Before I throw some light on what I mean by mistakes, let me clarify who I am talking about. If you are a woman, who makes something at home and selling it to the market or your own network then you make the cut as a woman entrepreneur. If you are procuring objects and selling them to the target audience, you are one of those I aim to help through this blog. If you however have made no investment in stocking up the material, or in marketing your business and just work as a reseller with no inventory, please do not bother reading through. This blog will not help you in anyway.
So what do I mean when I say uncommon, well let’s take a look:
- Dedicated Business Hours: I am home based and thus I am flexible. You ask me what’s wrong in that? I say nothing at all, however each business needs to have dedicated business hours irrespective of where you run it. Fix up a time where your focus is nothing but work. Let’s say 11am to 2 pm each day are your business hours where you either make your products, sell them, market them, expand your network and manage your accounts. Oh yes, I did say the word “accounts”. This is the key to make you realize what results are your efforts yielding you in business. Any extra time you add to these are a bonus!
- Complacency: Being complacent! I come across so many home based sellers or bakers who are selling through a particular facebook/watsapp group and are getting (too many) orders. I ask you, how do you decide what is too much? You want to make a name for your business, grow and optimize. Don’t be complacent. When you get more orders, think about resources that will help you fulfill those and also enable you to get more orders. Think about expanding your business, think big. Trust me the rest will fall in place!
- Strategizing to get rid of the stock: So you as businesswoman have invested in stock. I know it is a brave step for you and big one too but now that you have done it why so much anxiety? There are times, your stock wont clear up immediately and other times they would. For the times when you have a huge inventory left with you, take stock of the reasons. It may be occasion specific, in which case you can easily use it for the next season after storing them properly. I understand it is money blocked for you but please understand it is not money lost! You don’t need to sell those items at a low profit margin or loss. If the goods are perishable then that’s a different story altogether. You need to make your own analysis of the market and the goods so that you know how to invest in the right items.
If you are a creative artist, please do not wait for orders to come and then start making things, be equipped. Keep a stock, so that you do not miss any chance of selling items off the shelf. Also short turn around time will give you a huge advantage amongst adhoc customers like me!
- Ask for Help: You need to become replaceable for certain tasks at home. Until and unless you are a fictional character called super woman, you cannot do it all! You need to ask for help in the areas that are not your strengths, it may be cooking or it may be calculating profit per item made and/or sold. How to do this the smart way? Use the resources easily available to you, family members and househelps. Make a list of 5 things that you don’t like to do or are not your strength and delegate those between the available people. You will be surprised by how you find so much more energy and time to do the right things.
- The Big C: Do you know the actual product cost? How do you calculate your profits? Sale Price –Cost Price = Profit, right? How do you calculate your cost price though! Please don’t forget that you need to add up a lot of other cost to the actual product cost like shipping, time cost( most important), manpower cost( each resource you use), travel, phone expense, packaging, taxes; most importantly opportunity cost – do you spend your time on trivial things that dont matter much to your business, could you have used that same time for a better sales opportunity instead? Most of the times women entrepreneurs miss out on these costs and therefore are not able to attain the maximum output for their efforts. Especially women making things at home need to calculate various costs, it could be cooking gas, electricity or additional payout to that help!
I know I have just touched upon each point very briefly however I do hope that it has opened up the right thinking channel in each of you reading this. I would be very happy to answer any questions you might have on the above or any other about small businesses.