14 Apr 5 Tips for Women Entrepreneurs
Who run the world? Girls! That’s true! But while women have been breaking barriers for decades, the world is still dominated by men. But that’s okay, Rome was not built in a day. Even as we see media mogul Oprah Winfrey, Facebook chief operations officer Sheryl Sandberg, PepsiCo. chair Indra Nooyi and Kraft chief operations officer Irene Rosenfeld running the world, female entrepreneurs still only make up a third of all entrepreneurs in the world. But the number is steadily increasing.
There is still a long way to go to even out the gender discrepancy in the entrepreneurial world. For one, while powerful women have been chipping away gender bias, the majority of the big bosses are still men. The richest people are still mostly white men. And if women have to make it as an entrepreneur, she needs funding. How do you tell an aged white man to invest in your business proposal when he never grew up with women making it big in the business world. There is also that question of how women, who are mothers, would balance priorities as an entrepreneur, matriarch and wife? There are definitely more challenges that would hinder the success of a woman in business. But here are some important tips for women entrepreneurs.
Embrace being a woman entrepreneur
For decades, women have been fighting to be in a level playing field with the men. That might be so, but women should embrace their femininity. Women should embrace their gender and everything that comes along with it. Yes, there will be more challenges. Yes, the climb will be steeper. But think about the triumph. The feeling of success will be double—the success as an entrepreneur and the success as a woman.
Now is the best time to be a female entrepreneur. Men have dominated the business world for centuries. The most popular businessmen are those who have revolutionized the world like Bill Gates with Microsoft and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. But women who have climbed the corporate ladders are already considered revolutionary because of the difficulty of the achievement. That’s why women entrepreneurs are luckier than men—because they have too many women to look up to. Female entrepreneurs have a lot of role models to inspire them: media mogul Martha Stewart, British designer Cath Kidston, designer Vera Wang, novelist JK Rowling and publisher Arianna Huffington are just among the most popular faces. Budding women entrepreneurs can learn from these leaders in their respective industry. Not only will they share the road to their success, but also stories on how they overcame gender inequality.
Another reason why female entrepreneurs should embrace being a woman is that they would be a more understanding boss. Not all women will be mothers and wives, but all women suffer menstrual cramps. That is already one aspect that makes being a woman more challenging than being a man. Women will make better bosses just because they have more to suffer in their daily lives. And if they choose to become mothers and wives, they would be more understanding with employees who suffer from balancing family life and employment. But don’t mistake understanding from softness. Being more understanding doesn’t mean being more open to work missteps. It only means the female boss will have more insight and may give a direction that would make an employee more productive.
Know your numbers
Now on to the real business stuff. They say that women and numbers don’t really mix. In fact, there are not a lot of women in the mathematics field. However, with business, it is apparent that a woman entrepreneur should know her numbers. Carolyn Rodz, founder of digital platform Alice, said that only two per cent of the U.S.’ venture capital belongs to female entrepreneurs. However, this small percentage is creating 70 per cent of the country’s jobs. Female-led businesses are very powerful to have that kind of authority that empowers other people through employment. So it is important that every businesswoman keeps her business afloat.
Every businesswoman should keep track of her books. While you can hire a bookkeeper for this, treat your business as your baby. You may have a nanny to help you take care of things, but you still need to be on top of the basics. In business, you have to regularly monitor your cash flow—how much money is coming, how much money is coming out. You have to make sure that your expenses are so much lower than your cash inflow. Once you know your numbers, you can start thinking of ways to lower expenses and strategies to increase the money coming in. It is even more crucial to know your numbers when business is not doing too well. By knowing your numbers, you’ll know which budget appropriation you can cut and what part of the expenses can be lowered.
Entrepreneurs also need to expand their knowledge of numbers outside the business. Every business owner should know the economy of the city the business is located, as well as the state and of course, the American economy. She should also know how the competitors are doing financially, and know the business trend—especially those closely related to the one’s business. Knowledge is essential in every plan. This will also give you an idea of whether it is time to branch out or not.
Be friendly with other businesswomen
Women have this unfair reputation of being catty. But actually, women are stronger when they get together and unite. That’s how the #MeToo got so successful—women banded together to topple a media mogul who got away with sexually abusing actresses and staffers for years. Women who were victims of the same abuse supported each other and stepped out of their comfort zone to share their story—no matter how terrible it was. The result is a movement that gave voice to all other victims of sexual abuse around the world. In business, women face the same gender-bias challenges. So instead of being catty, women should support each other.
As a businesswoman, it would be advantageous to attend lectures and forums about improving one’s business. This will give you the opportunity to meet other businesswomen. This way, you will be able to learn from their business experience, and in return, you will be able to impart your own business experience. The great thing about this is you may have similar experiences on the challenges of starting a business as a woman, or the difficulties of balancing family and work life.
Be open to mentorship
Many successful business people love to pay it forward by mentoring new entrepreneurs. It really helps that you are open to learning new things. No matter how learned you are when it comes to business via a degree and post-graduate courses, there are things that experience will teach you that years in university won’t. Experience is the greatest teacher, they say. There are lectures and seminars that would give you added knowledge about business, but there are also entrepreneurs who you can tap for an experience-based mentoring. You should not hesitate about reaching out to successful entrepreneurs for mentorship. Many of them will just be glad to help out. But if there are those who will shun you for wasting their time, well, you will actually lose nothing of importance from it—not money, not your dignity, and certainly not your time. On the other hand, you just learned that that particular entrepreneur may be good with the company, but they are not a good person.
When you do ask for help, make the communication brief—go straight to the point. You know very well how every hour in business counts. Don’t waste the time of a business owner just as you don’t want anyone wasting your time.
Dress the part of a successful businesswoman
This is the best part of being a woman: dressing up and putting on makeup. Okay, this doesn’t work with all women. Some women may prefer simpler attire, but for the most part, women have more alternatives than men when it comes to business outfits. Businessmen are limited with their suits or a button-down shirt and a pair of dress pants. The choices for businesswomen are endless. There is no black-and-white tip on how to dress the part of a successful businesswoman. A decade ago, it was just pantsuits. But over the years, businesswomen have learned that wearing flowery sundresses don’t make them any less powerful. One of the most important factors when dressing the part of a successful businesswoman is that you wear freshly ironed clothes without any missing buttons—if buttons are part of the outfit. Making sure there are no wrinkles in your dress gives the impression that you don’t allow wrinkles in your business as well. It is also important that your dress and shoes are neat, also giving the impression that you keep your work environment clean. The most important part is that you are comfortable in the outfit you choose. Being comfortable in your clothes allows you to walk with pride and power, just as any successful businesswoman would do.
Making it big in the business world may be harder for a woman, but no one can deny that the journey is also more beautiful for a woman.
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