How to Grow Your Woman Owned Business in Canada
Have you ever wondered how ancient, magnificent castles were built? How about those lofty, towering clusters of buildings in the heart of every city? Every man-made structure was constructed by hand–all of which share a glaring similarity.
A business is like a house. It is carefully engineered and designed to the last-minute detail, which is akin to how seasoned entrepreneurs and business-driven individuals have come to create their companies and business empires.
When houses are made, one needs the proper resources like money, materials, and manpower. The same requirements can be said for businesses. However, it is not only limited to that. Growing a business demands time, effort, and drive, as well as the ability to be innovative and technologically inclined.
Successful global companies and corporations were not created on a whim. It takes a significant amount of time to create one and even more time to grow it into a continuous profit-generating body. It is important to note that a business is an entity–an entity specifically designed to collect profit and accumulate wealth.
Each business begins with its corresponding owner or, in some cases, its partners. For many decades, the business industry has been primarily dominated by male entrepreneurs. Women were rarely given a chance to become entrepreneurs and businesswomen themselves.
However, what once was a male-dominated industry has now become an equal playing field. Of the millions of businesses worldwide, an estimated 36% are owned by women. Data further shows that women-owned businesses produced about 1.9 trillion dollars in revenue.
It can be said with confidence that empowered businesswomen have drastically changed the world of business. Day by day, the hindrances caused by gender inequality and discrimination in the business industry or workplace continue to dwindle. Women of varying ages and ethnicity have proven their ability as business leaders, with about 47% of women in the past year having started their businesses.
Women entrepreneurs have numerous opportunities to kickstart their businesses in different regions all across the globe–one of them being in Canada. The North American country is ripe with advantages for aspiring businesswomen, such as its stable economy, low corporate taxes, equality and multiculturalism, and its access to the United States and Latin American countries.
And if you are a female entrepreneur in Canada, here are some ways to grow your business:
Knowing the Basics
If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, you may experience challenges and persistent difficulties at first. Creating a business from the ground up takes a certain finesse and years of hard-earned experience. However, even the most seasoned entrepreneurs start by knowing and applying the very basics.
It is important to note that when businesses are built, it needs to be properly maintained. There are rules, procedures, and key strategies that have to be strictly implemented. Because every business idea differs, its plans, goals, and overall resources are unlike those of other companies and organizations.
Businesses begin with an idea. Simply put, it is like a seed that grows and takes root within its environment. Over time, a business flourishes into a well-coordinated body that reaps numerous and bountiful benefits to the owner, such as profit, revenue, market share, and return on investment (ROI).
Ideas have to be well-thought-out, problem-solving, and, above all, feasible. It is important to note that a business must be able to cater to and address a clear and discernible problem in its community, as well as provide the appropriate products and services in response to those in need.
Entrepreneurs must properly grapple with the needs and wants of their target market and consumers. When entrepreneurs fail to do this, they run the risk of being upended by competing companies. It is important to note that nearly everything has been done in the business world; business ideas have to be profound, distinct, and able to penetrate the market.
The road to becoming an entrepreneur is long and arduous, but certainly not futile. Hundreds, if not thousands, of women entrepreneurs have been able to succeed and turn several of their business ideas into reality. Some of these ideas span various categories, such as accessories, clothing, food, and health and wellness.
The next step after generating a business idea is the business plan. At this stage, the entrepreneur dabbles between two pressing objectives. One of them is the conducting of market research, while the other is the consideration of an exit strategy.
Conducting market research is simple when it is broken down into several parts. Any interested party seeking to create a business starts by defining the research objective. It is followed by developing research questions, gathering information, interpreting the findings, and then drawing conclusions and making decisions.
One of the many mistakes that entrepreneurs fail to realize is the exit strategy. It is easy to overlook the forces within the business environment, which may come in the form of substitutes, new entrants, and rival companies. Well-seasoned business practitioners never dive head first without dipping their toes first to test the waters.
With these objectives in mind, it is much easier to navigate the twists and turns of starting a business. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, you must remember to prompt good business ideas, as well as be well-versed in your business plan. It is noteworthy to mention that entrusting the right people for your business ventures is key.
Growing the Foundation
Despite there being hundreds and thousands of businesses all over the world, a significant portion of those enterprises has ceased their operations. One of the many mistakes that amateur entrepreneurs have often committed is the lack of a clear and organized plan.
