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Traditionally, business owners may think of marketing as printing glossy brochures, placing advertising in print media, filming television commercials or recording radio ads. With the advent of the Internet and its continued ascent as a popular way to communicate, marketing has entered a whole new atmosphere. Whether a female business owner craves fast growth or desires a steady stream of income, she can take steps to put a marketing system in place to fit her needs.


A recent study from Jane Out of the Box, an authority on female entrepreneurs, reveals there are five distinct types of women in business. Based on professional market research of more than 1,000 women in business, this study shows that each type of business owner has a unique approach to running a business and therefore each one has a unique combination of needs. This article outlines three of the five types and provides tips for creating marketing strategies that meet the needs of 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, 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 entrepreneurs fall in the category of Jane Dough.


Most Jane Dough business owners want their businesses to grow â€" and fast. Of all the five types, she’s the most likely to say she has a long-term vision of what she wants her company to be. Nearly all Jane Doughs say they have aggressive plans, and two-thirds of them want to deliver growth of 25 percent or more during the next few years. So what is Jane Dough looking for, in terms of marketing, and how can she get it?


·         Return on Investment. Jane Dough is less worried about cash flow than her counterparts, even though she takes home less money than other successful entrepreneurs. This is because she reinvests more in her business to sustain high levels of growth. So she wants her investments to pay off. Therefore, Jane Dough is likely to invest only in marketing that she’s researched and that she believes will pay off. When she does invest, she’ll invest big. And because she has done the research, it will pay off.

·         Systematic, measurable marketing. Jane Dough is thrilled to spend her time managing the business, fine-tuning the operations and marketing (as opposed to other types, who love “doing the work” of their business). Because she enjoys strategizing, she will want a marketing system she can track, so she can determine its success. For example, if she markets her web site and uses that to drive business, she may want a system in place to keep track of how many people visit the site, and how many of these visitors then make purchases from the site or call for services. She may consider a direct-mail campaign for people who visit the site and ask for more information but don’t buy â€" and could track those customers by using a coupon or special offer.  She sees running her business as a kind of game â€" while she takes it seriously, she is in this for the long-term and enjoys tweaking her systems here and there for increased success.


Merry Jane. This entrepreneur is usually building a part-time or “flexible time” business that gives her a creative outlet (whether she’s an ad agency consultant or she makes beautiful artwork) that she can manage within specific constraints around her schedule. 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 tradeoff she has made because her business gives her tremendous freedom to work how and when she wants, around her other commitments.


Because Merry Jane so values her time freedom, she must consider marketing systems that don’t require her to put in much extra time but still drive work her way. Finding the right balance means maintaining that time freedom and growing her revenue. Here are some tips for doing just that:


·         For maximum marketing efficiency, Merry Jane must determine exactly who her marketing will target, and why this population will purchase her product or services. In doing so, her marketing will be as efficient as possible â€" so whatever time she does invest will produce a greater return. To easily and quickly determine her target market, Merry Jane can ask existing customers why they chose her and what they enjoy about working with her.

·         Slow-growth strategies that build relationships over time. Many Merry Jane entrepreneurs juggle several responsibilities (such as taking care of the kids and household, taking care of aging parents or even working another full-time job).  They want to meet those obligations well and have smooth-running lives â€" so they must implement processes that maximize efficiency. Networking, affiliate marketing and referral marketing all utilize processes that could take up as much or as little of Merry Jane’s time as she wanted â€" and have the potential to produce new clients and to boost her bottom line.


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 a layoff and then she decided to use 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 good money. About 18% of all women business owners fit the Accidental Jane profile.


Most Accidental Jane business owners are satisfied with the lifestyles they’ve created. They enjoy the freedom of choosing who they’ll work with and what kinds of projects they’ll work on. They enjoy the flexibility of owning their own businesses and not being tied to employers or employees. Their biggest challenge: the ups and downs of business, which result from the proportional downs and ups in their marketing efforts. When Accidental Jane is busy, she doesn’t put much effort into marketing. When things slow down, she steps up the marketing efforts until she’s busy again. The cycle continues, causing stress when business is slow, and stress when it picks up so much that it becomes overwhelming. What’s the solution?


  • Keep Up the Good Work. In many cases, Accidental Jane is successful because she is highly skilled and committed to excellence in her work and in customer service. Often, Accidental Jane left the corporate workforce and struck out on her own, and her sterling reputation followed her, attracting business through referral and word of mouth. This, in itself, is a great marketing technique and as long as Accidental Jane continues to do the good work she demands of herself, she will thrive.

  • Despite a great reputation and a stream of word of mouth referrals, Accidental Janes we surveyed expressed that they would like to level out cash flow. When Accidental Jane becomes engrossed in a project, she rarely takes the time to follow up on leads. A few tips to even out cash flow: if work is almost too abundant, she can say “yes” to only projects that fit a list of specific criteria and consider delegating less important tasks to an assistant. To keep the work flowing in, she can create an effortless, automated marketing system, such as a weekly tips newsletter or a “tweet bank,” which allows entrepreneurs to create dozens of tweets at once and then send them out on an automated schedule of her choosing. Also, she should remember to gather testimonials as projects wrap up, so they’re always at hand for marketing materials or as references (a note on testimonials: they don’t have to be forced or formal. Just acknowledge someone who gives the company a compliment and ask if it can be used as a testimonial. Type it out and send it to them for review. Use these testimonials on a web site or brochure, or just mention them in casual conversation).  


Whether a female entrepreneur is striving for fast growth or just looking to maintain what she’s built, she can use marketing to get exactly that. With today’s marketing options ranging from traditional materials to 140-character messages on mobile devices, anything is possible â€" and being a business owner is more challenging and more rewarding because of it.


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 1/27/2010

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