Three Ways Women Can Become Powerhouses in Retail

Mar 7, 2021

ASD Market Week launched ‘Retail Review’, a series of guest articles from industry experts – across retail, distribution, wholesale, importing and exporting – which offer an in-depth exploration of timely subjects that challenge the retail and small business community today.

For women business owners, the last year has been an especially challenging one, with women disproportionately bearing the burden of home, health, and childcare needs that are exasperated by the pandemic. MicroMentor strives to overcome geographical limitations and deliver business resources at scale to support women-owned businesses around the globe through mentorship. In honor of Women’s History Month (March) and International Women’s Day (March 8), we looked to members of our community for their advice for other women business owners. Here are three tips for women-owned businesses from women entrepreneurs within the MicroMentor community.

Tip 1: Set Goals

Rita Kakati Shah is an award-winning, globally recognized gender, diversity, inclusion, and career strategist and advisor with over 15 years of experience in finance. She currently owns and runs Uma, a platform empowering women who are returning to work. Rita starts each mentoring relationship with a couple basic questions: 

“What is your goal? How can I help you achieve them and how can we break them down?”

Having a series of determined goals and keeping those in focus lets you create work back plans that can shift and adapt to meet those goals.

Tip 2: Know Your Worth 

Amanda Mailey is a mentor with more than four years of experience as the founder of ALIST, supporting women and BIPOC ownership through storytelling, growth strategy, and mentoring. She also has 15 years of agency experience working with top brands like Nike, Visa, Microsoft, Adobe, and Intel to define core business objectives and recommend the appropriate experiences, initiatives, and vehicles on a global scale. 

Her advice for women business owners? Know your value and stick to it, even when offering discounts: 

“Always leave room in your contracts to grow and expand. Set your price—even if you decide to discount it for someone. Make sure that in the contract it says that you are giving them that percent as a discount.”

Amanda advises women business owners that if offering a discount to a new client, be clear about setting a time frame for that discount and don’t undervalue your products or services.

Tip 3: Find a Mentor

Cera Muchiri is the Founder of Ecodunia, producing bags and wallets that are ethically made, sustainably sourced, and that harness the rich natural resources of her native Kenya to empower Black communities. Feeling uncertain about how to scale her business, Cera recognized that she needed advice: 

“I felt lost and doubtful—I knew I needed that kind of guidance.” 

When looking for a mentor, follow Cera’s example and hone in on the three most important features you are looking for in a mentor. For Cera, those were location, cultural awareness, and marketing expertise. With Eric’s advice, Cera wrote her first business plan, designed a marketing strategy, and made her first sale: 

“Mentoring has been crucial for the growth of my business. It’s amazing to workshop ideas with an astute business person who is rooting for me.”

Whether you need help setting goals or determining pricing, free resources like business mentoring can help you grow and nourish your business. To learn more about MicroMentor and how you can become a member to work with a mentor, click here.

Written by: Anita Ramachandran, Executive Director at MicroMentor

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