Ihitashri Shandilya On Top 7 Digital Tools for Women Entrepreneurs
I always loved solving complex Physics problems in my school days. So, when I was a kid, nobody would have predicted that this hardcore science lover would one day fall for art entrepreneurship.Yes, I run a social enterprise MITHILAsmita for the traditional women’s art of India.
However, I still believe technology can empower a woman in ways unprecedented!
So, when I started my social venture, I approached the challenges of the industry like any Physics lover trying to solve a complex problem in random ways and then choosing the easiest possible solution.
I learnt to use all the digital tools available online which could help me in promoting my venture in the most impactful manner. And then chose the ones which could make me do things easily and effectively while attending my home, family and even while breastfeeding my infant. Those days, I literally had zero time to attend the highly recommended networking sessions during the evening hours and bond with entrepreneurs/investors and the overall ecosystem. The first time I travelled outside my city to stay overnight (without my child) was when my daughter was 3! That too, only to attend my final interview for a Fellowship selection.
Now all this didn’t stop me from building my professional network all these years. And it shouldn’t stop you either!
Below are my top 7 tips for any woman entrepreneur who has family commitments in the evening, cannot step out for networking, is breastfeeding, is physically limited or isn’t comfortable socializing very often:
LinkedIn – profile, recommendations, connections
LinkedIn is my most strongly recommended tool for anyone willing to learn, network and grow in the professional world. My best opportunities in life have come through LinkedIn. One new strong connection on LinkedIn, combined with a follow-up email and possibly a personal meeting has the potential to take your business to an altogether different level. Also, use this tool to get yourself endorsed/recommended by a Subject Matter Expert.
A prerequisite to all this is creating a strong profile on LinkedIn! So, don’t miss to update your professional achievements regularly on LinkedIn.
Facebook is an amazing tool to show your personal side to the world and building your personal brand. At the same time, FB also empowers a business to market itself through posts, videos, etc. Besides many other features, FB has a ‘shop’ button and layouts for your business page, which makes it convenient for any small business owner to sell your products/services at almost zero cost.
The paid marketing on FB is also very economical and you can use it to target a specific set of people with a specific taste, of a specific profession and in a specific geographical area.
WordPress – A Website is your brand’s identity
WordPress is one of the most convenient tools to create your own website. I highly recommend all small business owners to learn this tool, as it helps you create your own website at negligible cost. You don’t need a technology background to know WordPress, and there are plenty of videos available online to learn this.
Tools like Canva help you design your social media posts, thoughts and events at negligible costs.
If you see a global potential in your business, join Instagram. In my opinion, nothing connects you to global markets as effectively as Instagram does, provided you use the right hashtags.
Use Twitter to share thoughts and follow SMEs – If you believe you have some great thoughts and ideas, create a following on Twitter using the right hashtags. Also, this is the place to follow subject matter experts/leaders and understand the way they think.
Of all you do, the sincerest message goes across, when people read your words or see you talk. Use YouTube and medium for vlogging and blogging respectively. It helps create authenticity in your brand and the perception of you as a business leader. A video also helps in pitching your idea to a bigger audience in your sincere words.
The above digital tools cover the following areas of entrepreneurship: Marketing, networking, branding, sales, thought leadership and business development. Apart from these, I always advise entrepreneurs to use their original ideas and original images as far as possible. Other’s idea/images should always be properly credited when used.
And the final one: ‘Be the Superwoman. Do it all!’
Ihitashri Shandilya Founder CEO, of MITHILAsmita. Her venture is a folk art preservation and promotion organization working for the ancient Indian art, Mithila Paintings.