Online start-up advice for women entrepreneurs

Posted on Mar 5 2015 - 11:45am by Staff

Entrepreneurship can be an attractive option for women for many reasons, such as creating a better work-life balance, or starting something meaningful and individual. Start-up businesses are a growing sector, with over 500,000 launching in the UK in 2014.

Looking at these figures, starting a business may seem like an easy option. Online resources make finding guidance and advice simpler, while companies such as Zoho, designed for entrepreneurs, help businesses look after everything from HR to sales. Despite this, keeping a business afloat is as challenging as ever, as each business needs to be identifiable among hundreds or even thousands of competitors.

The most important factors in a successful business are creating a service people need and ensuring people know how to access it. These abilities are not restricted to one ‘type’ of person, and many entrepreneurs both male and female develop their companies at incredibly young ages. Robert Bonnier at rose to success as the CEO of business directory, an early celebrity of the dot-com boom. His entrepreneurial ambitions started at just 13 years old; after he received compensation for a sports injury, he invested the money straight into shares. His stock market success paved the way for future investments and takeovers.

Finding the idea for a needed service can often come from personal experiences. For women, this inspiration can often be from experiences in juggling a traditional career with family responsibilities. For example, Noa Mintz used her dissatisfaction with previous babysitters to form a thriving nanny-family matchmaking service.

An entrepreneur’s service may instead be her knowledge and expertise. People can make their living by being an expert on a topic, however niche, by tutoring or coaching others or by reviewing specialist products. Filling a need could instead mean creating a product that works in conjunction with pre-existing tools, giving people more information or use from them. Amy Harris and Hannah McIntyre used this principle to develop accounting tool CrunchBoards, which expanded to 34 countries in only three months.

After finding an idea, the next step is looking for potential customers. Researching is easily done online, and online tools can also be used to look for competitors and collaborators. Connecting to relevant collaborators means an entrepreneur can be part of a group, sharing information or even customers. Once the entrepreneur has potential customers, they need to draw attention to both themselves (branding) and the business (marketing) to attract them. A website and social media presence is essential for marketing, as it lets customers see information about the business and the faces behind the business.

Visible personal input from entrepreneurs such as a video explaining why they started their business, or customer engagement via social media, helps establish a business as trustworthy and customer-focused, which encourages customers to return.

Entrepreneurship requires creating a solid and innovative service, then being able to promote and publicise the business effectively. It’s a challenging and testing career, but one with a lot of potential for dedicated entrepreneurs to succeed.

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