Business Ownership Guide For Female Entrpreneurs
15 minute read
There are general beliefs everywhere across the globe that the world of business is to be led by capable men. This is especially true when people are talking about fields such as business and technology.
It is not too difficult to understand why there is a general opinion such as this one. After all, there are some great men that have come up with revolutionary ideas which reinvented many technological concepts of our world.
However, it is only fair to say that there are quite a few extraordinary female leaders who are changing this game for the better. For instance, in Southeast Asia, there are some exceptionally successful women who are revolutionizing the digital entrepreneurial world.
These brave women are leading by example and setting new highs with their great achievements. In this business ownership guide for female entrepreneurs, you will find out who they are and how you can become a successful female entrepreneur.
Successful Female Entrepreneurs
In this section, you can read about a few female business owners who are becoming real authorities by reshaping the tech industry in Southeast Asia.
Ankiti Bose, Founder of Zilingo (Singapore)
It all started in Bangkok for Ankiti Bose. She was on a holiday trip there when she got the inspiration and the first idea while shopping for clothes in a local market.
Ankiti, 27 at the time, was traveling with her business partner Dhruv Kapoor when the idea of Zilingo popped to her mind. Zilingo is a fashion platform that was born once Ankiti came back from Bangkok. It is an eCommerce startup that provides an online platform to small fashion retailers of Singapore, Jakarta, and Bangkok.
This company took off in 2015 as a fashion and lifestyle marketplace, but has since evolved into a business-to-business (B2B) space by providing supply chain characteristics to fashion merchants.
One of the most interesting things about this growing company is that Bose successfully raised as much as $226 million in a Series D funding recently. Judging by the present success, the best is yet to come for the brave Ankiti and her company Zilingo.
Visit the website here.
Tan Hooi Ling, Co-Founder of Grab (Singapore)
Tan Hooi Ling comes from Malaysia and is an incredibly successful business owner that has already achieved great feats. She is best known as the co-founder and COO of her Singapore-based ride-hailing company, Grab Holdings Inc.
Tan also has experience at business analytics, as she was an analyst at McKinsey & Company before she brought up Grab Holdings with her colleague Anthony Tan while attending Harvard Business School.
Grab was brought into life when Hooi was 33. It has evolved into the biggest ride-hailing company in Southeast Asia ever since. The company has recently become the region’s first decacorn (relatively new business worth $10 billion at least).
Hooi drove the inspiration for Grab during her taxi rides, as she was a regular taxi service user. One thing led to another and she is now driving operations for Southeast Asia’s biggest ride-sharing platform.
Visit the website here.
Lindsay Jang, Co-Founder of Yardbird, Ronin & Sunday’s Grocery (Hong Kong)
Lindsay Jang is a true powerhouse in charge of some of Hong Kong’s most disruptive dining concepts. She is best known for her restaurant Yardbird, a no-reservations izakaya. It is still one of the hottest tables in the city years and years after it first opened its doors to the public.
Lindsay is also an avid yoga practitioner and co-founder of MISSBISH, a company she started with Nicole Fung. Jang successfully combined fashion, the Hong Kong dining scene, and restaurant success into one great career full of notable achievements.
This trailblazer is on her way to the States where she plans to open a venue in Los Angeles. She unveiled this plan in 2019 and the whole culinary world is waiting for this event to unfold.
When it comes to MISSBISH, it was launched in 2018. This is a media platform focused on female-driven magazines and an E-Commerce clothing line. This effort of Lindsay’s is a great proof of how female empowerment and entrepreneurship can do wonders.
Xania Wong, Founder of Jobdoh (Hong Kong)
Xania Wong is the founder of a revolutionary recruitment platform called Jobdoh. This platform is among the first ones to utilize AI to match companies with temporary workers. Wong only needed a couple of years to transform the idea of Jobdoh into a fully-fledged leading online job marketplace in Hong Kong.
