Establishing and owning a new business can bring up a lot of emotions, including excitement, fear, drive, confusion, and confidence. Every new business is unique, and whether this is your first entrepreneurial endeavour or not, it’s bound to come with a few challenges.
Take a look at some successful businesswomen who have come before you. Following in their footsteps can help your business attain the same success and allows you to focus on getting through new obstacles, rather than solving the same ones that other women have already gotten through. Try reading books by or about successful women—a little inspiration might be the push you need to start gaining confidence.
We’ve put together a list of tips for running a successful business to help you kick-start your business engine.
Seize Opportunities When They Are Presented to You and Create Them When They Aren’t
When you’re starting something new, it’s important to look at every situation as an opportunity, whether it seems to be one or not. Take advantage of the resources, network, and time you have, knowing that nothing in life is permanent—they may not always be available to you.
Making your own opportunities may mean stepping out of your comfort zone. It can be intimidating at first but successful business owners learn how to do so. You then will be able to see even more opportunities that you weren’t aware of before.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Sometimes, women find it hard to ask for help from fellow entrepreneurs. This shouldn’t be the case according to Alexandra Lebenthal, President and CEO of Lebenthal & Company. She says, “Ask and she shall receive! Women often find it hard to ask for things, whether it’s a business opportunity or a salary raise. We simply expect others to recognize our value and hard work. Asking for what you want in a gracious, thoughtful way often results in getting what you want, so put your fears aside and ask for what you want. You might just get it!”
Running a business doesn’t mean you have to do everything by yourself either. When you hire a team, you should expect them to do their job. Build your team, delegate, and remember that you’re not being bossy, you’re being efficient.
Failing to ask for help when you need it can leave a business owner overwhelmed, overtired, and overstressed, which is when mistakes happen. It’s much better to have a competent team or a mentor who can offer advice or help so you can stay on top of things, than to forget to lock up at night, fail to pay your taxes, or miscalculate inventory because you’re unable to focus due to the amount of work you need to do.
Maintain Your Network
When it comes to asking for help, it’s always a good idea to have a network of helpful people whose expertise and resources you can tap into. However, a reliable network is made of relationships, and needs care and maintenance. When you meet someone new, send a note to follow up. Networking isn’t only on LinkedIn—if you own a business don’t be afraid to discuss it at every opportunity such as socially in the coffee shop, in the dog park, or at your child’s soccer game. Sometimes, the best people to add to your network are found in the most unexpected of places.
Talking about your business isn’t selfish. Forming and maintaining a network will open you up to new opportunities for growth that you may not find without it.
Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks
Building a successful business means taking chances, and sometimes, that means failure. Use failure as a platform for learning and remember that you only need to succeed once. You can fail as many times as it takes—the experience you get as you move forward will only serve to give you the proper insights needed to improve your business.
So, don’t be afraid to take risks. Trust your instincts, and take risks on yourself, on your business, and on possible opportunities. Owning a business is, in itself, already a risk. Without having taken that risk, your business would not exist. Learning to calculate and mitigate risk is an important part of business ownership.
Learn to Accept Criticism, but Don’t Let It Define You
Being a businesswoman means you’re a potential target for criticisms from different sources such as your colleagues, fellow businesswomen, your team, clients, family, and even yourself. Learning to analyse criticisms and use it to your advantage not only makes it easier for you to improve your business, it also gives you insights on what others want—a potential tool that you can use to better your products or service.
As such, the ability to ask for an opinion, take criticism, and learn from it, is an extremely valuable tool in business ownership. Learn to tell the difference between constructive and destructive criticism. Remember that destructive criticism isn’t meant to help you, and generally isn’t all that accurate anyway. Constructive criticism, however, can certainly be helpful if you listen and apply what you learn from it. Remember, it’s not personal!
For women just entering the business scene, it definitely helps to gain contacts and insights from those who have, as they say, “been there, done that.” Behind Closed Doors is an organisation of professionals and businesswomen which offers mentorship, networking, and other tools those in the business scene will find helpful, whether you’re just starting out with your business or planning to take it to the next level.
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