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Every female business owner has probably experienced it: just as her business is humming along, pulling in profits, picking up patrons, things slow down. Sometimes, they slow way down. For both the experienced entrepreneur and the fresh-faced business owner, it’s imperative that the cash flow slow down doesn’t come as a surprise, and that it’s handled with careful consideration.


A recent study from Jane Out of the Box, an authority on women entrepreneurs, revealed there are five distinct types of women in business. Each of these five types has unique approach to running a businessâ€"and as a consequence, each of them has a unique combination of characteristics and factors. This article profiles two of the Jane “types” and the different ways they may handle cash flow issues.


Jane Dough is an entrepreneur who enjoys running her business and makes good money. 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.


Always the planner, Jane Dough may have predicted the cash flow decrease because she’s carefully watching her revenue streams and bottom line.  Even if caught unaware by an unanticipated drop, she in objectively aware of business peaks and valleys and will have a plan in place for this eventuality.


Despite Jane Dough’s planning skills, she may benefit from pausing a moment to consider the following:   

  • Examine the reason for the downturn, especially if it was unexpected.  Jane Dough relies heavily on systems, delegating and trusting her team.  She may, however, be moving at such a rapid pace toward her growth goals that she fails to recognize a flaw in her system that may be causing her to lose opportunity or may be contributing to a cash flow pinch.  If Jane Dough experiences an unexplained decrease in cash flow, she should carefully examine the system and interview members of her team to ascertain whether there are systemic changes that would strengthen the business for the long term.  

  • Check in with priorities before taking cash-producing action.  Jane Dough is very clear in her priorities, whether it’s prioritizing her work and personal time, or prioritizing various aspects of her work life.  In the face of declining cash flow, Jane Dough needs to examine those priorities and make sure she’s putting time and energy into the right areas. If she’s pouring resources into a product or service that isn’t paying off, she won’t have any trouble putting an end to it.

  • Look into the future. Sometimes Jane Dough’s in such a hurry to fix things right away that she doesn’t really see the potential payoff of waiting things out. This cash flow problem may be part of a normal economic cycle, and if Jane Dough reacts too fast by changing her product or downsizing her team, she may be sorry later. Sometimes it’s best to take the “slow and steady” approach, recognizing that patience now may pay dividends later.


Tenacity Jane is an entrepreneur with an undeniable passion for her business, but who is struggling with ongoing cash flow challenges. As a result, she’s working longer hours, and making less money than she’d like. Nevertheless, Tenacity Jane is bound and determined to make her business a success. At 31% of women in business, Tenacity Janes are the largest single Jane type.


Although cash flow issues are plaguing Tenacity Jane’s business, there are concrete steps she can take to turn the company financials in a positive direction:   


  • Create a long-term plan and budget.  In this plan and budget, Tenacity Jane should carefully consider what she can realistically sell, given the number of hours and available people to do the work.  Often, Tenacity Jane struggles with cash flow because she is not charging enough for the products and services her company provides.  Only a critical review of realistic revenues vs. associated costs will help her understand the viability of the business with its current pricing strategy.

  • Create daily, weekly, or monthly revenue goals to deliver against that plan.  In order to turn the business around, Tenacity Jane can set clear goals for how much income she needs to create on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis in order to hit her goals.  By staying focused on the immediate term needs, the task feels less daunting and more action-oriented.

  • Take action.  There are two primary reasons businesses have cash flow problems â€" either the amount charged is insufficient to create enough profit OR the business does not have enough customers to keep it afloat.  The two prior steps will help Tenacity Jane understand whether her business is struggling from the former, the latter, or both.  Armed with this knowledge, she needs to take consistent action, each and every day, to close the gaps in pricing and/or increase the customer base.  Along the way, it is important to recognize and reward yourself for every action you take â€" even if it doesn’t appear to be paying off immediately.  Remember that Thomas Edison said, “Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.”  Reward yourself for every drop of sweat â€" because that effort will undoubtedly payoff.


Although no business owner wants to have to deal with cash flow problems, every one does, at some point. Various entrepreneurs, like Jane Dough and Tenacity Jane, are likely to react in various ways, but each one can learn something from the others.


Interested in learning more about the five Jane types and which Jane you are? Check out


This Business article was written by Michele DeKinder-Smith on 12/29/2009

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