This Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the more than 12 million women-owned businesses in America. Technology has changed the way the world lives, works, and creates new businesses. One area where technology has made a significant impact is shifting the way women are launching startups and growing their enterprises. From securing funding to tapping into larger networks of mentors, technology has opened the world of women founders to more resources than ever before. Here’s a closer look at how technology is changing the way women build businesses and seven key strategies for using technology to take your efforts to the next level.
Working from Anywhere, Anytime
Building a business often happens outside the typical nine-to-five schedule—or in addition to it. Technology has made it easier for entrepreneurs to stay connected and work anywhere, anytime they want. A variety of devices, from smartphones and tablets to laptops, let women launching and running businesses connect with clients and customers, guide their teams, and complete work on the go. But the technology innovations don’t stop with emerging hardware. Software solutions such as Microsoft 365 make it easy to access data from anywhere, while options like Adobe Document Cloud make it possible to close deals and sign contracts from a world away. As you define your most important mobility and business challenges, technology can help you overcome them quickly and efficiently.
Expanding Awareness Through Digital Advertising
One of the biggest challenges growing businesses face is reaching customers. With digital advertising, women entrepreneurs can more rapidly scale and grow their businesses. Today, it’s possible to reach customers through digital advertising on social networks, PPC ads, and much more. Fast-growing brands can even tap into advertising on emerging television networks. Some of the more innovative marketing strategies that women are using to build businesses right now include:
- Advertising on social media platforms, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, and Snapchat
- Advertising on streaming platforms, with new programs such as Hulu’s advertising program
- Targeting audiences searching Google and other engines with pay-per-click advertising that can help quickly grow the scale and reach of their business
Developing Digital Experiences for Customers
It’s harder than ever before to host a live event or take part in an industry conference face-to-face. But a host of new tools is making it easier than ever before to reach buyers, prospects, and existing customers—no matter where they reside. Women entrepreneurs are carefully crafting their brands and developing compelling online experiences for customers with solutions such as:
- Hosting webinars and digital events with platforms like ON24 and BlueJeans
- Conducting face-to-face video calls, product consultations, and video-based technical and product support using tools such as Zoom and other videoconferencing suites
- Sharing files and curating presentations with filesharing solutions such as Dropbox. With Dropbox Paper, it’s easy to share branded presentations, proposals, or quickly get an initial take on a design or deliverable.
Kickstarting New Opportunities
Raising the capital to start a new business—or effectively bootstrapping it—presents an important challenge to entrepreneurs. The emergence of platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo is giving women business leaders new opportunities to find support and fund the growth of their boldest ideas. Crowdfunding is changing the way women seek financing, especially early in their journeys, and research shows that women founders are more successful than their male counterparts on these platforms.
Adapting to a Digital-first Business Environment
In the face of COVID-19 and the subsequent recovery, many businesses have been forced online. Even companies that formerly operated with a largely brick-and-mortar footprint are relying on social media customer service, website transactions, and digital-first consultations. Technology has made it easier than ever before to bring your brand and transactions online. Some of the most powerful assets you can tap into include:
- Developing and hosting a website with ecommerce capabilities so customers can shop, purchase, or consult a sales expert from your branded site
- Taking advantage of digital platforms for content marketing—from publishing helpful blog posts to hosting webinars that can help customers learn more about your products and services
- Embracing a wider range of technology-enabled smart payments systems, from PayPal to Square
- Considering the addition of emerging payment solutions such as Sezzle, Affirm, Afterpay, and others that extend credit to digital shoppers who may not have access to traditional credit cards or may be seeking alternatives
Networking and Connecting with Mentors and Colleagues
As the saying goes, success in business sometimes comes down to who you know. Women building businesses can benefit from networking with other founders, mentors, and professionals. However, connecting with the colleagues and mentors you need to help you grow and add capacity to your business can be a challenge. Technology has made it easier to network with mentors and colleagues, letting you take advantage of opportunities such as:
- Taking part in digital events with organizations such as The Female Quotient that tackle some of the toughest questions about being a women in business
- Networking with groups such as the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, Women 2.0, the Women’s Business Development Center, and SCORE
- Finding informal mentorship opportunities or working through formal in-person and digital programs such as the mentorship options offered by SCORE
Expanding Capabilities with Managed Services
All too often, hiring a full-time employee—or even a part-time dedicated resource—simply isn’t in the budget. However, as women rely on technology to build their businesses, managed services providers are giving growing companies access to best-in-class technology, customized advice, and cost-saving strategies that make it easier to grow. A managed services provider can help with nearly any aspect of a business, from supporting contracts for specific technology to cybersecurity expertise. Managed services providers make it easier to gain access to the customized talent and resources you need to grow your business—while keeping your budget and growth objectives in mind. Growing a business is one of the most exciting journeys you can undertake. With a plethora of resources available through technology, today’s founders can network, advertise to customers, find help for their most important challenges, and build a durable brand that stands the test of time. As you consider how to launch your business or take it to the next level, don’t forget to explore the pathways to profitability paved by emerging technologies.