More and more women are entering the entrepreneurial world, and they face some unique challenges that men do not even think twice about. Challenges like the need to live up to the expectations of being a wife and mom, and the fear of not being respected are just two of many that I faced when I started my company.
The truth is that starting a business has its obstacles, but it can also be an incredibly rewarding and exciting journey. Here are six useful tips to help you overcome the challenges women entrepreneurs face as you make you way up the ladder to success.
- Follow your instincts
Women are known to be more intuitive than men. We feel the right answers in our “gut”. Women can usually assess a situation or a person at 50 paces! And while the guys would probably require research and investigation, a woman can often instinctively gauge what’s right and what’s wrong. So don’t feel too put off by not getting immediate validation from friends and family when you pitch your idea to them.
If you believe in your great idea, and you’ve chewed over it again and again, and it still feels right, then don’t listen to those with 100 reasons why you shouldn’t start a business: find the one good reason why you should…and go for it.
- Stop looking for validation from others, and embrace your own ingenuity
Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks. After all, many highly successful businesses today were once thought to be totally crazy ideas. This is your idea – your business. No one else had the vision or the sheer guts to start it: you did. There’s nothing wrong with getting feedback from people before you launch, but don’t listen to those who put you down immediately, with no basis for their opinion.
- Be grateful and appreciate what you have
Stop comparing your level of success with everybody else. This can be a real cause of despair and depression. Be grateful for what you have achieved, where you are in the climb up that very steep hill; stop and take a breather, enjoy the view of where you’ve come from, and keep on moving.
Remind yourself that you work for yourself, and that is amazingly valuable. Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy, but be grateful for the opportunity to pursue your dreams.
- Take risks and invest resources for growth
If you’re committed to growing your business, you can’t be afraid to invest in that growth. Think of your kitchen for a moment (it’s the source of much wisdom after all). You can’t make omelets without breaking eggs. Stop worrying about how many eggs you’re breaking and think of the amazing omelets you are creating. Focus on making each investment worthwhile.
Obviously you have to manage your capital well. This is crucial to the success of any new business. But good management doesn’t mean penny-pinching. Don’t develop a fixation on trying to save as much as possible to prevent loss of capital money. This can lead to missing out on great opportunities. To make money, you sometimes have to spend money, first. Don’t try to cut corners, rather focus on making worthwhile investments that will result in a good return.
I’m not suggesting that you throw your money away, but sometimes taking risks is the best thing you can do to move your business forward. You need to be able to identify the difference between a strategic risk and a waste of an expenditure. Crunch the numbers and feel confident in your decision.
- Don’t let failure get you down
A wise man once said: “Try, fail, try again, fail better….!” Somebody else, probably a boxing coach added this snippet of wisdom: “I don’t care if you get knocked down 10 times…just get up 11…”
There is a still an attitude of “women can’t do it like men can,” but don’t let people who think this way affect you. You are probably going to fail in one way or another – and so is everybody else who tries to start a business, male or female. Use your failure as a learning experience and analyze what happened and why. Apply it to the next attempt and improve on your business skills.
Just make sure you get up one more time than you fall down.
- Set specific goals
You need to turn your business idea and vision into a practical and viable business. Draft a plan: breakdown your vision into bite-sized chunks of short, medium, and long-term objectives. You can then decide on which action to take every day; and cross off the objectives and tasks as you achieve them. Knowing what you need to do – and what you’ve successfully completed – on a daily basis makes it easier to run your business.
These 6 tips significantly helped me as I was starting my business – they helped boost my morale and kept me motivated and on the right track. Keep these pieces of advice in mind as you start down your journey as a woman entrepreneur, and you will be more likely to overcome any obstacles that may block your path.