5 ways female entrepreneurs can scale their businesses with very limited resources

6 mins read

In 2020, there were only 28 percent of startups in the US with at least one female founding member, says Statista. That’s considerably less than one-third, which is sad, considering that an estimated 49.58% (practically half of the total) of the total world population is female (Source).

If that’s the story for the world’s one of the most advanced countries, there’s no reason to believe females fare much better elsewhere.

In fact, the story turns even worse if you dig deeper. 

The VisualCapitalist reports that startups with only female founders received a paltry 3% out of the total global funding. The report also states that “companies with at least female founders register a 78 cents of revenue for every dollar of venture funding, while male-led startups generate roughly 31 cents”.

Not exactly heart-warming news, if you ask me.

Fortunately, female entrepreneurs have an alternative to scale their business. In this post, we’ll talk about how female entrepreneurs can grow their business with little to no financial resources.

Here you go!

1. Work with freelancers

We wanted to start with the most challenging tip so that the rest of the tips in this list turn out to be a cinch. If you’re facing challenges with hiring full-time employees, you’re not alone. After all, you can only do so much yourself. Hiring full-time employees is a great idea, but there’s also a cost associated with it. Insurance, health benefits, leaves… there’s quite a lot you’ve got to do when you hire employees. However, there’s an alternative: work with freelancers. Key challenge: Setting KPIs for contractors or freelancers Here’s what to do: Since each industry will have its own standards and KPIs, it’s not possible to provide a general set of KPIs for all of them. However, here are a few general takeaways:
  • Set clear deadlines (and specify the time zones).
  • Also specify payment stages and channels (and currency), especially for international payments.
  • Share in advance the rules you’ll follow regarding relevant tax deductions.
  • Define what’s successful work. In areas like coding or even content writing it can get messy.
  • Prefer working through strong referrals or established platforms. Avoid taking chances with complete strangers.
  • Having a bonus payment for timely, quality work is highly recommended. When set right, that goes a long way in getting output that’d really work for your business.

2. Use high quality email lists

While it can provide good returns, CPC (Cost Per Click) ads can get quickly expensive. You might spend a thousand dollars within no time, and yet not see an iota of results. To ensure you get good results, you will likely need experts to help you with promotional exercises.

The biggest challenge with email is the quality of your email list. One fact that escapes inexperienced marketers is how the quality of email lists can seriously impact your results. That’s exactly why you should verify your email lists.

Here’s a blog that explains why email verification is so vitally important for marketers.

Key challenge: Maintaining the quality of your email list

Here’s what to do: Verify your email lists with online platforms. These self-service, online platforms will not only check the validity of every single email address on your list, but also tell you about the quality of each email address.

Some email addresses are poor quality. Some are no longer valid. Some are disposable. Some are group addresses (hint: none of these are good for your email marketing outcomes). The idea is to clean your lists, remove bad quality email addresses and work with only deliverable email addresses.

You can make use of one of the best free bulk email verification tools to clean your email list and achieve great results for your email marketing campaigns.

Email marketing offers great ROI – up to as much as 3,600% on your investment (Source), making it the most valuable marketing exercise ever. With a little care, you can achieve amazing results with email marketing.

3. Network better

No matter how much the offline world grows, the value of real, in-person networking will never go down. The more people you meet and exchange ideas with, the better you can grow.

Many cities have a strong startup network where you can simply register and begin meeting interesting people. Others may have a local management association chapter, a chamber of commerce or something of that sort.

Key challenge: Finding networking events

Here’s what to do: Our advice is to not wait for opportunities. If you can’t find them easily, create your own opportunities.

Here’s one of the many ways of doing it. Reach out to friends (and ask them to reach out to theirs). Arrange for product demos at a local coffee bar during the off-peak hours of the coffee-bar. Take turns doing product demos and offering inputs to one other’s products. Make a schedule out of it – say, once a fortnight.

That way, you meet a lot of people, everyone you meet gets to showcase their products, and the coffee-bar gets some business during off-peak hours!

If the physical meeting doesn’t work, you can explore the online option as well.

4. Partner with no-competing businesses

Each business has a unique set of customers and equally unique ways of reaching them.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get access to the distribution channels of these businesses? A non-competing business that’s willing to let you access how they engage with their customers can be a low-cost (or completely free of cost) way to find customers in a novel manner.

Key challenge: Finding shared goals

Here’s what to do: Look around for businesses that are growing yet aren’t completely out of your league in terms of size or brand value. If you can find a business that compliments your own, nothing better. For instance, if you run a yoga studio, find a salad bar.

Meet them and discuss how you can cross-promote. Offer a discount to their customers. Or offer a free, five-day yoga session. In exchange, you can let that business make a counter offer to your customers. Make it a win-win deal and you will get a great ROI!

5. Work on buyer persona

How can building a buyer persona, AKA Ideal Customer Persona (ICP), help you grow?

The answer is simple: ICP tells you where to focus your time, energy and resources. No matter what you sell, your target audience can’t be everyone. By figuring what kind of people would most benefit from whatever you’re selling, you build in efficiency to drive growth.

Key challenge: Learning finer details about your ICP

Here’s what to do: Arguably, social listening and competition intel will help you the most. Begin by understanding how your existing customers behave online and how they articulate their choices and desires.

Simultaneously, also check how your competitors are talking to their audience (which is also yours). Note the words and phrases they use and see how that would help you better frame your ICP. Collect as much info as you can without overstepping your boundaries.

What’s next

Action. That’s what’s next.

Now that you’re armed with 5 powerful ideas to drive growth, there’s no point waiting. Begin with the one that you are most comfortable with, plan and get going. Once that’s smoothened out, go to the next idea and execute that as well. Be sure to implement each of them and push yourself to achieve the dreams you’ve set for yourself.

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