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To know where a business is going, an entrepreneur must know where it’s been. In setting and achieving effective goals for her company, then, a business owner should study its past performance and the performance of its many systems.


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 2,500 women in business, this study shows that each type of business owner has a unique approach to running a business â€" and therefore each one has a unique combination of needs. This article outlines two of the five types and provides tips for tracking a business’ systems and using information gleaned during that research to provide a strong future.


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


For this business owner, measuring performance is absolutely imperative because doing so will allow her the opportunity to see which systems are working and which aren’t, and therefore, to better leverage her limited resources.


By talking candidly with customers, Tenacity Jane can learn a lot about which aspects of her company bring in money, and which do not. Many Tenacity Jane business owners lack a singular focus, and therefore, they are working on a variety of things at once. It’s likely that a Tenacity Jane may try advertising in several venues at the same time, believing that if she advertises in many places, she has a better chance of catching a customer’s attention. However, she may be better served by her marketing efforts if she performs some research to determine where customers are really finding out about her. For example, let’s say she’s spending several hundred dollars per month advertising in the newspaper and on the radio. In talking to customers, she learns that most of them don’t read the newspaper, but they heard her ad on the radio. She could save money by skipping the newspaper advertising, or make her spending more effective by pumping it only into radio advertising.


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, thus 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.


Many of the Accidental Jane entrepreneurs we interviewed expressed a high level of contentment. They are happy with the amount of money they make, and they are often working the way they want, with whom they want, at the times they want, without feeling overloaded. Some, though, reported feeling stressed as their business ebbs and flows, depending on their marketing efforts. For Accidental Jane, measuring performance metrics can provide two basic improvements to her lifestyle: it can maintain consistency in Accidental Jane’s workload, and it can help her to increase her profit without much additional effort.


Because she is a consummate professional, Accidental Jane’s customers usually provide her with positive feedback. This is a great way to gather testimonials (just ask!), and it’s also a gauge of what’s working. Accidental Jane also can create an effortless, automated marketing system that helps her maintain her workflow, and then she can use software to determine which marketing technique is drawing customers. She may use tweets to draw people to her web site, and/or send out a weekly newsletter. Software can keep track of which people visited her web site after receiving tweets, and which visited after receiving a weekly newsletter â€" and which of those bought a product or service. In this way, Accidental Jane can almost effortlessly keep track of which of her marketing techniques are working, and which aren’t.


No matter how successful a business owner and her business are, she can make continued improvements by paying careful attention to which systems are working. Whether she can dedicate more resources to a more successful marketing campaign or take the resources from a weaker campaign and put them toward another business need, tracking performance metrics allows her to maximize efficiency and capitalize on success.  


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 3/19/2010

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