Women – Are You Selling Yourself Short? Pricing For a Healthy Business

A few years ago, Vlasic Pickles teamed up with Walmart to sell a gallon of pickles for the unheard of price of $2.97. They sold over 240,000 gallons of pickles a week. Vlasic loved the sales numbers, only to discover that profits were shrinking by 25% or more, since they only made a penny or two of profit on each jar. Vlasic filed for bankruptcy in 2001.

This story (fully described in Fast Company December ’03 issue), highlights a vital point. In general, we want to price with a goal of maximizing profits, not sales volume. Too often, business owners look at gross revenues (sales), when the net profit is what really matters. We could have sales of $250,000 a year, or $1 million, and be losing money. More sales do not necessarily mean more profit. Having sound accounting and analyzing financial reports regularly are essential. It’s important to remember that profit is not a dirty word. A business must earn a profit to stay in business. Whether a particular business’ profit is fair or is excessive is another matter – that could be the subject of another article!

Why Women Underprice in Their Businesses

Underpricing is a common problem for women entrepreneurs, which happens for several reasons, one of which may be that we don’t know how to properly set a price that will yield a fair profit. Another reason is we often undervalue ourselves and our product and/or service. Furthermore, many of us have concerns about fair economic access to our products and services.

Pricing basics

The first problem of understanding the best way to approach pricing one’s product or service is solved by getting sound business advice, which is readily available at small business centers around the nation.

There are many methods for pricing for service businesses, retail operations and manufacturers. Going into many of them would be too extensive for this article. However, the basic parameters are easily set. Costs determine our lowest price and must include overhead expenses, marketing costs, R & D, etc. Demand and competition determine our highest price.

Self-worth

Another reason for underpricing is that we often undervalue ourselves. It’s only in the past decade or two that women have been business owners in the large numbers that currently exist. Most new business owners, whether male or female, do not have extensive prior experience in running a business. Women have the additional challenge of overcoming our internalized devaluation of ourselves, especially in the business world. We may feel unqualified or undereducated. Where men might have the tendency to understand and properly value (or sometimes overvalue) their product or service, this is usually not the case with women.

Related to this, we may also underprice so customers will think we’re reasonable and nice. In charging full worth for our products or service, we value not only ourselves but others, because we know that they will receive full value from what they buy. Charging too little for our product or service ultimately devalues both the customer and us. Have you ever had someone charge you too little? You may well have felt bad because you were getting away with something, or you may have paid that person more because otherwise it wouldn’t have felt right. I’ve done both. We must get the help we need to fully value ourselves.

To handle this, we need to get a more objective evaluation of the worth of our product or service. First, we must come to terms with our own worth, through our own inner work with or without the help of friends, therapists, etc. Then we need to do market research. We must know what competitors are charging. This doesn’t mean we charge what they charge, but we need to think through the reasons to charge less, the same or more. Any of these may be effective and profitable, depending on our business.

Equity & social justice

Another reason we might underprice is that we want to have our service and products available to a wide spectrum of people, not just those with higher incomes. This comes from valuable ideals of social justice. Instead of lowering our prices across the board, perhaps to the point of inadequate profits, we can offer unadvertised discounts or sliding scale prices, when appropriate. Another approach is, in our marketing materials, to invite prospective customers to inquire about opportunities for low-income people. If we offer too much at low prices or pro bono, we may end up out of business. Then we can’t help anyone!

Sell on value, not price

The key benefit of our product or service should not be having a low price or the lowest price. This turns our product or service into a commodity (as in the Vlasic pickle story), which is something to be avoided at all costs, no pun intended. We will do best to sell on value. Lowering our prices may result in competitors lowering theirs, so we gain nothing and actually lose. As Bill Caskey wrote in Same Game, New Rules, “The real question is not “what’s the price?” although that is what the prospect asks. It’s really, ‘Is there value in changing from my current situation without this product?’ ”

Cash flow

Sometimes we need cash quick, and lowering prices can accomplish that. However for long-term profitability, we may need a higher price. Remember, our product or service helps people solve their problems. The good news is that there are plenty of problems to be solved. So if some potential customers find our prices too high and we have fully explained the value they’ll receive, we can let them go, knowing there are plenty who will see the value and buy from us. Changing our pricing may not be the solution, but rather developing our communication skills.

Raising prices

It’s the same with raising prices. We may gain customers. However, competitors may raise theirs, too, and keep their existing customers. If we raise prices and sales decline, it’s not automatically a bad thing. We need to examine our net profits. If our profits are the same or higher, we’re okay. Also, if sales decline, we should see if there has been an overall market decline, rather than a decline in our market share.

In summary, analyze the pros and cons that affect various pricing options you have. If you have extensive industry knowledge, trust your intuition on pricing. Review your pricing frequently, but don’t change it frequently. It’s good to experiment in the beginning, but after the start-up phase, change your pricing only if there is some fundamental change in your product, service or market. Do your homework, experiment scientifically, and don’t get yourself into a pickle!

Women Empowerment – Myth Or Reality

Empowerment of any section of a society is a myth until they are conferred equality before law. The foundation of freedom, justice and fraternity is based on the recognition of the inherent dignity and of equal and inalienable rights to all the members of the society. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10th December 1948, envisaged in Article 2 that “every one is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this declaration without distinction of any kind.”

