The pandemic caused a lot of people to lose their jobs when it started. But the effect was more pronounced among women whose main sources of livelihood were the industries that the health crisis affected the most. The closure of schools and daycare centers made it harder for mothers to continue working since they had to take care of their children.
Even after more than a year after the health crisis started, women-owned businesses continued to experience more challenges compared to businesses owned by men. Even with these challenges, these businesses can continue operating and even grow. Here are some ways that women-led businesses can continue to thrive during a pandemic.
Get Woman-Owned Businesses Certification
These businesses should first get a woman-owned small business (WOSB) or Economically Disadvantaged WOSBs (EDWOSB) certification. A business can receive the certification if it is a small business that is at least 51 percent owned by a woman who is a US citizen. Women should also manage their operations and make long-term decisions for the business.
Among the benefits of the certification is better visibility when competing for federal contracts available to small businesses. It also gives these businesses access to networking and educational opportunities, including the Mentor-Protégé Program or the US Small Business Administration (SBA). Additionally, businesses that receive the Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) certification also gain access to a database of companies looking for business partners in the industry.
Acquire Tech Skills
Similar to other businesses, women-owned ventures have to adapt to changes in the business environment. Therefore, they should also acquire tech and digital skills to connect with their market. Even though less than 30 percent of the tech workforce are women, it doesn’t mean they are less capable of acquiring the skills to get ahead of their competition. Many women-owned microbusinesses are starting to acquire the skills they need to remain relevant in the market. The skills they acquired allowed them to retain their customer base and possibly increase it in the future.
Women entrepreneurs can also work on acquiring other technical skills to prepare for the resurgence in their business. In this situation, they will need to hire more people for the business. To facilitate the process, they can use software that can track employee referrals if they will use the network of their employees to find suitable candidates. Tracking referrals allow entrepreneurs to incentivize the hiring process and give employees a way to earn incentives if the person they refer is suitable for a role open in the company.
Pivot the Business
Pivoting allows businesses to improve revenue and survive a crisis. While pivoting can help a business stay afloat, entrepreneurs should study the market before making the necessary adjustments. For instance, if the market a woman-owned business wants to enter has a lot of competition, it can look for a different market with less competition.
But pivoting is a good way for any business to continue operating during a pandemic. Women entrepreneurs should look at the pain points and focus on the needs of their market. They should also look at what their competitors are doing and try to improve it. Additionally, they should plan their move before they implement any changes to reduce unnecessary expenses.
Adapt to the Situation
Accepting the long-term effects of the pandemic is one way for women entrepreneurs to make the necessary changes in their businesses. This allows them to move forward and adapt to the situation. It also allows them to focus on the needs of their customers and meet these needs.
Women entrepreneurs can focus on meeting these needs and understanding the changes in the behavior of their customers. Using the tech skills they acquired at the start of the pandemic, they can connect and engage with their market. Once these businesses adapt to the situation, they can use their creativity and look for new opportunities in their market.
Seek Practical Business Advice
Women entrepreneurs can also seek practical business advice from people they trust in the market. Even though their sales have gone down, they can still make the necessary changes to stay afloat. Seeking advice on what they can do allows them to have a different point of view on how they can run the business. This is particularly true if their mentor has a lot of experience in running businesses during a crisis. Additionally, they might even find innovative ways to strengthen or pivoting their business to allow it to stay afloat during the pandemic.
Even as the pandemic had a huge effect on women-owned businesses, they can continue to operate by implementing simple yet effective changes in their business.