Q: What defines a Chic Entrepreneur?
A: A Chic Entrepreneur is defined by her eloquent combination of style and industriousness. Being chic is about how you carry yourself and the choices you make. It is not about the clothes you wear or the way you cut your hair; itâ€™s about your attitude and your actions. Chic Entrepreneurs balance optimism with realism; they know who they are, and they know where they are going. Being a Chic Entrepreneur is not about being perfect; itâ€™s about being you at your best. It is about being professional, having integrity, never burning bridges, and working hard, but more importantly, working smart. For these reasons, Chic Entrepreneurs tend to be in the ten percent of startup businesses that actually succeed, but they donâ€™t just succeed, they succeed with style.
Q: Why is it so important to decide and convey the value your business can provide?
A: If you canâ€™t decide what value your business provides to the marketplace and clearly and concisely express it to potential or existing clients and partners, who can? You are the best salesperson for your business because itâ€™s yours; you created it. So you need to have a one to three sentence summation of what your business is and what important value it provides that others need. You should be able to jot it down on a piece of paper at a moments notice, without getting a hand cramp. This is so important because you will be asked to talk about your business countless times as an owner. Wishy-washy doesnâ€™t gain you any respect in the business world and itâ€™s not chic. You need to have a unique value and nail the pitch.
Q: How can women business owners work to develop their own niche?
A: Choosing and developing a niche is all about research. Women business owners need to ask questions about who exactly their target niche market is that will buy their unique product or service: Are they businesses or individuals? What is their income? Where do they live/have offices? How old are they? Are they men, women, families or committees? What do they buy often? What do they lack? These and many more questions will give your chosen niche a name, a face and a personality. As a woman business owner, you know how to develop relationships. Finding out exactly what kind of people are in your target will allow you to better cultivate relationships with your niche.
Q: What do women entrepreneurs need to know about cash flow?
A: Iâ€™ve found in my own consulting practice that women often ignore the numbers when it comes to their business. Whether itâ€™s because itâ€™s boring to them or because itâ€™s not something theyâ€™ve dealt with before. However, cash flow is crucial to the success of a business. Women entrepreneurs need to know that by plugging in reasonable numbers, understanding your business model, and learning to read your financials and do predictive analysis, you can keep your cash flow in check so you donâ€™t get into a cash crunch. Businesses that fail run out of money. In order to succeed you need to know how to keep cash flowing through your business. It is your lifeblood. Women need to get comfortable with working with, thinking, and talking about money. If you know you need an bookkeeper and can afford it, get one, and use the time you free up for cash producing activities. If you know you canâ€™t, do the legwork necessary and make sure youâ€™ve got a handle on whatâ€™s coming in and going out and have a bit tucked away for a rainy day, or a perfect opportunity â€“ they come along in business when you least expect it.
Q: How can a woman business owner in the middle stages of growth determine if she’s on the right track to achieve greater profitability?
A: Put your current and desired future states into numbers. Choose five key metrics to watch. Key metrics will allow you to monitor your companyâ€™s performance. You must identify a way to measure performance so that you can determine at a glance what you are doing well and what you are doing poorly and adjust accordingly. Your metrics will give you an indication of where you or your managers need to focus attention. Think of this as your executive dashboard, similar to your carâ€™s dashboard, that you can look at as you drive your company forward. This will give you an overall view of how your organization is running and alert you to any issues that require attention. Your dashboard will consist of a handful of key metrics that act as a constant health check, a way for you to check the businessâ€™s pulse and other vital signs. Metrics are great and powerful tools, and as you get more comfortable with them you will learn to use them to spot opportunities and more effectively manage your business.