When thinking about the world of business it is unfortunate that the images which still immediately come to mind are those of men in sharp suits wielding briefcases and talking animatedly into a mobile shouting ‘BUY BUY, SELL SELL’. Ok perhaps that’s a little extreme, but it’s fair to say that prejudices are still out there and in business it can often still be a man’s world, even though female entrepreneurs are getting wider acclaim and celebrating more success every day.
So what is it that still perhaps stops a woman from achieving her destiny in the business world?
¥ Confidence in promoting yourself
It’s pretty common to want to launch a business without having a healthy stack of qualifications in marketing or business studies to your name – but don’t let this put you off. Don’t know how to put a business plan together? Buy a book and read up on it. Not sure how to go about marketing your new venture? Go online and do the research. These simple ways to self-educate will have huge impact on the success of your business, and boost confidence, and because you are doing this yourself (and perhaps your family) will mean that the passion you have for your idea and it’s ultimate success will drive you to dig out the essential information you need.
And don’t forget Social Media as a promotional and marketing tool – but again, research the best platform for your business and then when you know the where and the what, make sure you know the ‘how’. Be consistent with your posts/tweets and grow your followers steadily. Most of all, if you are starting out as a business owner – you already believe in yourself so nurture this confidence, and write down these words once every day – ‘I will succeed’. And you will!
¥ The age old chestnut of ‘Trying To Do It All’
Let’s face it, a LOT of businesswomen are also mothers. And the pressure to be the perfect Mum and achieve high echelons of success in life is huge and can often stand in the way of going it alone as an entrepreneur.
“Working women face the expectation to do well in all areas of their multi-faceted lives. In general, men are judged by how well they do in their careers, while women are judged by how well they excel with family, friends, ‘looking their best’ and, if they work, their career. It’s a struggle to find enough time in the day to focus on them all! My advice is to really understand what is important to you, set goals and put a plan in place to reach them. At the same time, keep in mind that during any part of your life, you can’t do it all. Thus, it’s important to focus on the positive and what you have at the time.” – Christine Wheeler, founder of Drazil Kids Tea
¥ Having ‘The Fear’
Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear that no-one will want to listen to you. It’s real and present, but actually women have one over on men in this department, as they are generally a lot more inclined to talk about these fears with their close circle of friends and peers. And women are excellent at bolstering each other’s confidence so they are lot more likely to find a way past the fear. Mistakes and ‘perceived failures’ are just opportunities waiting to be found. This is where real growth and development takes place and if you can embrace and recognise these fears, and find a way to learn from them – often new routes forward become apparent and the end result is hugely positive. The key thing to remember is to not let fear overwhelm you or stop you in your tracks, push on and be brave – and the path will lead to success.
¥ Money’s Too Tight To Mention
“Women face greater obstacles than men when starting and growing businesses, especially when it comes to receiving angel and venture capital. Though it might be unintentional, men fund people who look and sound just like them, and the consequences are just as harmful as if there was malicious aforethought. Don’t do it alone! [Seek] advice from a variety of sources, including co-founders, professional advisers such as accountants and lawyers, peer advisory groups, CEO mastermind groups, boards of advisers, and family members.” – Geri Stengel, author of “Forget the Glass Ceiling: Build Your Business Without One” (Dell, 2014)
¥ Lacking in Knowledge or Experience
Where better to turn to for help and support but someone who has been through it all themselves? It might feel overwhelming to try and learn the ropes all on your own, but start out by identifying a few carefully chosen people who you admire and who have perhaps fought against the odds to achieve great success. These might be inspirational friends or family with their own businesses, or the Chief Exec of a company or organisation that is relevant in your chosen sector – most people who have been through the learning curve of starting out as an entrepreneur would be delighted to share experiences and talk about the bad times (and the good times!) and will probably be flattered to act as a mentor or guide to you.
If you want some further advice, contact IN-Consultancy; firstname.lastname@example.org.