Women-owned businesses seem to be on the rise, and there's no reason 2020 should be any different despite of the drastic changes that are happening right now. There are many ways that women can strengthen their businesses even during these incredibly difficult times. Well, they all say, "You can be successful if you put in the necessary work and have patience, drive, and focus." But it's stupidly easier said than done. People who actually repeat positive-but-empty statements like that are just trying to get themselves motivated other than anyone else. With all that said, I can think of the following are five ways women-owned businesses can thrive in this strange year.
1. Supplier-Diversity Programs
A business that is owned by more than 51 percent of women, or any other group of people who aren't represented in business, can get some help from the government. All you have to do is apply and get certified to participate in a government supplier-diversity program. That's all you have to do, but I don't actually know how you get started. Apparently, these programs are offered by your local government and the state, so you can contact them and find it out yourself.
Research these programs online to see what documentation or steps are needed in order to qualify. Don’t be afraid to reach out even just to find out more about what exactly you would qualify for. You can get federal help if needed as well. Applying for these programs could help you not only thrive, but also help you stay afloat during a crisis. If there has ever been a year where crisis assistance has been necessary, then this is that year.
2. Reaching Outside the Border
The United States may offer a lot of customers, but if you look outside these borders, you will see there's a whole world out there that has money to spend. The internet has opened the world up for women-owned businesses. Obviously, I'm talking about the countries where our standard of equality exists. There are still countries such as where female genital mutations occur. The governments are disgrace, they should be prosecuted from our civilized point of view. I'm not talking about those countries, I'm talking about English speaking countries where equality is established.
By sharing that you are a woman-owned business in your marketing and on your website, this can help with getting that extra support as you expand your business.
If you are going to be trying to reach folks outside of the country, make sure you create content that caters to international audiences. Do extensive research into what will sell in different areas of the world. This can greatly help your sales. You also want to make sure you consider shipping. Online buyers expect a good deal on shipping, so make sure your business can provide this or at least some sort of coupon.
3. Remote Work is Vital
2020 has shown all businesses how important remote work is. It is important that you actually invest in this type of technology so that your employees can work from home, if needed. This can save you a lot of money in overhead as well.
Working from a regular establishment has been challenging for many folks during the crisis that hit everyone this year. A business can use this opportunity to reconsider investing so much in a physical location and instead put that money to other uses. A smaller office or no office at all could free up a lot of cash and help women-owned businesses thrive even more than one could have imagined.
Many people prefer to work from home anyways. Allowing your employees to work in their preferred environment can increase productivity as well. If you choose to go this route, it is a good idea to make sure every employee has access to a reliable internet and has a good computer at home to complete all the work tasks needed without delays.
4. Outsourcing Tedious Tasks
One business aspect that stifles growth is tedious work. These are little tasks and assignments your team needs to do every day that doesn't require much creativity but is still time-consuming. Because of this, you and your talented team don't have time to create the next big thing or work on important projects.
If you want your business as well as your self existence as a woman to grow in 2020, you need to make sure you consider outsourcing tedious tasks that will save you a lot of time, depending on what you do. For example, if you are in the medical field, chances are you will want to outsource billing to a company with reliable medical billing software. Outsourcing tasks such as shipping, billing, marketing, and IT services will free up time for you and your team. This extra time can make a huge difference in elevating and expanding your small business.
5. Improve Web-Based Products or Services
You know that you can ship but not every product in your store has to be shipped. You can make an active effort to create services you can offer through video calls or chats. Consider creating products like instructional videos that can be purchased online. You might want to consider offering ebooks if that works with your business.
Doing this could help you stay afloat during 2020, and it may end up helping you grow as you go along. Trying new ideas has the potential to increase your sales and give you a financial cushion. If you aren't sure what to offer, consider visiting competitor's pages to see what they come up with this year.
You never know what company or business owner can help spark your creativity. Talk to some of your team members as well. Someone there could have a good idea that you can build off of.
These are just some of the many ways women-owned businesses can continue to grow despite some of the challenges businesses are facing. Do not let the things that are happening in the world right now discourage you from pursuing your business dreams. Because, if you start believing negative impacts like economy defaults, political changes, wars, etc, you'll never be able to improve yourself as a successful entrepreneur in the next decades to come.
Don’t forget to encourage and support other women-owned small businesses as well! Overcoming obstacles in the business world can be difficult, but that doesn't mean your businesses can't overcome these challenges. Hard work can pay off and help you during these times.
Rayanne is currently working towards her BA from Oregon State University. She loves to write, read, travel, and paint. She enjoys finding new coffee shops with friends and expanding her cooking skills with her husband.