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Every business owner creates her own definition of success.

Whether she strives


for growth over time, or just wants to maintain what she has well into the futur
e, one key aspect of achieving success is planning. Just as every business owner
creates her own definition of success, every business owner must also create he
r own plan to take her business from where it is now, to where she wants it to b
e.
A recent study from Jane Out of the Box, an authority on female entrepreneurs, r
eveals there are five distinct types of women in business. Based on professional
market research of more than 2,500 women in business, this study shows that eac
h type of business owner has a unique approach to running a business, and theref
ore, each one has a unique combination of needs. This article outlines three of
the five types and provides advice about planning steps that meet the needs of t
he business owner and the business, now and in the future.
Jane Dough is an entrepreneur who enjoys running her business and generally, she
makes a nice living. She is comfortable and determined in buying and selling, w
hich may be why she's five times more likely than the average female business ow
ner to hit the million dollar mark. Jane Dough is clear in her priorities and ma
y be intentionally and actively growing an asset-based or legacy business. It is
estimated that 18% of women entrepreneurs fall in the category of Jane Dough.
Of all five types of entrepreneurs, Jane Dough is the most likely to have a plan
for her business. She is driven to create a large business that has a life beyo
nd herself and her own needs and interests. She enjoys strategizing and planning
for long-term growth, and is great at delegating smaller tasks so she has the t
ime she needs to do that. One of Jane Dough’s challenges, though, is that her vi
sions are often on a large scale, and she doesn’t communicate them effectively t
o members of her team. They may be scrambling behind her, talking to each other
in an effort to figure it all out. Each person may receive only parts of the sto
ry, and they speculate about her expectations and what she is doing, in an effor
t to anticipate her needs. This speculation and confusion can create havoc for J
ane Dough and her business, and can slow down the progress of the plans she is m
aking.
Here are some tips for Jane Dough on better communicating her vision and more ef
fectively carrying out her plans:
• Schedule semi-annual business planning retreats. Not only will semi-annu
al planning retreats keep Jane Dough focused on the gap between her current situ
ation and her goals (which naturally shift as time passes), it also will provide
her with regular, specific opportunities to communicate her vision to her team
members – all at once. Communicating that vision provides team members with a co
hesive overall landscape of the anticipated future. Also, giving team members th
e chance to brainstorm about challenges, new product or service ideas or strateg
ies for improving operations provides Jane Dough with insight from the people on
the front lines.
• Create a hiring plan for the longer-term vision. Breadth and depth on a
team will help a Jane Dough business owner realize the kind of growth for which
she strives. A hiring plan, then, will allow Jane Dough to be effective in build
ing strength into her organization. A well-constructed hiring plan takes into ac
count the types of personalities a business owner enjoys working with, as well a
s the specific set of skills she needs in order to move her business to the next
level. Draw an organizational chart detailing how each position fits with the o
thers, and list below each position, the personality traits and skill sets it re
quires. With this plan at her fingertips, Jane Dough will find it easier to loca
te opportunities for the right people.
• Systematically track key performance metrics. To grow her business quick
ly and long-term, a business owner must understand the gaps that exist between w
here her company is today, and where she wants it to be. To gain that understand
ing, it is imperative to create clear, measurable goals, and to track the compan
y’s performance against those goals. For example, if a Jane Dough wants to grow
her business 10 percent in the next year, she may use several strategies to meet
that goal. She may change copy or design elements of her web site to sell her p
roduct more effectively. She may advertise to increase traffic to her web site.
She could also test a direct mail campaign to prospects who have opted-in on her
web site, but haven’t followed up with a purchase. Each of these options is mea
surable, and Jane Dough can track each one to determine whether it is contributi
ng to growth – and if so, by how much. She then can direct resources to the most
effective strategy.
Go Jane Go is passionate about her work and provides excellent service, so she h
as plenty of clients – so much so, she s struggling to keep up with demand. At 1
4% of women in business, she may be a classic overachiever, taking on volunteer
opportunities as well. She’s eager to make an impact on the world and she often
struggles to say no. Since she wants to say yes to so many people, she may even
be in denial about how many hours she actually works during the course of a week
. As a result, she may be running herself ragged and feeling guilty about neglec
ting herself and others who are important to her.
Undoubtedly the busiest type of business owner, more than a quarter of the origi
nal 2500 researched reported working more than 50 hours per week. For most Go Ja
ne Go entrepreneurs, business is thriving – so much so, it can be overwhelming.
At first glance, it may appear that Go Jane Go doesn’t really need to plan – bus
iness is booming, her income is high, and she has (almost) more customers than s
he can handle. However, creating a plan may help Go Jane Go feel less overwhelme
d and therefore increase her personal satisfaction.
Here are some planning tips for Go Jane Go:
• Get clear on personal priorities. Taking care of oneself isn’t selfish –
it’s essential to high performance. It might benefit Go Jane Go to create a vis
ion board. Here’s how: set aside a few hours to sit down with a poster-board (or
a smaller piece of blank paper) and a pile of magazines. Go through the magazin
es and cut out images or words that represent “the dream life,” whether it’s a p
icture of a woman with an umbrella drink sitting poolside, a woman running in th
e park with her dog, or a woman sitting in the spa … getting absolutely clear on
personal priorities gives Go Jane Go an idea of exactly where she wants to be –
and she can then determine how to adjust her business accordingly.
