Female entrepreneurs must pay special attention to pricing their products and services, to avoid replicating the gender gap evident in paid employment in the entrepreneurship sector, says Gugu Mjadu, executive general manager for marketing at Business Partners.
According to Mjadu, remuneration is one of the major factors still creating a gender gap in the South African work and business environment, and it exists equally in the entrepreneurship sector.
As such, Mjadu says female entrepreneurs should pay special attention to this fact, and ensure they price their skills, products and services accordingly.
“Although a gender gap still exists in the workplace, female entrepreneurs should not focus on this and undersell their experience and capabilities when pricing their products and services,” says Mjadu.
“Female entrepreneurs should remember that although their small business is relatively new, the price paid for products and services does not need to match the age of the business. Women, more so than men, tend to ignore the years of experience they may have gained in previous employment and business ventures – despite this being the foundation of their business expertise.”
Mjadu says that as companies increasingly are turning to internal resources, competition is increasing, meaning that pricing becomes an even more important consideration. Underpricing services could have a severe impact on the future of a business, under these circumstances, she says.
“While all business owners tend to find the task of pricing their offerings a challenge, female entrepreneurs however should pay particular attention to pricing their products correctly to avoid widening the gender pay gap. We advise female entrepreneurs to carefully analyse their pricing structures as pricing shouldn’t also be a deterrent that keeps potentially powerful women from entrepreneurship, and from contributing to the growth of the South African economy,” says Mjadu.
Mjadu advises on ways in which entrepreneurs can approach their pricing structures, such as comparing pricing with competitor companies, to ensure entrepreneurs neither over, or underprice their products.
Entrepreneurs should also consider setting different fee structures for different types of clients, such as offering package prices, alongside hourly rates; while also making provision for various types of payment schedules.
Prices should be set bearing in mind practical expenses, she adds.
Finally, Mjadu says entrepreneurs should always be open to forming partnerships with a view to being capable of offering comprehensive services to clients, rather than forcing clients to navigate a fragmented market of niche small businesses competing for work.