Using Proverbs 31 as his inspiration, Isaac Carter shares why women should consider becoming entrepreneurs, and provides advice on how they can go about achieving this goal
The 20th and 21st centuries have seen the emergence of women in increasingly influential roles in the area of politics, business and finance. Marissa Mayer (CEO Yahoo), Angela Merkel (German Chancellor), Oprah Winfrey (Billionaire TV Owner and Philanthropist) and Karren Brady (Businesswoman and CEO of West Ham FC) are just a few of the prominent women that spring to mind.
Far from the traditional role of women as homemakers or stay-at-home wives, this new type of woman is more in line with the Wise Woman Solomon envisaged, when he penned Proverbs 31. A closer examination of this chapter shows that Solomon was not only talking about a good wife, but also a female entrepreneur. Check it out:
- She is like the merchant ships; she brings her food from afar
- She considers a field and buys it; from her profits, she plants a vineyard
- She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night
- She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hand holds the spindle
- She makes tapestry for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple
- She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants
So, in this article, I am going to discuss some of the steps that wise women,who want to be an entrepreneur, should take:
- Set your business goals – Think about the business you want to run, and begin to make your plans to be successful. It doesn’t have to be original, but your aim should be to have a unique selling point for your product. There are numerous small business opportunities for women; from Mary Kay and Avon, to running your own huge lingerie business, like Michelle Mone (Ultimo lingerie brand). The female market is double the size of that for men, and means that products targeted specifically at women, as well as men, often has a greater chance of success. Remember, if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.
- Get business education – Subscribe to periodicals, read books, attend courses and seminars. Make sure you understand your area of business speciality, company law, tax affairs, marketing, and web-based advertising, bookkeeping and how to complete your tax return. There are numerous websites for budding entrepreneurs (see Female Entrepreneur Association), specifically geared towards women. Remember, ‘knowledge is power’ and people perish for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6).
- Network – There are a vast array of networks for female entrepreneur, such as the British Association of Women Entrepreneurs (BAWE). This is a great way of not only building your knowledge and experience of your business speciality, but also meeting like-minded females in business. Attend networking events; get a business mentor to help you develop your product, and open doors to new markets for your product.
- Get help – There are grants and other financial assistance available for female entrepreneurs – not only from public funds, but also from the private sector, for example, The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative. Start-up finance can sometimes be the life blood of new businesses, and therefore you should take the opportunity to try and obtain some, if possible.
- Network marketing – An exploding area of business for women is network marketing. Basically, network marketing is a marketing strategy in which the sales force is compensated not only for sales they personally generate, but also for the sales of the other salespeople that they recruit. This type of business is often advantageous to females, who tend to have wider networks of friends and colleagues than men, and therefore more people to recruit.
- Employment – Being successful in business does not rule out being employed. (All of the women mentioned in the introduction above are, strictly speaking, employed). Whilst there is still an under representation of women in the boardrooms of the top 100 companies, this is changing, and many women are breaking through the glass ceiling and holding major positions in huge companies; for example, Marissa Mayer, who is the CEO of Yahoo.
- Women-only products and services – Some companies offer special deals for women in recognition that they are often better, safer and more reliable customers. Often, these women-only products or services are offered at preferential rates. This provides more opportunities for female entrepreneurs, and enables them to tap into an exclusive market, which is tailored to the needs of women.
This article simply provides a snapshot of the steps every woman should be taking if she wants to enter into the world of business. Follow them and, no matter what the future brings, you will be well on your way to matching the Wise Woman in Proverbs 31.
Isaac Carter is the author of “Go to the Ant”- a simple but effective guide to money management. www.gototheant.co.uk.