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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
In Mexico, women still have the typically exclusive role of housework and childcare , which is why female entrepreneurship has become one of the only alternatives that women turn to in order to have an income of their own. This number of women who today have their own business has been growing and today represents 26% of the total number of employed women in the country, according to figures presented by the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness AC
However, it is a total delusion to think that female entrepreneurs have an easier or more comfortable path. It is a fallacy to think that we will have more time for ourselves or that the business will magically walk without our work and constant daily involvement. And coupled with this, continue with our social role of being “head of the family” and of maintaining a house with everything that is required. My respects to the women who do all of this, without the support of a partner or someone to team up with .
The women who are undertaking today will agree with me that, although it is a path of great personal satisfaction, it entails many more challenges than one could envision before starting. Many have jumped from the corporate world to entrepreneurship, with strong knowledge in some areas of the business, which can benefit operations, but a total ignorance of others, which they will learn along the way. In my experience, I am in this scenario. I went from managing millionaire budgets for a company, to a few thousand for my own business. This is where we truly learn the meaning of the word “prioritize” and “get the most out of it” down to the last weight.
Others have started from scratch, without knowledge and with an overwhelming sum of new responsibilities, from the purchase of inputs or raw materials for what the product or service requires, to delivery logistics. Because yes, the market demands it and to have satisfied customers, today we have to be ready to give a full service to our customers.
But how can we make life easier for ourselves, or ensure that our business thrives?
There are four pillars that I have been able to identify, and that can prepare all women who are thinking of making this quantum leap towards entrepreneurship, whether it is a woman who jumps out of the corporate world, or who starts from zero, for pleasure or necessity.
School is not over. Training is one of the most important pillars for an entrepreneur. Updating on the issues that most concern the business will allow us to generate new ideas, reinvent the value proposition, and improve decision-making. In my experience today I could say that there are 4 axes in which we must train: Marketing or promotion of our products or services. The operations, that is, the manufacturing or elaboration process of the products or services. Finances, which will ultimately be the most objective indicator of the performance of our business and sales, because without sales, there is no income, so there is no business.
2. Community and bonding
Business is definitely not done alone. We need to surround ourselves with valuable people who contribute something to our business. For example, having a good lawyer, to register trademarks or copyrights, and a good accountant to support us with the tax return, are vital allies for any business. In my experience, I have always looked for allies in what I know I am not strong, I do not pretend to know everything, but I do know that decisions must be informed, that is why it is invaluable to have a network of allies and build community with other women who are in our situation, that they are going through a similar path, probably a few steps ahead and that they save us some mistakes
How difficult this has become! It takes more and more dedication and more budget to be relevant in a sea of content, brands and products being advertised. In addition, that we compete with the greats many times, and that the vast majority of entrepreneurs do not have a website. My advice is to look for specialized sites to advertise, which make it easier to explain what I do, why I do it, where they find me, and what other clients think of me. These are the four triggering questions of any customer.
4. Financial digitization
It is no longer an option. Accepting various types of payments, from cash to electronic means, is a must. Electronic payment methods allow us to access more customers, since we give more options to close a sale, and the closing of a sale occurs only and exclusively when payment is received. Remember that credit cards are not only an electronic means of payment, they are a method of financing in the short term. Your client does not pay for your product or service at the moment, he will pay it about 40 or 50 days later, and you, if you receive the funds immediately, giving you liquidity to continue with your operations.
Women who formalize their operations obtain more than double the income than those who do not, according to figures from the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, AC And formalization occurs precisely like this, seeking mechanisms for growth, product promotion, and portfolio recovery. I have always said “it takes us the same time to do it well than to do it badly” and by saying “badly”, I mean that there is always the opportunity to learn, train and make better decisions, which will invariably take us to the place we want: To be a support for our families and to be full, independent and fulfilled women.