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Do you want to capture one of the largest growing trends in small business? Consider exploring female entrepreneurs as a growing niche market. A survey by the Center for Woman's Business Research found that women-owned businesses grew by 28% between 1997 and 2004. A UC
Selling to female entrepreneurs is another post in and of itself. However, it is an appropriate time to look at your small business sales force and consider whether it is geared towards this niche. There are few things to keep in mind:
- Personal experience and a study by RBC indicate that, statistically speaking, women are more likely to start or operate service based businesses (however, there is also considerable growth in female owner-managers among traditionally male businesses such as construction and manufacturing). Thus, service based companies will feel the impact of female entrepreneurship quicker and appropriate strategies need to be devised.
- Studies show that women are more likely to have home based businesses than men. Home based businesses, regardless of the gender of owner-managers, require special sensitivity in how, where and who will be attending the sales call. Training should be given to sales staff in the event a sales call occurs in a home based office regardless of gender.
- From personal experience, female entrepreneurs tend to be better referrers than men. There tends to be an unfair and built-in bias that female entrepreneurs are not in business as long as their male counterparts; their business is sometimes considered a hobby. However, I have found that granting female entrepreneurs the same level of respect as any other entrepreneur tends to be repaid many times over in quality leads and referrals.
Much like the green movement, a thoughtful strategy needs to be implemented to address this rising force in entrepreneurship.