According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, more than half of all companies are women-owned, amounting to 11.6 million businesses nationwide owned by women. Bucks County paints a similar picture of the growing number of female entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses.
As more and more women take the leap to become their own bosses, I have found that many seek more emotional support than their male counterparts. I mentor mostly women business owners through my volunteer role with SCORE Bucks County. Women seem to respond to the kind of mentoring and support that I provide. Many times, the entrepreneurs that I mentor are accomplished and driven women who need a bit of coaxing to make their dreams a reality or to take their venture to the next level.
I find that most times women need confidence and encouragement in what they’re trying to do. Sure, I consult women entrepreneurs on other facets of running a business, such as creating a business plan. However, with women, the focus seems to be more on validating their business ideas and teaching them to believe in themselves.
Exuding confidence is key in so many facets of business. It’s the catalyst for ensuring that entrepreneurs are charging enough for their products or services. As compared to men business owners, I find that women more frequently neglect to see their true value and, in turn, tend to undercharge customers.
A good rule of thumb when setting price is to determine the uniqueness of your offerings and the likelihood of purchasing something similar elsewhere. It’s also important to factor in the time and effort to produce the items or carry out the service.
Simply put, women need to be paid what they are worth. A lot of times women feel like that can’t charge enough. However, in order to be successful in business and remain profitable, a shift in thinking – and a boost in confidence – is necessary.
For a lot of women I mentor the fear is taking that first step. I encourage them to put their foot in the water and go. I cheer them on, champion their ideas, and, in some instances, provide a needed dose of reality. Not all ideas are great ideas. Most of my mentees enjoy having a business-minded person to run things by.
In addition to having a mentor to bounce ideas off of, I have seen women excel sharing ideas and business challenges with peers. It’s rewarding to see and hear women share their experiences, bond and network with one another.
On June 19, women will have the opportunity to hear from successful women business owners and participate in a series of roundtable discussions during SCORE’s third annual Women Building Businesses workshop. This is our chapter’s signature women’s event and one that is near and dear to my heart. WOGL 98.1 radio personality Marilyn Russell will deliver a keynote address and moderate a panel discussion with five local entrepreneurs who will share how they overcame their inner critics and achieved their dreams. In addition, there will be roundtable discussions on six topics, including, How to Get What You’re Worth, Understanding Your Numbers, What Does Your Dream Look Like in Three to Five Years and Getting the Right Systems in Place.
For more help navigating the challenges of a woman-owned business, contact SCORE Bucks County at 215-943-8850 or visit https://buckscounty.score.org/ to schedule a no-cost mentoring session. To learn more or register for the June 19 Women Building Businesses workshop visit https://buckscounty.score.org/.
Linda Zangrilli has served as a volunteer mentor with SCORE Bucks County for nearly three years. She is the recording secretary for the chapter’s executive committee. She worked for 30 years in operations management, customer service and management. She spent most of her career running large and small call centers that handled customer service and sales support for many different business segments.