Over the last couple of years, there has been much talk about the recent developments in the business world – most of them a logical consequence of the millennial generation gradually getting into suits and taking the reins. One of the most notable changes of pace is definitely improved gender equality. In the period from 2007 to 2018, the number of female-owned businesses rose from 29% to 40%.
This development is truly historic and the amount of skill and persistence that made it possible monumental. Let’s see then a piece of advice the women that built the foundations for this surge in female entrepreneurship have to offer to all aspiring businessman and businesswoman following in their footsteps.
Teamwork doesn’t undermine leadership
There is no denying that being a leader in the business arena requires a certain degree of detachment. Still, in her interview for HuffPost, Monika Kochhar, the CEO of Smart Gifts, states effective decision-making is simply not possible without a second opinion.
“Building the right team and surrounding yourself with positive people are paramount to success in any business. Even as a leader, being part of a team means listening, taking advice and collaborating to achieve goals and navigate obstacles. The overall attitude of those around you can make or break a business”, says Kochhar.
Identify an achievable goal and make a plan
In order to achieve any kind of success, you first need to have a tangible goal. Without it, there is no way of making a working plan or measuring just how far you have gone in achieving it. Jane Wurwand, the co-founder of Dermalogica, has quite a strong opinion on this topic:
“Do a deep dive into your goals of the year. Start writing out what they are, detail what you want to do, who you want to speak to and serve, and most importantly WHY you want to do it. Make it about who it will serve and benefit, and why it is important to you. After that, the ‘how’ you will do it will become more clear.”
Be persistent at self-improving
According to an Australian education foundation that is supporting talented and disadvantaged female students with girls’ scholarships, a girl will earn up to 25% more income for each year of additional education. Tiffany Pham, founder of Mogul, who has moved to Texas at the age of 10 without speaking a word of English and then rose to the top of her class and eventually attended Yale and Harvard is a living example of this claim.
In one article, she recalled a piece of advice she got from her father: “Right now, you are putting in the hours to learn the skills necessary to make that difference. … If you are ever going to pursue starting something, put your heart into it and finish this out. Become the best you can be at it.”
Develop a personal brand
Branding is something that always occurs around us, whether we have active participation in it or not. Lisa Vann, the owner of MeetingPlay, thinks that not only should we take a bigger role in developing the brands of our businesses but our personal brands as well. As it turns out, personal branding can have a substantial role in developing the reputation of your business:
“By having a strong personal brand, you can leverage it to boost your company’s visibility. Steve Jobs owned Apple, but his own personal brand helped leverage the Apple brand. By developing a strong personal brand, you open doors for others to look to you as a thought leader and thus trust your business as well”, says Vann.
Focus on short-term goals
We already covered the importance of having a set goal and a great overarching plan. Kellee Twadelle, the owner Rose & Dove Specialty Gift Shop, highlights that these long-term goals are brought into existence far easier if they are broken into manageable chunks:
“It’s going to take time; it’s not going to happen overnight. Just be patient. Set short-term goals. Don’t think about that ten years when you’re going to be… just so that you understand the success as it’s sort of happening. It might be small, but each of those successes are going to build into something huge and amazing.”
Ensure funding for at least six months
Most of the entrepreneurs who take off with the service-based enterprises think that they’ll be able to run their businesses if they manage to cover up their personal expenses. Keisha Rivers, the founder of a consulting company called The Kars Group Ltd., finds this approach very short-sighted:
“I mistakenly thought I wouldn’t need any capital because my expertise was the ‘product,’” she says. “I didn’t consider website expenses, advertising, professional memberships and a host of other expenses.”
Rivers states that financial concerns caused by this oversight made her first entrepreneurial months very stressful and advises to secure enough operating capital for at least six months before starting.
Don’t try to emulate others’ success
Learning from others’ mistakes can save us a lot of trouble when starting a business. Bad practices are universal. On the other hand, every success story is unique and driven by unique factors that can’t be emulated. Because of that, Content strategist and the driving force behind plagiarismcheck.org, Nancy Christinovich advises us to stop trying to focus on others and play up our unique strengths:
“Be hungry for knowledge and use it to your advantage. Self-awareness and your own vision will help to research the niche and build a professional network. I know many entrepreneurs who tried someone else’s path and failed but succeeded once they decided on own mission and plan, so, live by your core values, not others’.”
We hope these few tips will help you get a clearer picture of what exactly you need to make your first entrepreneurial steps. These women started their journey in the environment that wasn’t exactly welcoming. Their effort leveled the playing field and made the business landscape much more inclusive. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better place to get a piece of advice about entrepreneurship than this.