Xania acquired her extraordinary skills and valuable experience in Canada and Hong Kong as an investment analyst, management consultant, and a product manager. She worked with regional stock exchanges on key product launches. On top of that, she is a CFA charter holder and she has obtained an INSEAD MBA. Xania also won Google’s Empowering Young Entrepreneur prize and it was clear right then and there that she would have a stellar career.
Besides her Jobdoh project, she also works on Xantana Wine Ltd., where she is learning all about wine working in vineyards all around the world and gathering the all-important diverse experiences from that field.
Now that you have some inspiration and motivation, let’s dive straight into some strategies for getting your business off the ground.
Visit the website here.
Finding Your Business Idea
One of the most difficult parts of this whole story is deciding on the right business idea. Many female entrepreneurs are more than capable of achieving great things, but they often struggle with the first step – coming up with a business idea.
To make this easier for you, you should ask yourself these questions:
- What do you want to get out of the business you are about to set up?
- What are you good at?
- What do you genuinely like to do?
- What would you like to learn to do?
Once you have figured out the answers, focus on the type of business you want to start. To be precise, you should determine what you want from your new business. It’s nothing bad if you are in it for the money. Some are in it for the learning experience. Just be honest when thinking about this.
Take a look at some proven models below that have worked for other female entrepreneurs:
Home Business Ideas
Many female entrepreneurs start a business with the aim of having the flexibility to be home with children or care for their loved ones. Starting a business at home is easier and more affordable than ever. Moreover, there are numerous home business ideas that you can take advantage of.
For instance, there are home business ideas for food-lovers, gardeners, and photographers. On top of that, some popular women owned business models revolve around travel, personal and business development.
Figure out what you love to do and dedicate one room to your new home business. Make the room as comfortable as possible and only spend in it the hours dedicated to your new job.
Start-Up Business Ideas
If you want to build a business from scratch but you have little to no funds that you can invest at the moment, here are some ‘low-cost’ start-up options.
- Online articles writing has become a lucrative venture for many business women out there. For instance, websites such as ehow.com allow users to sign up for a free account and submit ‘How-to’ articles for publication.
- Another very popular business idea that is picking up the pace is online merchandising. A good thing is that you can do online merchandising with no inventory and no start-up costs.
Pet-Oriented Business Ideas
If you are a pet-lover, you will be glad to hear that there are quite a few business ideas that strictly revolve around our furry friends. To make it even more attractive, more and more people are willing to spend their money on their pets and they take care of their beloved pets nowadays like never before.
For instance, pet sitting has become one of the most attractive business ideas, since there is a universal need for it and it is a very flexible business. If you happen to live in a suitable place out of town, you can run a pet sitting business as a kennel operation with people coming and bringing their pets to you and dropping them off.
Another great option is pet boarding. You need to have a facility set up where dogs and cats can be dropped off and looked after while the owners are gone. However, the main challenge here is zoning, as you may not be able to do it where you are located. Check your local regulations and laws along with zoning restrictions before discarding the idea.
Starting Your Business
Once you are sure about your business idea, let’s take a look at other important steps that are necessary to successfully start a business.
Building Your Team
In the modern world of entrepreneurship, it is of the utmost importance to strategically build a team that will support your business idea. That is why women business owners need to eliminate feelings and emotions when coming up with a decision.
Empathy and interpersonal skills make us unique and special. But at the same time, these traits can get in the way of making important decisions that could have a huge impact on the future of your business.
Hence, the first thing you should remember is to think strategically when assembling your winning team.
The second and equally important thing you should know is that power is not reserved for men only. Men are often deemed smart when using power, but business women are often labeled in a negative way when they own the same kind of power.
However, these presumptions mean nothing and you should exercise your power whenever it is necessary. Allow your actions to communicate your power and that is how you become a leader.
Finally, use the power all women have – multi-tasking. Get the job done but also act collaboratively and help out your team members whenever they need help.
