Numerous established small businesses in the country as also worldwide are owned and operated by women, and I really admire how ambitious and driven they are to push their products and services forward.
However, when I speak to different women who launched small businesses within the past three years, many agree that their current main objective is to increase awareness about their brand and the number of customers, and not becoming rich. They will worry about that later, they tell me.
“I am not doing it for the money. It is my hobby and I already have a full-time job,” is one of the common statements I hear.
I do not know if women are shying away from discussing wealth or getting rich, or they are genuinely satisfied by only increasing awareness about their brand, and will focus on the finances later. I find both reasons to be somehow worrying. Having “becoming rich” as one of your main objectives in running a business is sometimes the kick and motivation you need to develop and expand it. This same objective is also the solution to develop your product and services.
There is nothing wrong with stating: “I want to be rich and my business will help me do that,” if it will help a woman achieve her goals faster. Ironically, increased profit from the business will help them in achieving their main objective and that is raising awareness about their brands more, perhaps, through an expensive, but a more effective media outlet.
So what needs to be done? What should women entrepreneurs do to become rich?
• Raise their prices: Some businesswomen believe that in order to succeed they need to undervalue their products and lower their prices to beat the competition. They feel that if they increase their prices, their customers will run for the door. Undervaluing their products will be disadvantageous for their businesses in the long run.
What women need to do is to adopt a mindset that they are different from the competition. They offer a unique product. Increasing the rates after the business is already launched is a tricky proposition, but if done right can benefit the owner and her employees, who will get better compensation.
When that is done, the entrepreneur should explain to the customers the reason behind the price increase and the value added as a result.
• Spend more to get more: This is similar to putting an effort into anything to achieve better results. When you study more, you earn better grades.
To increase their income, women need to invest more in their business.
They should invest their money in systems that will yield greater returns.
They may need to spend money on their website and consider hiring public relations officers and even execute a marketing campaign to increase awareness about their brand.
One of the best ways to do that is to plan the expenses six months or so ahead of time in accordance with the business plan, to keep expenses in check and avoid going overboard.
• Focus on the money: Many small businesswomen entrepreneurs handle the management of their businesses from A-Z, from packaging to social media management, to managing the whole business.
That is crazy.
As entrepreneurs, it is difficult to do all of that and ensure that their business is making profit.
If they cannot afford that initially, perhaps, they can hire someone who can work with them a couple of times a week or hire interns who are eager for work experience. If not, there are numerous virtual contractors online who can do the job for competitive prices.
• Finally, never stop learning: People who now know so much about making money often learnt about it by themselves. They spent hours either reading books about it or attending seminars and workshops to enhance their skills. Read everything that could aid you with your business, from a range of different topics such as: budgeting, financing, social media management and increasing website traffic.
You do not even need to spend so much on self-development. We are lucky to have access to numerous articles and online seminars to learn more. I dedicate an hour or so every day to learn more about better managing my small business and it really helps me.
Being focused and goal-oriented is great when managing a small business, but women entrepreneurs should also focus on earning a good profit.
The writer is a journalist, an award-winning Emirati columnist and fashion designer based in Abu Dhabi.
This article has been reprinted from The National.