 challenges; what other challenges do you think women face today?

Start Up Businesses And Online Marketing

It is a rather unfortunate fact that today’s businesses are facing one of the most difficult economic times in history. As a result of the historic double dip recession, a banking culture on the verge of collapse and the ever growing EU crisis businesses of all sizes and of all industries are now forced to do whatever it takes in order to survive.

Marketing has long since been the forefront of the commercial industry; a chance for businesses to expand their brand, grow their customer base and come out on top amongst their competitors; in short, marketing allows for longevity and ultimate survival. Naturally as technology and the internet are now the forefront of today’s society; it is now online marketing that holds the key to success and why internet marketing consultants are constantly thrusting the terms search engine optimisation and pay per click at any and all business they come across.

In a world where over fifty per cent of the population now head directly to Google when in search of a product or service; it is only natural to state that a website is a must have tool however, as online marketing grows in popularity the internet is now a competitive arena and hence why many businesses are now choosing to undertake SEO strategies and PPC campaigns that, when implemented correctly can ensure the business achieves a desirable ranking position for profitable keywords. By ensuring a website and an overall online presence is fully optimised with the profitable industry keywords, today’s businesses are improving their chances at achieving growth in an otherwise futile economy however if readily established businesses are only just embracing online marketing when should a new business jump on the bandwagon? The honest answer, is from the moment the business idea is born.

Between ten and five years ago, a website was a sufficient extra tool to aid business growth however, in today’s growing society it is ultimately the difference between success and failure and thus why, any start up business of any size must have this in mind and be ready and willing to build an online footprint from word go. A strong website must be ready to target your online customers however, pretty designs aside it can only do so with the assistance of SEO.

Do not wait to face a struggle before implementing SEO; in fact for any start up business, SEO services should be considered from the moment of design conception. Images, layout, design, usability, loading time and content must all be created with SEO in mind in order create the ideal user experience and in effect the ideal, search perfect website. Whilst waiting for a website to launch, a company could begin establishing an online presence through external blogs, guest blogging and a social media presence on sites including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn; these can be ideal to create a ‘buzz’ and now that social media sites play an ever important role in Google’s search algorithm; there could not be a better place to begin.

A start up business is in effect bringing something new to the table and that is what SEO is all about; whatever your product or service may be, new or old, a start up will have a great deal more flexibility. The end goal of search engine optimisation is to increase the number of people arriving at a site and is a method that may not only work alone but alongside external marketing measures and with strong keyword targeting, site structure and content targeting, the potential to enhance growth is ready from the onset and in fact, gives a start up a far better chance than a current, long standing business.

SEO in a start up business is most definitely a foregone conclusion, if not to work alone and put the start up at an advantage but to work alongside external marketing measures. Do not get us wrong, the implementation of an SEO strategy is always difficult whether the business be they new or old however, no business should wait till they end up facing struggle before they take action; SEO can provide a real level of growth from the word go; why wait any longer?

Small Business And Recycling: Go Green To Make Some Green

I am passionate about recycling. This passion started as a hobby and has led to the beginning of my small business. Since my business is hauling, appliance removal, and computer recycling it is paramount that everything I do is green so I have spent a lot of time doing exactly that. Something I learned quickly is that there are many little habits that are easy to implement that will begin to show big savings. I am not advocating changing your entire business model to accommodate recycling. My goal is to promote recycling in a way that is beneficial to the environment and the small business owner.

An easy and inexpensive step to take would be obtaining smart power strips or surge protectors for your computers. A smart power strip will recognize when the computer is shut off or in sleep mode and shut off any accessories connected to that computer. If you have an office full of computers this will cut your energy usage which will lower utility expenses. Take a look around the office and consider if there are any other ways to cut energy usage. Is your air conditioning set at 68 degrees all weekend while the office is empty? A programmable thermostat will fix that. The savings will be small at first but will quickly add up. Small and inexpensive efforts to cut energy usage will cut utility expenses. Who can argue with lower expenses?

The growing trend today is for companies to market themselves as green. It is important to note that if you are going to market your business as a green business then by all means you should make every reasonable effort to be green. If your business is to dump toxic waste into rivers then please stop reading this and go jump in that river. Do not ask me for a paddle. If you can make that reasonable effort and you advertise to that market you will see more customers. In my experience, customers who have as one of their criteria that a business be environmentally friendly those customers tend to be very loyal. Have you checked your competition? If your biggest competitors are marketing themselves as a green company then you are losing customers and do not even know it. If they are not then here is a chance to gain an advantage. Let’s face it; going green is good for business.

A very effective method of announcing to the community that you are a green business is to have an E-waste recycling day at your business for your employees and the local community. You will need to establish a relationship with a local computer recycling company to help coordinate. You may even be able to get your city recycling center to help. A press release to your local newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations will help you get the word out. The advertising expenses will be minimal and the E-waste recycling company will do the heavy lifting. You have introduced yourself to a plethora of new customers.

It is essential to consider the importance of recycling when running a successful small business. The good recycling habits you practice now will lead to lower expenses and more loyal customers.