Listen to your employees and consider their opinion, but be sure to make a decision on your own. You need to give in order to receive something back. But never forget that you are the boss.
Once you have your teammates sorted out and start working on your business plan, you should do thorough market research. This includes a thorough analysis of your niche and customers. This is a vital component of any business strategy because it can help you identify potential customers and figure out whether or not your business idea is feasible.
Execute research on your customers’ demographic information, demand, size of your market, and any potential rivals.
You can either do your own research or use existing resources. But do know that there is not a single right option. Relying on existing resources for market research can save a lot of time and money. However, this isn’t too reliable, as some details may not be relevant to your women business. Contrary to that, doing your own research is often more expensive and time-consuming.
Ultimately, it may be best if you combine these two. It all comes down to your needs and available resources, so try to find a combination that will work best for you at the moment.
Once you have done the research, it is time to devise a solid business plan. This plan maps out how you should structure and run your business operations. Lay down what you need to do, how you need to do it, and the thought and effort you have to invest to properly start your business.
Business plans usually include several different components such as:
- Business idea
- Market analysis
- Financial structure
In general, you decide the type of information you are going to include. It also depends on how you want to write your plan.
Most people usually turn to one of these two structures:
- Traditional plan
- Lean startup plan
Both options are commonly used in the modern business world, but one may be better suited to your needs.
Traditional plans tend to be more comprehensive and are more useful if you want to seek funding options from traditional sources, while startup plans are best if you want to start your business quickly or regularly update your business plan.
Remember, it is unwise to think that a plan is not useful. A plan can help you secure funds and establish the structure of your organization. Also, it can indicate how and when you can expect growth.
Funding & Managing Your Budget
In order to make money, you have to spend money. Without an initial investment, it is difficult to start a business.
Fortunately, there are a few financing options that you can use to find and acquire funds for your women business.
- Bootstrapping. This is a self-funding option where business owners have enough resources to independently start a business. If you use self-funding to invest in your business, you will have complete control over it, but you will also be more vulnerable to any legal or financial dangers.
- Venture capital. Venture capitalists are usually wealthy individuals or venture capital firms that look for potentially successful small businesses to support. Typically, they provide support in exchange for an ownership share or active role in your company.
- Angel investors. Again, these are wealthy people willing to provide capital to startups. Angel investors provide less money than VC options, but they often offer mentorship.
- Crowdfunding. This is another great option to acquire funds and kick off your business. Crowdfunders do not expect to receive a share in your business. Crowdfunding can also create excitement and interest in your product before the launch.
- Business loans. Taking out a loan is another way to get funding for your startup. But you will need a thorough business plan and financial projections, as well as collateral or stellar credit history, to secure a loan.
- Family and friends. Asking your loved ones to help is another viable option. Many successful small businesses have been started with investments from friends and family members. But know that even though these loans may be interest-free, they can also strain relationships with people you hold dear.
It is worth noting that securing enough funding may be the most difficult part of the process. However, do not forget that once you have secured enough funds, you need to devise a good budget plan. Stick to it and do not overspend. In the beginning, managing funds is of the utmost importance.
Possible Challenges & How To Deal With Them
Unfortunately, it has to be mentioned that women-owned businesses often encounter hurdles that men-owned businesses do not.
Women entrepreneurs have to invest extra efforts compared to men to overcome specific problems and challenges. Let’s take a look at some common challenges that you might stumble upon yourself.
Securing funds to get things moving might be a bit more difficult for ladies compared to gentlemen.
Pitching a business idea is difficult enough on its own, and unfortunately, it might be even more challenging for ladies. A 2014 Babson College study found that less than 3% of companies with VC funding had women leaders.
Allegedly, venture capitalists tend to invest in businesses run by people of their own ‘tribe’. For instance, a Stanford-educated capitalist will look to back a Stanford alumni’s business. This also means that VC companies with female partners would rather invest in women-run startups.
