Ann Marie Puig


Ann Marie Puig discusses how female entrepreneurs can overcome the challenges they face

There are more than 12.9 million women-owned businesses in the US, and that number increases dramatically every year. In fact, between 2014 and 2019, American Express’ State of Women-Owned Businesses report stated that “the number of women-owned businesses increased by 21%,” while all businesses, during the same period, increased by only 9%. Women are entering the small business space in record numbers. But if you’re looking to start your own small business, you might be wondering where to start. Ann Marie Puig, a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist from Costa Rica, provides that information.

Use discernment when dealing with something in life. Take your time, do your research. Asserts Puig, “Remember, you are their biggest advocate.” As a businesswoman, it can be hard to find a voice. Many struggles to find a balance between assertiveness and being authentic to herself when meeting with potential partners or customers. “Be confident to stand next to any male or female counterpart because you are talented, aware, informed and you know what you’re doing,” states Puig.

Act, don’t react. This allows entrepreneurs to respond rather than react to issues and challenges that arise and gives them a basis to make decisions and steer their course of action. Consistent, relevant messaging and email marketing that keeps the core values will be an effective marketing tactic to drive sales.

Running a business is not a small feat. After all, sourcing, marketing, selling and delivering products can be an epic task. “Your business is inevitably an extension of yourself,” explains Puig. “In any case, when looking for guidance or inspiration, the only question and relevant person to ask is yourself.”

Most business owners would agree that the impact of the pandemic has affected most of us. Facing a challenge with your small business will never be easy. There will be days that will really test you and times when you’ll want to quit smoking. During these moments, it’s important to remember why it started.

Concentrate on how you can execute this endeavor for your life and family. You need time for yourself and your business. Don’t be afraid to delegate. As a woman-owned company, it’s important to remember that you can’t do it all alone. From creating the business, managing the marketing, balancing the budget and keeping the operations sailing smoothly, running a business is a marathon, not a sprint.

Don’t let brands that have existed longer than you get intimidated and prevented from starting. If anything, use this competition as motivation and recognize that you can bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to your industry. When you’re just getting started, focus on where you can bring the most value to the industry and, at a higher level, to your community. What can you do to differentiate yourself and your business from similar ones? Puig adds, “Leave some room to change and adapt in the first few months so you can quickly follow trends and respond to what your first few months of buyers are doing!”

Remember that you don’t have to do it alone. Seek the company of others who are going through similar situations and can give you advice when you need it most. Entrepreneurship can feel lonely at times. Surround yourself with people who encourage you. Plus, your experience can help someone else!

Launching a business is a personal endeavor, so think about the person at the end of your business objectives. What do they want to achieve? What problem(s) can your company or organization help solve? How can you design your marketing efforts in a way that resonates with your current and future customers?