This is part 1 of a 3-part series to focus on (re)framing your business strategy for the multi-cultural, diverse woman entrepreneur.

It has become clear that we won’t be back to “business as usual” anytime soon. Throughout this year, Covid-19 thought of as temporary, changed work as we know it. But now, already it’s the end of 2020, the reality that the current state of things might be the new normal, we need to shift our focus from temporary fixes to fresh approaches in our business strategy.

We need to lean into the fundamentals of a profitable business while also harnessing new ways of running and scaling our business. It’s a mix between some oldies but goodies and the fast and furious. 

I am not saying that we have to fix what’s not broken, but there is always a better, more streamlined way of growing your business.  Below are the five proven steps to get your business ready for 2021.

It starts with the why, who, what, how, and the 80-20 rule.

You might be thinking why I need to go back to these fundamentals, and yet, I am already making money, and my business is humming. Why take the time to fix that isn’t broken?

Kodak, a giant in the photo industry in the 80s, had the don’t-fix-what-ain’t-broke attitude — they are now out of business. In fact, many of the Millenials don’t even know who they are. Kodak was synonymous with photos. We used to say, “that’s a Kodak moment. 

Travel agents built their business because they once had access to exclusive travel agent rates, never thought the likes of KAYAK, Expedia, Travelocity, and many more would replace them.  Technology disrupted how people shopped for travel.  And once again, this industry is rocked to its core because of COVID-19. The likes of Mckinsey are leading the conversation on reimagining this $9 trillion tourism industry.

Ladies, don’t get caught with your head in the sand.

Step 1: Your Why?

Let’s start here.  

Over the years, as a consultant to CEOs, owners, and founders, a trend emerged. Those who struggled to increase revenue and retain their customers, their staff did not know why they were in business; thus, they didn’t know what their products or services stood for.  

Why are you in this business?

I ask this question to all of my clients. And it is the question that gets CEOs and Founders squirming because they either never knew or have forgotten why they are in this business.  

Typically the #1 thing that is front and center is on revenue and profits.

I get it. Revenue is essential and vital to any business’s survival; however, is it possible to get people to spend their hard-earned money on your product or service just like that? Have you ever given money to a business because they sell hard to you? I haven’t, and I am guessing you haven’t either.

Being sold to is a yucky feeling.

As a Woman Business owner, I think we have the advantage of being able to mitigate that yucky-being-sold-to feeling. It’s because, as women, we are instinctively more empathetic, and it is in our nature to serve. 

I mean, look at us. We not only run our businesses, but we run our lives and those under our care too. Why? Because one, we can, and second, we love to make people happy.

It sounds cheesy, but women are amazing because we love, serve, and multitask like no one’s business.

“I’m just trying to make a sacrifice now,” she says. “I’m trying to make a better life for them in the future.” ― Caldwell, a 25-year-old biracial single mother with three kids, previously worked at a news station and childcare learning center. 

Inc Magazine

So, to move fast, we need to slow down just a bit and recenter ourselves and revisit our purpose.

We need to remember why we are in this business that we are doing because it can keep the fire going, keep our minds, hearts, and souls nourished.  

When we nourish ourselves, we automatically enable ourselves to nurture our team and our customers.

“Starting with WHY gives your followers and customers a way to identify with you on a personal level. If your WHY matches their WHY, they are willing to stand with you through thick and thin. Without a clear WHY, people default to the WHAT. Then you are always caught in this struggle to differentiate yourself in the sea of WHAT. And you are forced to differentiate yourself with features, or worse, with price.

– Ameet Ranadive

Ameet reminds us what Simon Sinek describes below:

“Products with a clear sense of WHY give people a way to tell the outside world who they are and what they believe. Remember, people don’t buy WHAT you do; they buy WHY you do it. If a company does not have a clear sense of WHY then it is impossible for the outside world to perceive anything more than WHAT the company does. And when that happens, manipulations that rely on pushing price, features, service or quality become the primary currency of differentiation.” 

Simon Sinek

According to Simon Sinek’s very famous TedTalk, using Apple as his example, his theory is that people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.

Take a moment right now, and answer why you do what you do? Why are you in this business? What inspired you to do so?

If you need a little nudge, I highly recommend downloading Simon Sinek’s golden circle

Side note, upon visiting that page, you may notice that you have to purchase the gold circle to download, but he requires that you pay what you can. Why? Because he is on a mission to share what great leaders do and want the same for your business.

Need more inspiration? 

Watch Stacy Abrams short Ted Talk and get your juices flowing. 

My purpose in this life is to be useful and see those around me, specifically my sisters in business, work, career, move up and onward and make their dreams a reality. 

Step 2: Know thy customer.

Alright, now you know why you do what you do. And what you do is probably already in play. But, ask yourself, do you know who your customer is as a person? If you met them on the street, would you know what they look like? Also, do you know what they see that you don’t see?

Seth Godin says it the best, “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” ― Seth Godin.

Step back and align your why with those you seek to serve. Once you know who you seek to serve and step into their shoes, see what they see and think what they think.  

Close your eyes and take a moment to step into your customer’s shoes.

This exercise is essential because learning about your customer needs creates a natural inclination to buy from you.  

However, raise your hand if after creating a product, your ideal customer doesn’t want your product and who you didn’t consider your customer ends up buying from you. Has that happened to you?

It is a misunderstanding on your part to not taking the time to understand who your customer is and what problems they are trying to solve. Because by doing so, you waste a lot of resources trying to convince them to buy from you.  

In today’s internet, google-everything world, customers are so well educated that 70% of the time, they have already decided to buy from you. The internet is the game-changing element here. With so much information available, it democratizes the playing field for literally every brand, product, or service globally, regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender.

Without a clear purpose of offering what you offer and not understanding your customer’s emotions, you can’t overcome Google, Amazon Ratings, Google ratings, and all the information they gather about your product or services.

A couple of simple and you can-do-them now strategies are:

  • Harness the power of your sales team. Take time to sit with them and learn what needs, wants, and questions customers have about your product or services. Visit your customer service team and listen to what concerns, issues, wishes are important for your customers.

Rally up your customers and speak to them personally — both customers that are your loyal and raving fans, as well as those that drop off the face of the earth. Getting these two perspectives is invaluable and insightful.

Firm footing.

I was thinking back to my past work, on my business successes and failures. The most successful initiatives were those grounded with a clear purpose and intention. I wholly embodied the reasons why I was doing it. And as a result, or the fruits of that intention and purpose were ten-fold.   

On the other hand, my most stressful, doubtful, chaotic, and unsuccessful endeavors were those that were grounded in the material and short-term gains.

The key here is to go slow to go fast.

My colleague reminds me that slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

Amal Essader

I’d love for everyone reading this article to take a moment and write down their Why and Who they seek to serve so we can be ready to take on the 2nd and 3rd part of this three-part series next week.

In the 2nd part of this series, we will cover the what and the how.

Please join me this Friday on my FB Live weekly Friday 3pm EST series and we will continue to discuss this article.

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