Think your business can grow with social media posts only? Think again!
Female entrepreneurship is thriving. According to the Center for Women's Business Research, fully women-owned US businesses, or majority-owned by women, grew at twice the rate (42.3%) between 1997 and 2006 and in 2006 accounted for two in five of all businesses in the country. The estimated 10.4 million privately-held firms generated $1.9 trillion in annual sales and employed 12.8 million people nationwide. To say that women entrepreneurs are an economic force to be reckoned with is an understatement.
Unfortunately, businesses continue to struggle and the wire service Bloomberg claims 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs fail within the first 18 months. Analyzing the possible reasons for this outcome, a Forbes article recently mentioned communication and getting to know your client among the top 5.
Don’t limit yourself to social media
While getting clients is the common goal to increase the bottom line, there is a current tendency among women entrepreneurs to rely solely on social media to promote their company. This promotional tool is easy and comfortable, especially for women who don’t feel like being visible. However, it is limiting their visibility and could actually hurt their business. This is why:
Read your clients’ mind
When potential customers search for services online, what do they find? What makes a company stand out? Credible? Trustworthy? Who says you are good? If you are the only one saying it in your blogs and social posts, that is not enough. You must also have and independent trustworthy source acknowledging that you are THE reliable expert to convince your clients that indeed you are the one they need. That is what we call 3rd party endorsement. That’s what you get from articles, radio and TV shows and syndicated press releases, in short from media exposure.
Stretch your reach
Another reason for diversifying your outlets is that social media does not necessarily reach every potential client. There is still a large part of the population that does not rely solely on social media to make their purchase decision.
For example, only 50% of the US population aged 50 or more used social networking sites in 2014, according to Pew Research Center.
Expanding your reach nationwide in a consistent manner will get you seen and heard and will add to your visibility in a more credible manner. The online world is content-driven, like it or not.
If you keep in the shadows you will remain frustrated because you are not reaching the people that most need you. You will leave money on the table because potential clients will not hear about you. And you’ll be missing out on growing the Know-Like-and Trust factor leading to increased business profitability.
To dip your toe in the water start with a press release, it’s an easy, inexpensive and quick way to get yourself “out there” while controlling the process from start to finish.
Now it’s your turn: What challenges are you facing in your business? Have you tried other visibility outlets than social media? Please share with us and leave your comment below.
Female entrepreneurship is thriving with a growing rate of 42.3 % between 1997 and 2006, according to the Center for Women’s Business Research, and represented 2 in 5 US businesses in 2006. When analyzing the conditions that foster high-potential female entrepreneurship, there is growing appreciation that the conditions that support women’s ability to start and grow ventures may be different from those that help men. The 2015 Female Entrepreneurship Index (FEI) report acknowledges that there is a need to examine factors that impact women’s enterprise development while the GEM 2014 Women Report clearly states “Women matter to economic development.”
However, few make it past the 2-year mark and, as wire service Bloomberg points out, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs fail within the first 18 months.
What are then the key issues women entrepreneurs struggle with and what can be improved?
No compelling communication
As Huffington Post recently wrote, entrepreneurs need to master their core message to cut through the noise and get heard. Many businesses fail to communicate their offer in an enticing way for their customers and are not consistent about it.
They don’t say it “often and loud enough,” Marketing Implementation Specialist Stephen Gill of MentureME recently explained to Business Innovators Magazine. “Unfortunately, the way entrepreneurs communicate their value and their offer to the marketplace isn’t supportive of their business growth.”
John Jantsch, famed marketing consultant, and best-selling author of Duct Tape Marketing, also speaks about the importance of innovative marketing and finding a way to stand out. “Perhaps the most important marketing step any business can take is to discover a way to be different.”
