The latest statistics released by the United States Census Bureau indicate less than two percent of women owned businesses reach more than one million dollars in annual sales.This number changed only slightly from the census bureau’s prior 2007 study. Yet the number of women owned business startups increased by more than two million companies during that time period.Why do women continue to become business owners yet fail to reach that magic number?
If women are searching for support, there is help available to them. Like the Entrepreneurial Winning Women program at Ernst & Young. They report another round of women business owners can apply in March 2019. Each year this program becomes more successful. Individual participants report on average a 20 percent increase in annual revenues. Here are some steps women business owners can follow to reach the million dollar annual sales mark.
Plan the right numbers in your yearly strategy
When I asked male business owners how they reach their annual targets, most replied with an exact number. Each told me they planned what their next year’s annual sales target will be a year in advance. To determine what it will take to reach $1 Million in annual sales, I suggest women business owners plan that number in their annual strategy. If their price points are low or if they cannot work full time, determine what number of customers they can reach yearly and what is the average price of each sale. Working this number backwards will tell women how many customers they need to target for that year. The next step will be to determine how much time, energy and money it will take to close those sales. Focusing on annual metrics and increasing those metrics each year will give women business owners a greater chance to grow their revenues.
Ask for help
There are many entrepreneurial support groups designed for women. I suggest women intermingle and join small business support groups equally represented by both genders. This will give women an opportunity to learn from a larger group of those they can aspire to become. Reaching the right people will also help them create a solid advisory board. Advisory boards are a great way for small business owners to have a group of dedicated fellow entrepreneurs focused on their strategic goals. This is also an opportunity to learn from other small business owner’s mistakes.
Don’t be afraid to say no to a customer
Small business owners may grow faster with a niche marketing plan. Targeted marketing strategies are easier and more cost effective for the small business owner to implement. With a niche focus, women business owners can create word-of-mouth campaigns, endorsement programs and more affordable target advertising. Marketing-Schools.org published an article on how a niche marketing campaign salvaged a financially suffering 157 year old beer company. As a fellow woman business owner, I learned I had to shed my maternal instinct of helping every potential customer and create a niche marketing strategy for my businesses to grow. By turning down business outside of my marketing plan by revenues continued to grow. I was able to promote myself as an expert in smaller markets instead of trying to service every potential customer with a wider net marketing technique.
If a woman business owner does not have time, consider building a strategic alliance
Strategic alliances can be an effective way for small businesses to grow rapidly. A small business may be able to help a bigger company’s value by integrating their product or service with an enterprise-wide organization’s existing sales solution. Forbes published an article how Unidesk, a virtual desktop management provider, partnered with Dell Computers. Why would Dell consider this partnership? As the article stated, money. Dell made more money per sale than Unidesk, but Unidesk experienced tremendous growth because of the increased volume. Women business owners are creative in their startups. They should consider a win-win strategic alliance with the right partner.
If women business owners are serious about reaching that $1 Million in annual sales glass ceiling, they have many options available to them to jumpstart their seven digit strategy.