A good way to work around this obstacle is to get more female investors to support each other.
Social And Gender Bias
Unfortunately, a lot of female leaders experience a scenario like this or similar:
A lady walks into a crowd at a seminar and she can only count all the other women on one hand. Women usually have more trouble talking business and closing deals than men, which can be quite unnerving.
In this kind of situation, women may think they need to adopt a stereotypically ‘male’ attitude toward business. In other words, that they should be competitive, aggressive, and sometimes cruel.
But successful female CEOs believe that remaining true to yourself and finding your own voice are the keys to rising above prejudice. So, be yourself and have confidence in who you are.
Parent business persons have dual responsibilities and it can be quite difficult to take care of their families and their businesses.
In today’s world, it often happens that women have to take greater care of their children than men. This is considered to be a stereotype.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t neglect either your business or your family. However, it may be challenging to find the perfect balance.
Be careful when setting up a business, as you need to think about your family and how it will fit your needs. Do not burn out quickly because you are torn between your job and your loved ones.
Building A Support Network
Building a good support network is not easy. Pick good networking events that are women-focused, as these may help you find connections that can prove invaluable down the line.
Do some networking and keep your fellow ladies close. Be prepared to help when you are asked, but also do not hesitate to seek what you might need from them. It may be a bit difficult to build a network of this kind, but it will definitely be worth it.
Practical Tips From Successful Female Entrepreneurs
Let’s take a look at some famous and successful women entrepreneurs that have already worked their way to the top and see what they said when asked for advice.
Laurie Lemmlie-Leung (Breganwood Organics)
Laurie talked about how difficult running a business can be. She mentioned a few tips that can help overcome the usual difficulties.
She emphasizes the importance of finding like-minded people and creating a group you can meet with on a regular basis. Having people to brainstorm and explore new ideas with, as well as friends who will celebrate your successes and commiserate your failures while keeping you on point is crucial.
You can find people in all sorts of business. Most of them are facing similar challenges whether they are running a service company or selling a product.
Visit the website here.
Maura Thompson (Sassy Media Group)
Maura shared her thoughts on the issue of self-development. She emphasized that ladies should not be petrified of not knowing all processes of doing business straight away. Surrounding yourself with people who can do things better than you is a huge part of building a successful business.
Visit the website here.
Sonalie Figueiras (Ekowarehouse)
Sonalie talked about the impact entrepreneurship had on her character and her life in general. She claimed that becoming a business owner was the best life school and business school program she ever embarked on.
Talking about outsourcing, she says that it’s a great temptation to outsource everything, but you will not know your business or understand the nuances of running it. This will leave you vulnerable to people who want to take advantage of you, lower quality and standards, poor decisions when creating products/services, and many other things.
Visit the website here.
As a lady, it is important to group up with other women entrepreneurs and help each other. This is also applicable when it comes to resources for women’s business.
Let’s take a look at some communities and companies that help women entrepreneurs by providing concrete resources that can help with business growth.
- Women’s Register
- Singapore Business and Professional Women’s Association
- Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s Career Women’s Group
- She Loves Data
- Lean In Singapore: Women in Tech Circle
If you happen to have business ventures in Asia, you should definitely check out the Women’s Foundation Hong Kong. Their website has all the info and some useful resources that can help you get through difficult periods.
The whole concept behind this website and the organization is to support women entrepreneurs in Hong Kong. Just click on the Resources tab and you will find studies, workshops, tips, guides, and tools that you can use to improve your business operations and learn more about entrepreneurship.
Be bold, be brave, and believe in yourself. Being a woman or being a man should not influence your desire to become the owner of a successful business.
Read this business ownership guide for female entrepreneurs again, make sure you absorb all the information in it, breathe in, and go make things happen!
If you need assistance when it comes to accounting and finances, do not hesitate to contact Sleek. Sleek is always there for brave ladies embarking on a business endeavor and we will be happy to help.