Jane Takes On the World: Female Entrepreneurs and How They Handle Worldwide Commerce | NAWBO

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Jane Takes On the World: Female Entrepreneurs and How They Handle Worldwide Commerce

A recent study from Jane Out of the Box, an authority on women entrepreneurs and an online resource dedicated to that community, reveals there are five distinct types of women in business. Each of these five types has a unique approach to running a business—and as a consequence, each of them has a unique set of needs and motivations. This article profiles the five “Jane” types and the different ways they may consider (and deal with) global entrepreneurship and economic development.

Jane Dough is an entrepreneur who enjoys running her business. She is comfortable and determined in marketing and sales, which may be why she’s five times more likely than the average female business owner to hit the million dollar mark. Jane Dough is clear in her priorities and may be intentionally and actively growing an asset-based or legacy business. It is estimated that 18% of women fall in the category of Jane Dough.

If Jane Dough sees the globalization of her own business as a way to sustain the growth she desires, she will map out a plan to systematically leverage international opportunities for sales or outsourcing. If she does not feel her organization is ready, however, she will wait until the opportune moment to act. Here are some things Jane Dough may want to consider:

  • Because Jane Dough is masterful at expressing the vision for her business, her ideas will undoubtedly appeal to potential partners. However, Jane Dough’s “all-business” mindset may cause her to appear abrupt at times. She’ll do well if she slows down enough to ensure clear communication and mutual understanding with partners from different cultures.
  • As a systems-oriented entrepreneur, Jane Dough will navigate red tape with ease. While negotiating through the trade barriers, fiscal requirements and cultural differences on her way to executing her definitive plans, Jane Dough should keep an open mind to the possibility of alternative (or even better) ways of working with international partners. Having a concrete plan is invaluable – and being flexible enough to opportunistically change that plan sometimes provides incremental positive results.
  • Finally, because she is purposefully growing her business, Jane Dough will find benefits in creating partnerships with, or outsourcing to, partners with similar business styles. She'll want to seek partners who are also visionary and systems-oriented so that both sides are able to make a significant contribution to the partnership.

Go Jane Go is a highly successful business owner with plenty of clients—but she’s struggling to keep up with demand. She may be a classic overachiever, also taking on volunteer opportunities because she’s eager to make an impact on the world and may really struggle saying “no.” Because she wants to serve many people exceptionally well, she may even be in denial about how many hours she actually works – sacrificing her own needs to meet the needs of others.

Although at first it may be difficult, pairing up with a global partner may be just the ticket for Go Jane Go. This outlet may provide an opportunity for her to share duties (as well as triumphs) and to improve her work-life balance. A few things for Go Jane Go to consider:

  • Go Jane Go works to exacting standards, and will expect anyone with whom she works to do the same. Therefore, it may be difficult for her to truly trust anyone else with the work, whether that person or company is next door or halfway around the world. However, when Go Jane Go finds a similarly service-oriented team member or business partner, she will build a lasting, trusting bond. The key for Go Jane Go is to build the relationship slowly over time, with planned progress reviews to make sure everyone is striving toward the same goals. Once Go Jane Go is confident the partnership is running smoothly, she’ll be able to relinquish control to her trusted partner and find herself with more time, for relaxation or further business growth.
  • As a service-oriented business owner, Go Jane Go often grows her business in the direction of her clients’ and customers’ demands. However, partnerships may provide Go Jane Go with additional strategic insight and perspective she might not otherwise experience. A trusted partner may help Go Jane Go learn new business models, ways to increase profitability, or new product development opportunities that serve her own needs, as well as meeting the needs of an expanding roster of customers.
  • Once Go Jane Go decides she’s ready to go global, she will have no trouble marketing her business and building relationships. She’s people- and relationship-oriented, so she’ll be sensitive and in-tune to cultural issues, which means her worldwide partnerships will flourish. The key will be to manage growth so that it does not further encroach on her limited time availability.

Merry Jane. This entrepreneur is building a part-time or flexible time business that she can manage within specific constraints around her schedule while still giving her a creative outlet (whether she’s running an ad agency or a jewelry business). She may have a day job, or need to be fully present for family or other pursuits. She realizes she could make more money by working longer hours, but she’s happy with the trade-off she has made because her business gives her tremendous freedom to work how and when she wants, around her other commitments.

