There’s no doubt that women have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. In 2020, more women than men left the workforce. On a global level, this translated into 5% of total jobs held by women being lost compared to 3.9% for men. At the same time, the Small Business Trends Alliance (SBTA) reported an increase in women-led businesses, from 27% to 33% in one year. So, it seems that more women are turning the pandemic into an opportunity to be their own bosses and pursue their passions. However, there are still challenges that women have to face and overcome. Here, I mention 4 key things that women with businesses should focus on to overcome challenges and succeed.
If you’re a businesswoman, consider outsourcing some of your work. Outsourcing is the process of hiring an outside party to complete certain tasks or job functions. This can help with a number of challenges that women face, such as maintaining work-home balance. In fact, increased domestic responsibilities was one of the main reasons why so many women left the workforce in 2020. Women felt there wasn’t enough time to keep up with all the roles they were expected to fill. Outsourcing minor tasks can free up some of your time to focus on the priorities. Not to mention that outsourcing is cheaper than hiring an employee, as you don’t need to worry about covering benefits. Finally, outsourcing is convenient in the sense that the work can be done remotely without the need to meet in person.
Women leaders that struggle with the workflow should consider automating certain business processes. Automation makes work easier for everyone involved, as well as more efficient and time-saving. Some business aspects to consider automating include customer support, like using chatbots that are available 24/7. Other aspects include HR, for example, relying on automation for the initial review of job applications. The second most common reason why women start their own businesses is to pursue their passions. With time-consuming and repetitive tasks out of the way, you’ll be able to do just that, as well as streamline the workflow.
As per SBTA, the biggest challenge women in business report facing is with marketing. Therefore, it’s best to develop a solid marketing strategy, with the help of a consultant if possible. You need to put clear marketing goals and decide on the metrics that will help you measure progress and success (ROI, conversion rate…). Moreover, prepare a social media plan and conduct research into which platforms work best for your business. Another tip is to know how to market yourself as a leader in your field. You can do so by building a personal website and writing blog articles for sharing your knowledge and experiences.
Women receive very little funding for their businesses compared to men. This is mostly due to gender biases that exist in the male-dominated world they need to navigate. However, persistence is key. Learn to not take “no” for an answer and keep applying for funding until you find the right investor. Also, consider taking classes to develop the necessary soft skills to perfect your pitch. This is because women are provided less opportunities to practice their pitches in the business world. Remember that the bottom line matters and so does a business angle that stands out. Another option is to seek funding from investors that specifically invest in female-owned businesses or in businesses within your specific field.
Navigating the world of business is not an easy task for women with businesses, even as our numbers increase. It becomes important to understand the unique challenges that affect us as women so that we are able to find ways around them. Outsourcing, automation, marketing, and funding are only some things to focus on to get over the setbacks. In the end, no aspirational businesswoman should have to miss out on this moment of opportunity we are living because of her gender. But until gender equality is achieved, there are ways to beat the system.