In Summary

Successful female entrepreneurs believe that finding your own voice is the key to rising above preconceived expectations, Victoria B. Byenkya writes.

Women entrepreneurs are not new to the Ugandan workforce. In fact, about 45 per cent of the businesses on whose backs the economy of Uganda is built are run by woman in both the formal and informal sector. While entrepreneurs generally do not have it easy, the challenges faced by women in business cut across different realms.

Capital
The art of cash management in a business is very important because it is essential in keeping a business operating properly. If there is a mis-management of cash, it may result in a big loss of revenue for any business.
There are many ways to earn funding, from traditional bank loans to family and friends. You can choose these routes, certainly. But I prefer the self-fueled growth model in which you fund your own business endeavours.
Also, continually work to find new customers, while striving to be remarkable to those customers you already serve. Word-of-mouth will spread and more customers will come looking for you.

Social expectations
Most female business owners who have attended networking events can relate to this scenario: You walk into a crowded seminar and can count the number of women there on one hand. When women entrepreneurs talk business with primarily male executives, it can be unnerving. Women may feel as though they need to adopt a stereotypically “male” attitude toward business: competitive, aggressive and sometimes overly harsh. But successful female entrepreneurs believe that remaining true to yourself and finding your own voice are the keys to rising above preconceived expectations.

Marketing strategy
The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well and that the product or service fits him and sells itself. It is often the first step in building a relationship with the customer and building brand recognition. However, you want to maximise your return on investment with efficient, targeted marketing that gets results.
Find out what marketing activities you will undertake to motivate purchases.

Cash flow management
Cash flow is essential to small business survival, yet many entrepreneurs struggle to pay the bills and salaries while they’re waiting for cheques to arrive. Part of the problem stems from delayed invoicing, which is common in the entrepreneurial world. You perform a job, send an invoice and get paid (hopefully) 30 days later. In the meantime, you have to pay everything from your employees or contractors to your grocery bill. In this case, proper budgeting and planning are critical to maintaining cash flow. One way to improve cash flow is to require a down payment for your products and services. Your down payment should cover all expenses associated with a given project or sale as well as some profit for you.

Victoria B. Byenkya is the manager of Women in Business at dfcu Bank.