Merry Jane is running her company for love. Because she often has another income and several other commitments, she appreciates that business ownership gives her an outlet for her talents, while also helping her manage her time in a way that traditional employment models rarely offer. Merry Jane is generally quite satisfied with her business today, although some wish it were more profitable. Is a global partnership a way for her to grow her business without putting in much more time? Following are some considerations before going global:

  • Will creating and maintaining a partnership take away from Merry Jane’s enjoyment? At this point in time, will such a partnership take more time and energy than Merry Jane wants to put into her business? Merry Jane may have to decide if the time is right. If so, she’ll be able to go global without too much added stress. If not, she’ll see that she’s content where she is, and may choose to revisit the possibilities of worldwide connections at a later date.
  • Merry Jane entrepreneurs often cite acquiring new customers as their biggest challenge. Marketing on a global scale via just the right partnerships may help her land incremental business. The key, however, will be to manage the number and size of these partnerships carefully, so as not to disrupted Merry Jane’s biggest priority – time freedom.<
  • As an organized, systems-oriented business owner, Merry Jane appreciates systems. A partnership that used systems to leverage work and time would be most beneficial to Merry Jane because efficient use of time is so important to her.

Accidental Jane is a successful, confident business owner who never actually set out to start a business. Instead, she may have decided to start a business due to frustration with her job or following a layoff -- using her business and personal contacts to strike out on her own. Or, she may have started making something that served her own unmet needs and found other customers with the same need, giving birth to a business. Although Accidental Jane may sometimes struggle with prioritizing what she needs to do next in her business, she enjoys what she does and is making a satisfactory income. About 18% of all women business owners fit the Accidental Jane profile.

Because Accidental Jane was very good at what she did before she left the workforce, she will likely continue her success, no matter what she does. Going global might make her a little wary since she’s looking to avoid workplace politics. But it could also provide a welcome change combined with an opportunity for growth. Things to consider:

  • For Accidental Jane, growth can come quickly, because she’s in demand and word of mouth brings new clients on a regular basis. Therefore, before going global, Accidental Jane will want to consider what she really wants from her business – to stay small and in control, or to risk getting larger with the attendant challenges of more people and relationships to manage.
  • Accidental Jane’s desire to control her own destiny may stop her from pairing up with anyone. She may not want to be tied to her desk, let alone tied to a partner who may be working in a very different time zone. If her business is manageable and allowing her to live the life she wants, she may opt to stay local.
  • On the other hand, globalization may appeal to Accidental Jane in such situations because she can get the help she needs at a low cost while maintaining control of her own life and possibly growing her business in two markets. An ideal plan for Accidental Janes interested in global partnership would be to teach someone in a different country how to do what she does, and then letting them run their own business, while she takes a portion of the profits and serves as a consultant to that new business owner.

Tenacity Jane is an entrepreneur with an undeniable passion for her business and her business is struggling financially right now. As a result, she’s working longer hours and making less money than she’d like. Nevertheless, Tenacity Jane is determined to make her business a success. At 31% of women in business, Tenacity Janes are the largest segment of women business owners in the United States.

Many Tenacity Janes run a manufacturing or retail businesses, often having taken on more debt than anticipated in order to get the business up and running. Because of the financial pressure the business is under, globalization could be a double-edged sword. Some considerations:

  • Outsourcing production of her products to companies overseas may reduce costs significantly, allowing for greater profitability. While this may be a great solution, Tenacity Jane must remember to consider shipping costs, as well as any costs associated with worldwide trade rules and regulations.
  • Perhaps Tenacity Jane’s products would sell better in another market. Nailing down that market and then partnering up with a marketing strategist local to the area might be just the right way to grow the business that reflects her passion. Tenacity Jane must take care to research demand, as well as the individual or firm with whom she works to be sure she has the right market and partner to create sufficient demand.
  • Because Tenacity Jane is so passionate about her business, she tends to jump right in to new approaches that appear to offer business growth. Before employing any new strategy, including global partnerships, Tenacity Jane should carefully itemize the pros and cons, financial projections, time and other resources required, and short- and long-term budgets. These “all business” criteria should then be used to critically assess whether or not to move forward.

Every type of business owner in today’s world must face the decision about whether to go global. Doing so may be the growth opportunity of a lifetime, and the absolute best choice for the company. On the other hand, it may spread a business too thin and be better put off until later. Before making that decision, each type of business owner must carefully weigh the potential effects, both beneficial and detrimental, of globalization on her company. Making the right decision now means greater success in the future.

Michele DeKinder-Smith is the founder of Jane out of the Box, an online resource dedicated to the women entrepreneur community. Discover more incredibly useful information for running a small business by taking the FREE Jane Types Assessment at Jane out of the Box. Offering networking and marketing opportunities, key resources and mentorship from successful women in business, Jane Out of the Box is online at www.janeoutofthebox.com.