As many women struggle to find their roles in male-dominated boardrooms, a steadily growing number are finding an alternative: starting their own firms. What makes the difference? In so many cases, it boils down to marketing. If you can create a steady flow of new deals, you will probably succeed. On the other hand, even the best-run business will fail without new customers. Here are a few tips to ensure you get access to this most vital “deal flow.”
1. Always Plan Ahead
No matter what kind of small business you’re in charge of, it’s always best to have a plan before you put things into action. A well-executed business plan which explains your mission, what sets your company apart from the rest, and provides a detailed financial forecast goes a long way to ensuring that people will take you seriously as an entrepreneur. Once you have a plan laid out, stick to it to the best of your abilities.
2. Set Realistic and Optimistic Goals
In order to get work done effectively, it’s best to establish goals that you can work to achieve throughout the day, week or month. These goals should be things that are attainable. Otherwise, you’re just setting yourself up for failure. However, they should also be optimistic and challenging goals that will encourage you to push yourself in order to be as effective as possible.
3. Know Your Target Market
Research into your target market before you even open your doors to the public is crucial to your marketing plan. The more specific you can get, by drilling down categories, the better. Not only do you need to know things like age, gender and income bracket, you also need to know what motivates your ideal client or customer to buy.
4. Start Using Content Marketing
Entertainment sites, news sites, or even business blogs all use useful information (“content”) to market themselves. This technique can be applied to any business, and the principle is simple: you create a website and fill it with free information that is genuinely valuable to prospective clients. At the same time, you offer them the chance to do business to you.
Some of the people that read this information will be “freebie seekers” of course, but since they were never prospective clients you have lost nothing. The largest group of people will try a bit themselves but will spend money if they do not get the desired result — many of these people will hire or buy from you. The last, smallest, but also most desirable group are those that value their own time so much they will instantly hire you if they see from your content that you a truly an expert.
5. Build a Strong Portfolio
As the owner of the business, the way that you present yourself is often the first impression that potential clients or customers get of your organization. Make sure to always have a resume or portfolio available so that your future business associates can see all the hard work that you’ve done in the past. If they’re impressed with how you represent yourself as a person, it’s much more likely that they’ll want to do business with you.
6. Form a Network
Being able to learn from others’ successes and failures is absolutely invaluable, so surround yourself with other women business owners. Women tend to help other women and are great communicators, so there’s no need to be afraid of asking for help if you need it. Let others’ success inspire you as you learn and of course, never stop marketing your company. Make sure that your business has a strong web presence, and establish pages for it on social media sites.
But, social media isn’t the only way to establish a network of clients and business associates. Whenever your business works with another company, be sure to establish a relationship between the two of you.
7. Keep Searching for New Opportunities
Never pass up an opportunity to market yourself or your business to others. Make sure that you always have your business card with you in case you run across someone in your personal life that you want to form a connection within your professional life. You never know where you might meet your next customer.
These are just a few marketing tips for women entrepreneurs. Realistically, this is just the beginning. Obviously, you don’t have to try all these things at once. Trying one or two at a time is usually the better way to go.