It has traditionally been accepted that the thread of family weaves the fabric of Indian society. Women are considered as the hub center of the family. Still, in the era of political domination by foreigners, the women in India suffered most. A few social reform measures were taken towards the later 19th and early 20th century during the British regime. The inception of Mahatma Gandhi in the National freedom movement ushered a new concept of mass mobilization. Women constituted about 50% of the country’s total population, he, therefore, involved women in the nation’s liberation movement. The mass participation of women directly in the freedom struggle was the great divide in the history of (Feminist movement) empowerment of women. They shed age-old disabilities and shared the responsibility of liberation of their motherland with their counter parts. The freedom of India thus became synonymous with the empowerment of women. In this context the date of India’s political freedom (August 15, 1947) is a landmark in the history of women empowerment in India. It brought in its wake a great consciousness in our society for human dignity. It was realized that every citizen of independent India be accorded equal treatment under the law.

This is the urban age and Women along with men are here to make an impact, let’s not ignore them, let’s listen and prioritize them. In almost all societies through history, Women have occupied secondary position vis-à-vis men.

Women’s rights and issues have always been a subject of serious concern of academicians, intelligentsia and policy makers. From pastoral society to contemporary information and global society, the role of Women has changed drastically. The role of a typical “Grihani” (house wife) who catered to all the requirements of the house holds including the rearing and upbringing of children in various sub roles of daughter, daughter-in-law, wife, mother, aunt etc. has been played quite efficiently. The continuity of changes in socio-economic and psycho-cultural aspects of human living has influenced the role of Women. With the process of Industrialization, Modernization and Globalization showing its deep impact on the human society all over the world, the role and responsibilities of Women has attained new definition and perspective. Further this has also led to addition of responsibilities and widened the role of Women who also shares the financial responsibilities.

The Women issues have received tremendous attention in the planning circle and in wide intellectual discussions and forums at national and global platforms. However the existing lacuna in the formulation and execution of the policies has not changed the grass root situation to a great extent. On the encouraging front, in the South Asian countries there have been relatively increasing economic participation in past one decade. Statistically the rate of literacy among Women has also increased. The educational and occupational patterns have also changed and widened with Women entering the domains, which till decade back was considered to be dominated by men. Further there has been encouraging rise in the percentage of the Women joining service sector especially Banking and Information Technology. In the background of the gigantic transformation, the core issue, which still remains unanswered, is that of Women’s right and empowerment.

The Women rights are the means by which a dignified living is ensured thereby safeguarding her privileges. Thus the basic fundamental rights of speech, freedom and decision-making are her basic rights as an individual and citizen. The right for education and employment are significant for Women development and national development in the wider sense. The power and freedom to exercise these rights is Women empowerment. Women rights and empowerment are not independent of each other. The Women empowerment can only be facilitated only if she is able to exercise her right in the socio-economic spheres of decision-making.
AN OVERVIEW

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/916590

Economic Empowerment of Women

When we talk about “economic empowerment of women” we must understand that the biggest problem that women face today is that their work is not recognized at all. Women have always contributed to the society and the economy in the form of a helping hand in agriculture and food production in the developing countries and in the form of part time and temporary workers in developed countries. This is apart from their role as a homemaker which is not even valued economically. In fact the recent statistics of the UN tell us that 53% of work in developing countries is carried out by women and out of $ 16 trillion global output which is invisible, $ 11 trillion is contributed by women. Even after so much contribution there is a lack of acknowledgement regarding the role of women in every sphere of life. The problem is actually much larger than what we perceive and therefore the issue is not just about economic empowerment of women. It is in fact about the deep rooted bias and discrimination against women that is prevalent in the society.

Economic empowerment of women: Discrimination against women

It is ironical and sad to note that that there is a wide scale discrimination against women in virtually all aspects of life. She is in a disadvantageous and deprived position even as regards to basic rights like the right to education and health. Further, she does not have access to capital or other resources to make an informed choice in her life. Women are kept out of the decision making power structure in every sphere of life including the political, economic, social and religious structures of the society. Coming back to the question of an active contribution made by women in economic terms or otherwise, we find that the society happily laps up the labour efforts of women in every part of the world but when it comes to sharing the spoils of that labour she is kept out. This is not only happening in the developing countries but it is also true for the developed countries where the majority of women who are working in the informal economies as part-time workers have less access to basic health care services, education, financial resources, employee rights and land ownership. If we look at the “decision-making structure” in any field whether it be economic, social, political or religious arena then we will find that it becomes virtually impossible for women to climb up the ladder and reach the positions that matter because of open discrimination and bias. But we cannot sit with all these problems and loathe about it. Somewhere we have to make a beginning and making a beginning at the economic front is the best step forward.

Economic empowerment of women: Income generation and increased flow of capital in the hands of women

A major initiative that is needed for changing the situation for women is to increase the flow of capital in the hands of women. More the women get financially empowered and generate income the more is the chance of her overall development and progress. This is because of the fact that women use a major chunk of their income for providing themselves and their family better healthcare, education and nutrition. Moreover, steady income in hand makes women more confident to take economic and other decisions related to her family. It has been seen that when women start earning they also adopt more of environmentally friendly lifestyle as well as they tend to have lower fertility rates leading to fewer children. Overall we can see that more the women are economically and financially sound more they become capable of making informed choices about their life. Stable income and financial independence lead to improvement and progress of women through various efforts like contraception, an age of marriage, fertility, child mortality and modern sector employment. Economic empowerment of women leading to steady income generation and financial independence will therefore definitely help women take decisions and select the best among choices in their personal and professional life.