The planning process is the first and foremost step in starting a business. At this stage, the entrepreneur must be able to set clear and defined goals. It may help to tackle one thing at a time and ponder the following questions: What is my product or service? Who are my target customers? How will I market my product or service?
Creating a good plan is simple and easy: it can only be made better over time. However, it must be taken into consideration that a business’ end goal primarily points to achieving and receiving gain. It is extremely crucial and necessary for businesses to gain profit since it is one of their main purposes.
Penetrating the Market
Once a business has clearly defined its main idea, goals, and objectives and designed its business plan, the next crucial step is market penetration. The right advertising and marketing both have to be carefully thought out and executed–their sole purpose is to attract the target consumers and maintain a fairly-sized market. It is at this stage that the gears of the business are finally being put into motion.
The act of performing a business’ advertising and marketing comes at a cost. To properly execute these approaches, it is of the utmost significance to hire the right people for these duties and responsibilities. It is best for amateur and aspiring entrepreneurs to employ the following:
- Chief marketing officer (CMO)
- Creative director
- Digital marketing manager
- Communications manager
- Content marketing specialist
- Web designer
- Graphic designer
- Social media manager
- Content producer
- Digital strategist
A company’s target consumers have a critical role in the success of small businesses, may it be through brand awareness, long-term customer relationships, or the long-term stability of the company. Penetrating the market requires a steep budget to designate and perform the fitting approaches.
The titans in the business industry are well-versed in their business advertising and marketing requirements, sparing no expense. However, the same cannot be said for budding, newcomer businesses. You may wonder, could this be achieved using low-cost options and limited resources?
The answer is yes.
One of the many ways that a business can save its hard-won earnings is by investing and utilizing a couple of selected advertising channels. Creating a website, having business cards made, ensuring that your storefront is visible (for stores with a physical location), and establishing a social media presence are just some of the ways that any beginning entrepreneur can do.
Out of all these mentioned channels, the least costly method is website creation. Business websites can be designed through Wix, Squarespace, or WordPress, however other business owners with a greater budget can opt to hire a website developer for less work.
Innovating and Investing
Entrepreneurs at present use innovation to grow their businesses, rise from the competition and maximize their profits. With the help of recent technological advances and interactive media technologies like social media applications, innovation has become much easier for businesses to apply and achieve.
A survey from the Business Development Bank of Canada found that eight (8) out of ten (10) managers associate innovation as a key to their company’s growth. It signifies that innovation is not something to be overlooked, rather it is something that business owners can use to their advantage.
To innovate, it is fundamental to take a step back and evaluate the present situation of the company, as well as take into consideration the roles that customers, suppliers, and stakeholders play. Doing so will allow fellow entrepreneurs and/or business practitioners to determine the best course of action.
The first step of innovation can be done by asking simple questions and honest feedback from the company’s clients and stakeholders. You can do so by presenting questions like What are your main concerns about our products and/or services? How can we improve our provided products and/or services? What features could we add to make your experience better?
When feedback has been given, it is time to proceed to the next step, which is to develop an innovation strategy with your business team. One of the things that you should greatly consider is utilizing the different creative ideas and opinions of your employees. Some entrepreneurs fail to observe this, thus limiting the ability of the employees as well as the progress of the company.
In the innovation strategy development process, the products and services have to undergo certain changes and improvements. Any alterations have to focus on the business’s products and services and its processes, business model, and marketing strategies.
When a business has successfully performed the necessary steps, the last (and optional) step is to invest. It has been recommended by the consultants of the Business Development Bank of Canada to perform in-depth research in the marketplace, select turnkey solutions when investing in technology, and opt to use business loans in financing the company’s growth.
Businesses and corporations in Canada that have shown great interest in investing can apply for the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentive program. Qualified expenditures are only limited to research and development (R&D) projects, like addressing scientific uncertainty or technological advancement.
Year by year, the SR&ED program has steadily turned over 3 billion dollars in tax incentives to around 20,000 claimants. It is important to note that 75% of these claimants are small businesses.
Shelly Solis is one of the women behind SaaSLaunchr, a website specializing in SaaS SEO and blog outreach services. Read her insights on digital marketing, technology, and business at the SaaSLaunchr – SaaS Marketing blog!
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