• Create a parking lot. Go Jane Go entrepreneurs often have long lists of
desired future accomplishments. For many, those lists cause guilt or frustration
. By giving those lists a specific place to “park,” Go Jane Go entrepreneurs wil
l find they feel less stress because they know their dreams, in written form, ar
e right there in the parking lot – waiting (and they won’t be forgotten). Go Jan
e Go can keep a shorter-term list of ideas and projects in a visible place at al
l times, and she can file longer-term lists in her drawer for regular review. Th
is allows her to keep track of her plans, short- and long-term, and to feel at e
ase knowing those plans are always accessible.
• Consider narrowing the focus of the company’s marketing campaign. If Go
Jane Go feels overwhelmed (it is one of the primary factors in our research’s cl
assification of Go Jane Go), then she might consider actively seeking clients wh
o more ideally fit in with what she enjoys most about her business. For example,
let’s consider a Go Jane Go jewelry designer. Currently, she’s designing weddin
g sets, necklace and earring sets, and jewelry for mothers. Let’s say that she m
ost enjoys creating wedding sets – working with a couple to design a set of ring
s they’ll wear forever truly meets this Go Jane Go’s desire to help people, whil
e using her creativity. Maybe it’s time she considered planning for a slightly d
ifferent future in which she designs only wedding sets. She could narrow her mar
keting specifically to target people looking for wedding jewelry. It may be a fu
ture different than what Go Jane Go originally intended, but she’ll find more jo
y in creating jewelry that brings her together with clients who want the same th
ing she does.
Merry Jane is an entrepreneur who is usually building a part-time or "flexible t
ime" business that gives her a creative outlet (whether she s an ad agency consu
ltant or she makes beautiful artwork) that she can manage within specific constr
aints around her schedule. She may have a day-job, or need to be fully present f
or family or other pursuits. Representing about 19% of women in business, she re
alizes she could make more money by working longer hours, but she s happy with t
he tradeoff she has made because her business gives her tremendous freedom to wo
rk how and when she wants, around her other commitments.
A majority of Merry Jane-run businesses serve as outlets for expressing creativi
ty and skills, and staying connected to professional interests, regardless of bi
gger priorities. Merry Jane business owners tend to judge success by different s
tandards than other business owners. For example, Merry Jane appreciates the fle
xibility to work when, where and as much as she wants. She strives to meet all h
er obligations well, enjoys being recognized for her gifts and talents, and reli
shes the freedom to say no. And when this entrepreneurial type talks about makin
g a contribution to the household, she’s talking more than money: from running h
er house to running her business and everything in between, Merry Jane’s systems
-oriented style keeps her busy and on task – and gives her less time than most o
ther business owner types to work on her business. So for Merry Jane, planning i
s a function of balance: she wants more customers – but not too many.
Here are some tips Merry Jane may consider when planning for her future:
• Find a marketing method that pumps up business, just the right amount. R
esearch shows that most Merry Janes would like to make more money. About 57 perc
ent of Merry Jane entrepreneurs draw less than $25,000 per year, and 75 percent
draw less than $50,000. So while Merry Jane likely wants more customers, she kno
ws that a huge marketing push might generate so many customers, her time freedom
is compromised. The first step is to hone in on a very specific target with a c
lear message, that will attract more ideal clients. A quick and easy way to iden
tify the target market is to survey existing customers. Merry Jane can target mo
re similar customers when she gets the answers to questions about how customers
originally heard about the business, what attracted them to the business, what s
et the business apart and what the business’ biggest benefits are to them. Then,
Merry Jane can find a marketing system that creates a steady stream of customer
s, such as network marketing, affiliate marketing, or referral marketing. By cre
ating a low-investment marketing strategy directed at ideal clients, Merry Jane
can plan for more customers, and more income, in the future.
• Evaluate pricing – and consider raising it. Several factors contribute t
o a situation in which an entrepreneur simply isn’t charging enough. Maybe she “
started low” to win business and never increased rates. Maybe she didn’t know wh
at to charge and isn’t charging rates comparable to others in her industry. Mayb
e she overestimated her profit margin before she actually started running the bu
siness. Several strategies exist for evaluating pricing. The first is to determi
ne what it costs to make a product, and then add a standard markup that represen
ts company profit. The second is to “play the numbers” with the business owner’s
desired hourly rate. For example, let’s say a business owner wants to gross $50
,000, working 20 hours per week (remember, most Merry Jane business owners are p
art-time business owners). Take $50,000, divide it by 52 weeks and multiply it b
y 20 hours. The result: $48.07 per hour. However, consider tweaking the numbers
to add in vacation and holiday time – make it 48 weeks. Plus, an entrepreneur mu
st keep in mind the number of billable hours she works versus the number of othe
r hours she works. Consider that paying bills, checking e-mails, reading the mai
l, marketing, planning and sending invoices aren’t billable tasks. So if a busin
ess owner figures that she spends 60 percent of her time working on billable tas
ks, she needs to adjust her equation again. Let’s take 48 weeks at 12 billable h
ours per week. To reach $50,000 in a year, Merry Jane would have to charge $86.8
1 per hour. By playing with the numbers, an entrepreneur can figure out exactly
how much she needs to charge to make the money she wants – and if she’s not char
ging that much now, then increasing her rates could be part of her planning step
s. By increasing her income, Merry Jane would have a little more freedom to stre
tch the creative muscles she so loves.
Planning for a business’ future means different things for diverse entrepreneurs
. Not every entrepreneur wants rapid growth, and not every entrepreneur feels ov
erwhelmed. The key is to evaluate the current situation, carve out a plan, and d
esign the future.
Interested in learning more about the five Jane types and which Jane you are? Ch
eck out www.janeoutofthebox.com.
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 Assessmen
t at Jane out of the Box. Offering networking and marketing opportunities, key r
esources and mentorship from successful women in business, Jane Out of the Box i
s online at www.janeoutofthebox.com.