- Date : 20/03/2020
- Read: 5 mins
Who runs the world? Girls! Beyoncé got it right, just like everything else.
Women do everything well – whether it’s running a home or running a business. This study makes it clear why women are generally better at a wide variety of things than men. It includes building relationships, enabling positive teamwork, managing time and organisational requirements, and adapting to changes. All these are also key skills in setting up and running a successful business.
Anyone can have a great product or service idea, but transforming that into a business – and a stable and successful one at that – requires the building of a solid foundation. Just like one can’t write whole sentences before they learn the alphabet, there are certain pillars that the success of a business depends on.
If you are a new entrepreneur or want to be one, or if you already have a business that you want to grow into a successful one, here are the five pillars you need to work on:
1. Have a resilient mindset
Forget all the statistics you may have heard about the failure and success rates of small businesses in the first year or five. If you let other people’s statistics determine your life, you won’t be able to run a successful business. So, aim to be an outlier by having a resilient mindset.
Having a resilient mindset is all about knowing that there are going to be roadblocks but not fearing them. It’s about dealing with every problem that comes your way (many will if you’re an entrepreneur), and tackle everything with calmness and rationality, and evolve in that process.
It’s commonly agreed that women are mentally stronger than men. You must channelise that same strength in running your business too. This will especially be needed because the problems women entrepreneurs face are more varied than what men encounter, owing to the generally biased and sexist nature of societies around the world.
2. Face the numbers squarely
Numbers don’t lie. Your revenue, profits, inventory costs, and debt (if any) are not statistics to be afraid of. If you’re not making profits in the first year, that’s fine. If you’re not breaking even in the first year, that’s okay too. Depending on the industry and the product or service you’re offering, this may have been the norm for even the biggest players when they started out.
You must find a trusted financial advisor and accountant and sit with them to chalk out your company’s financial plan and understand the trends of the previous years. Try to understand the relationship between things – what affects profit, how much working capital is required, what amount of inventory is optimum, etc.
3. Understand and embrace marketing
You could be offering the best product or service available. You and your employees could be toiling away for hours every day. You could be better than any competitor out there. But none of that means anything unless the target customers know that your product/service exists.
Marketing plays several important roles, from informing and educating consumers on your product or service to building and maintaining long-term customer relationships. But it’s important to understand the nature of your business, your long-term goal, and your target market before you can come up with an effective marketing strategy.
As a woman, you may have an inherent instinct of understanding people, their motivations, and connecting with them based on the same. Tap into your gut and believe in it for marketing your business.
4. Value your employees
Every business has three important resources – financial, physical, and human. Each is critical but ask any successful woman entrepreneur and they will lay emphasis on their human capital; their employees. Small businesses with a core team of dedicated and long-term staff tend to grow much faster than businesses where the founder runs a one-woman show with a constant churn of employees.
Valuing your employees doesn’t mean having happy-hour Fridays or an open office layout with bean bags. It means seeing your employees as human beings with lives and goals outside of work. It means pardoning mistakes. As a woman entrepreneur starting out, you need to find and build your own tribe of employees. Women usually have an edge in understanding where a person is coming from and can build meaningful and nurturing relationships. Use that to your advantage.
In addition to full-time employees, you can hire consultants, part-timers, and interns strategically.
5. Learn to trust and delegate
Yes, your business is your baby, and you want to do everything yourself in your own way. But that’s not how a business can ever grow. That’s why the above step is so important – you need to be able to have key people whom you know can do something as well as you can, if not better.
You need to learn to follow the concept of management by exception. Intervene in day-to-day issues only when things don’t go as planned. Otherwise, you should focus on strategic operations to grow your business, build partnerships, and improve your product or service.
Focus on building, maintaining, and enhancing these critical pillars of running a business by tapping into your strengths of emotional intelligence, communication, problem-solving, and intuition. Yet another key trait most women possess that helps in growing a business is patience. When things go wrong, when people mess up, when plans fail, the patience to fix it and the resilience to go on is often a determining factor of the long-term fate of any nascent business. Here are tips for women entrepreneurs to fund their business.