While female entrepreneurs often need to be a Jack of all trades at onset, the same mindset that helps them start their business often turns out to be their Achilles’ heel when it comes to continued growth. Instead of trying to do all the lifting themselves, business owners would benefit from spreading growth potential over 50 or more variables that each does the corresponding lifting. “This allows them to diversify both risk and growth opportunity,” Gill explains.
Brad Sugars, well known international business speaker, President, and Founder of ActionCOACH, Inc. often states the importance of understanding the different variables of your business by pointing out “You double the size of a business by adding 1% in 100 ways…not by adding 100% with just one idea.”
Insufficient Media Exposure
Too often marketing is left aside for later consideration. Entrepreneurs often fail to recognize the priceless value of consistent media exposure to support their business growth. Yet third-party endorsement from a reliable, trustworthy source is the foundation for credibility in the eye of potential customers. Shouting their expertise on a blog and social media posts is not enough. PR tools boosting visibility such as articles, radio shows, and press releases are essential when it comes to being positioned as an expert in the marketplace. Outsourced or not, making a wise use of media exposure tools gives an undeniable competitive advantage.
Underestimating One’s Expertise
Many women entrepreneurs fail to recognize their own expertise and don’t know how to leverage their knowledge to serve more people. One way to boost business growth is to create an online program. One can then serve a lot more people while leveraging your time. In addition, this is a way to create extra streams of passive income. “If you are struggling to get clients, visibility, and credibility, creating your program will help you get there.” Fast Growth Business and Technology Strategist and founder of Business Success Edge Alina Vincent explains.
With a global growth rate of 18%, Vincent teaches entrepreneurs how to surf this exploding online learning market by showing them how to create online programs.
Now it’s your turn: What challenges are you facing in your business? What solutions have you found? Please share with us and leave your comment below.
As my business grows some subjects seem to be a moving target. Take my audience for instance, as I was first advised to narrow my “niche” I first felt panic, “what do you mean narrow?”, “isn’t women narrowing enough?”, “Who ‘s going to come to me now? I want to help as many as possible!”
With the appropriate guidance, I started embracing this concept of “niching” and birthed “women entrepreneurs”. But as the months went by, I started to feel uncomfortable with the whole thing and I realized that my clients were coaches 90% of the time. So really, a change in my message was necessary. As I reflected upon this, I was also becoming clearer on my personal strengths and the unique value I bring to the world. That’s when the target started to move again…3 shifts in 7 months, phew let me catch my breath!
My realization and what I share with you now is that nothing is set in stone, and as you grow personally, your business grows too. And that’s perfectly OK. And growth is a process so it can’t be a linear order “let’s review our niche every trimester” kind of thing. I prefer to talk about a more holistic approach encompassing you AND your business. Your primary responsibility is to remain tuned in to your true self, to understand that your strengths and your uniqueness are your most important assets and that only you can map out the playground on which to interact with your clients.
Aside from letting my “niche” evolve from the inside out, I also realized that I must respect the way I work to fully be present to my clients’ needs (as well as my own). That my personal rhythm of action and rest is like the Oceans’ ebb and flow I daily witness. And here too, only I can know and choose how to make the best use of my time and energy. And it may not look like what others prone or do. And that’s OK. I can allow myself to be different. To take the time I need because it can take me several days to “see” and refine the nuggets in my clients’ message. To acknowledge that when I write a book or a news release to take their message to the word, I need time to re-read the material over and over until I feel it’s ready. And that’s OK. Because the value I bring to the table in helping others become crystal-clear about who they are and what they say is priceless. And timeless. And that the work that I do is part of my client’s journey, as it is part of mine.
So what I want to share with you as well, is don’t underestimate your needs, they are part of your value. Recognize them instead as part of your strengths and they will serve you. And always remember that when you grow, you help your clients grow too. There is no right or wrong, only you walking your path, doing the best you can with every step you take. As you get closer to the end of the year and start reflecting on the past months don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t reach all the goals you had first established. Praise yourself for the road traveled and all you have learned. Your business is not your destination, it’s your journey.