There has never been a better time to be a female entrepreneur than today. Women entrepreneurs represent some of the best business leaders the world has ever seen. The Center for an Urban Future unveiled that women-led companies in US are representing massive potential for job growth nationwide. Women are starting business in every industry, paving the way for other women and transforming industries.
In spite of success stories of women-founded companies women continue to face gender bias and stereotypes as the gender leadership gap is now becoming ever more relevant. Despite the challenges, women continue to embark upon their quest for business success.
Female entrepreneurs are launching businesses, influencing economies across the world. In the U.S alone, more than 9 million enterprises owned by women, nearly 8 million people employed, generating $1.5 trillion in sales as of 2015.
Nevertheless, female entrepreneurs still have much to overcome. Here’s a look at nine ways women entrepreneurs must embrace if they want to rise up and thrive in entrepreneurial land.
Women should trust the compass between their thighs
Women in the 21st century, we have it all wrong. I recently watched Cate Blanchett being interviewed by Stephen Colbert, regarding a Broadway play she is currently starring in. The play, The Present, poses a question about when you are moving forward in our complex and chaotic world, what’s your moral compass? When asked directly where her moral compass sits, she responded, “in my vagina”. The interview of Cate got me thinking. May be she is right. Women need to begin trusting their innate feminine genius to ensure alignment with who they are and who they need to be to take the next step. The compass creates a pathway that is ecological.
Fall down seven times, get back up eight
KPMG undertook a study in 2015 on women entrepreneurs unveiling female business leader talents most important to their success. Working hard led and persistence closely followed. In entrepreneurial land, every start up faces obstacles. When you hit those roadblocks, and you will, you pick yourself up and keep moving forward. Persistence creates the space to breakthrough, even when times are tough, hard or complex and rise above the challenges and triumph as a leader. Persistence coupled with vision, focus and commitment leads to delivering extraordinary results.
All areas working in harmony
This whole concept of work life balance l don’t subscribe to. It is impossible to create the linear see-saw especially when starting up in business. I’m more of having all areas of my life working in harmony. At times, l will spend more energy on aspects that involve my business and other times the energy will shift to another area of life. All areas expand and contract depending on where l am investing my energy into. The way l live my life is congruent with my vision. I don’t see what l do as work. It is my passion. Having an awareness of the areas within your wheel of life creates opportunity for you to stay centered and have an edge over the long term.
Women can have it all
It is too easy to blame and despair of whether women can have it all. For centuries women have shouldered more than their fair share of work, including both career and family. Women have worn enormous amounts of hats and indoctrinated into a culture that expects them to fulfil a variety of roles at all times.
Many women aim for the “have it all” trifecta: career, marriage and motherhood. It can be done. There are a growing number of mumpreneurs that do it well. But it’s not without a lot of hard work, sacrifice and resolve. It can be done. Ditch the work/life balance and have it all.
Fake it until you make it – throw it out the window
Many people subscribe to illusion of fake it until you make it. When starting out you won’t know everything there is to know however you invest, hire a mentor or outsource to be able to move forward. Business advisers and mentors are critical in facilitating professional growth. Building meaningful connections leads to traction that results in business growth.
Knowing your zone of genius
Everyone is born with exceptional talent. When you value it, nurture and have the confidence to exercise it, beliefs are created to experience great success. In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell supports that greatness is not about luck, it is your ability to focus on one thing for 10,000 hours to become an “expert”. Confidence cultivates your talent, creates opportunity to express your individuality and when in alignment you become magnetic.
Unleashing your genius
Everyone has talents, only few tap into their genius. When you amplify each person’s unique values, strengths, passions and curiosity, extra value is added. When we unlock our potential, greater success is achieved. When you believe that every team member, every person has greatness within, the ripples are magnified. When genius is unleashed within business, performance improves, staff are retained and results speak for themselves. When we take care of people, business flourishes.
Commanding presence begins with you
Many women see these incredible women who walk into a room commanding presence and assume that it is something they were born with. They don’t realize that it takes work to build the image, confidence and presence. Some people expend less energy on engaging or influencing others. When in business, our brand is built up over time, with purpose and intent. Be true to who you are and harness that.
Breaking through false narratives
I remember growing up, messages from parents, teachers, media about how l “should” behave. How we see ourselves matters. The fear of failure is prevalent amongst female entrepreneurs. Research supports that women entrepreneurs are actually more ambitious and successful than their male counterparts. The 2016 BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report identified that companies helmed by women entrepreneurs had 13% higher revenues than those run by men and finished 9% above the average for all entrepreneurs surveyed”. Nothing is impossible for a woman determined to rise.