Opportunity Knocks, Jane Answers: Three Women Entrepreneurs, Three Ways of Dealing With New Prospects
In every female entrepreneur's life, opportunity will knock. Successful women must determine how they'll answer. Will they fling the door open and shout, "Welcome!" with no more trepidation than they'd use when hosting their best friend? Or will they hook up the security chain and open the door just a crack, asking, "What do you want?" Whether it's one of those extremes or something in between, one thing is certain: her response to opportunity likely will determine opportunity's response to her - and her business.
A new study from Jane Out of the Box, an authority on female entrepreneurs, recently revealed there are five distinct types of women in business. Each one has a unique approach to running a business - and therefore each one has a unique combination of characteristics and factors.
This article profiles three important Jane "types" and the ways they are likely to respond when opportunity shows up on their doorstep.
Jane Dough is an entrepreneur who enjoys running her business and makes good money. She is comfortable and determined in buying and selling, which may be why she's five times more likely than the average female business owner to hit the million dollar mark. Jane Dough is clear in her priorities and may be intentionally and actively growing an asset-based or legacy business. It is estimated that 18% of women fall in the category of Jane Dough.
Opportunity is a guest Jane Dough will carefully consider. Sure, she'll open the door, but she'll give Opportunity a good once-over before letting it in. Because she's business-minded and pragmatic, she will look at all the angles before deciding whether this particular opportunity is one she wants to be closer to.
If you're a Jane Dough, you should think about a few things while making your careful assessment:
* You're a big picture kind of girl. You might see an opportunity and know it will fit in, in the grand scheme of things. But before you give the go-ahead in your quick and business-like manner, be careful to analyze exactly how it will fit in to the rest of your system.
* Ask yourself, "Even if this opportunity will make my business even more successful, will taking it allow me to continue to focus on what I want to focus on at work?" In short, evaluate not just the opportunity, but the timing as well. Jane Dough works best in a very focused manner, so it's important not to allow a new opportunity to become a distraction for you and your team. If you're already working on a big project, it might be best to re-negotiate timing so you can maximize your effectiveness with both opportunities.
Tenacity Jane is an entrepreneur with an undeniable passion for her business, but who tends to be struggling with cash flow. As a result, she's working long hours, and making less money than she'd like. Nevertheless, Tenacity Jane is bound and determined to make her business a success. At 31% of women in business, Tenacity Janes are the largest
single Jane type.
Tenacity Jane LOVES Opportunity because she is seeking the key(s) to helping her financially struggling business become more profitable so she can rest easier. That said, it's important to realize that not every gift horse should be allowed in the door. When faced with a new opportunity, Tenacity Jane can consider the following:
* Sometimes what looks like Opportunity is just trouble in disguise. Before you proceed with something new, take the time to analyze whether the opportunity has significant potential to deliver the income you're looking for, and what will be required for that to occur. Map out your plan and examine feasibility before diving in with both
* Consider your current projects and workload. How will the new opportunity fit in? Will it disrupt fledgling efforts you have underway already to improve the finances in your business? If so, it might be better to put the new opportunity on hold until the work you have currently underway begins to bear fruit.
* Finally, consider the costs of the opportunity. What will it cost you in terms of time, and importantly, money? Before pursuing any new opportunity, make sure you have sufficient resources to fully take advantage of it. If it would require an investment in building a new website, for example, and you don't have the money to do so, the opportunity will not pay out the way you hoped. Again, it might be worth postponing slightly, until you can marshal more resources to truly make the most of it.
Merry Jane. This entrepreneur tends to be "building a business on the side"-in addition to a day-job, or a focus on family or other pursuits. She doesn't have a high personal income from her business, but she also tends to be working less than 40 hours a week, and she loves the freedom her business affords her.
For Merry Jane, being a successful woman means multi-tasking well and having a smoothly running life. It also means having the freedom and flexibility to do what she wants when she wants. Merry Jane is enjoying herself and her business overall due to the freedom she enjoys so she will want to examine any new opportunity to decide whether it threatens her work/life balance or whether it will deliver sufficient profitability to allow her to make even better money while preserving her time freedom. When opportunity comes knocking, Merry Jane can as herself the following questions to ensure she chooses her course wisely:
* How much time will this opportunity take (in hours per week and overall duration)? Is this an investment of time I am willing to make? What might I be able to let go of to free up more time?
* Will this opportunity fit into my existing systems or am I going to have to invent new ways of doing things to take advantage of this? If it will take a change in the way I work, is it worth it?
* Will I enjoy this work? Overall, Merry Jane loves her work and her business and any new opportunity should be equally or more enjoyable than the work she does today to ensure her continued happiness.
* If the answer to all of the above results in a continued desire to pursue the opportunity, Merry Jane can then ask herself ... What can I do to make this new opportunity even more profitable? A key opportunity for Merry Jane is to increase her personal income through
her business, so this is always a great question when embarking on a new project.
Whether you're a Jane Dough, a Tenacity Jane or a Merry Jane, deciding whether to invite a new opportunity in requires quite a bit of consideration. Each type of female entrepreneur should identify the myriad ways the opportunity may affect her, and then make the decision about whether to accept it. One of the greatest joys of owning your own business is the freedom to choose - so choose what's right for you!