Not content just to smash through that corporate glass ceiling, Australian women are re-shaping the future and boosting our economy with the creation of successful, sustainable businesses.
If you’ve decided to take the entrepreneur route - good news comes from the most recent Westpac - Melbourne Institute SME Index, which reports a boost in confidence and optimism among business owners – incorporate these top tips into your strategy for success.
First things first, when writing a business plan or assessing the needs of your growing business it’s important to identify your objectives for both the immediate and long-term. Recent findings have shown that the main goals for women business owners in 2017 are to: enhance their product and services, recruit new [and the perfect] staff, and improve payment and transaction processes. If you’re not sure what your strategic aims are and don’t know how to go about identifying them, refer to your mission statement. Ask yourself questions like: what will your business look like in one year and five years? Will you invest your own money? Will you be a hands-on manager or hire one? Is your business niche or do you plan to go global and offer a wide range of products and services?
Women are great multi-taskers so use this to your advantage - without running yourself into the ground. Building a business is hard work; so make sure you are passionate about your idea, product or service. If you believe in yourself and your business that enthusiasm will translate to new customers. It’s also important to choose a business and business style that suits your vision of a fulfilling, balanced life. Is money the goal? Or freedom? Or better still, how do you achieve both? That said it’s important to set clear boundaries for your personal and work life and be strict in sticking to it. Sweden has introduced a six-hour work day based on the notion that employees are more productive when they have a better work/life balance. Meanwhile a new law in France has banned after-hour work emails.
Collaboration is the key. View your fellow females in business as important allies and support and share accordingly. It was revealed in the recent Westpac Businesses of Tomorrow Report by Deloitte Access Economics that over half of small businesses receive the majority of their income from other businesses. Knowing they are key to your success, nurture relationships with other businesses and they will become an invaluable source of support and advice, not to mention give you access to networking opportunities and new customers.
Commit this mantra to memory: empowerment comes through education and interacting with inspirational, like-minded women. Supporting women in business has long been the mission of Westpac, the first Australian bank to offer female clients access to their exclusive online interactive community which connects women in business and empowers them through education, information and networking opportunities. It also profiles case studies of female trailblazers who are busy building profitable futures.
Technology equals innovation and, given it's 2017, there’s no excuse not to jump on the techno bandwagon. Social media and digital marketing can be key drivers in brand building, promotion and success - 20 years of research shows companies that invest in technology increase their market share, financial figures and have a competitive edge. So it can only benefit your business to consider developing a savvy website, a strong presence on social media and a digital strategy that incorporates search engine optimisation (SEO), pay per click (PPC), blogging, forums and smartphone app advertising. If all that sounds like another language to you, consider hiring a digital consultant to help develop and execute your digital strategy.
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