How to succeed as a top female entrepreneur
Women have brought us some of the world’s best businesses – and you don’t have to look far to find them, either. Female entrepreneurs in Australia are the driving force behind world-renowned brands.
Perkins created Canva when she was just 20 years old. Sarina Russo has opened institutes and centres around the globe, expanding from Australia to Europe and Asia. Lesley Gillespie’s Bakers Delight can be found across four countries.
Yet there’s no denying that female entrepreneurs have it tough. Perkins heard more than 100 “no”s before Canva got its first investor. The facts are simple: fewer women start new businesses while fewer venture capital firms have female partners.
Although it may be hard, the fight to create a successful business is worth it. Let’s look at some of the qualities of an entrepreneur and how you can use those to launch and grow your company.
Know who you – and your brand – are
Successful business women know who they are and what their business is. Take the time to identify your priorities, mission and definition of success. This is much more than just a branding exercise (although it will also help you with marketing). Knowing who you are and what you stand for will help you make difficult decisions, decide where to invest your time and energy, and spot new opportunities for growth.
Believe in yourself
It’s easy to find reasons why you will “fail”. But if you focus on those, you’ll give up before you’ve even started. Instead, believe in yourself and your business (or businesses!), and fight for success. Your self-assurance will attract investors and opportunities, while your strong business ideas and good decision-making will lead you to thrive.
Surround yourself with people who inspire you
No businesswoman is an island. Networking with other passionate, knowledgeable entrepreneurs will energise you, spark ideas and give you space to discuss the latest trends, technologies and tools — not to mention the valuable connections you will gain. From roundtables and formal events to chatting over coffee or cocktails, you’ll find that time with your business community is well spent.
Get comfortable saying “no”
Not every offer will be right for you. Whether it’s speaking at an event, entering into a partnership or taking on a large batch of orders, sometimes saying “yes” comes at the cost of other, more important things: your brand and mission, your availability, quality control, other orders, etc. If saying “no” makes you anxious, treat every rejection as an opportunity to practise. Eventually, you’ll be able to do it calmly and confidently.
Don’t fear mistakes
Mistakes are inevitable. But no matter if you lose a client, make a poor marketing decision or overlook an issue with your core product or service, you’ll find a way to adapt and succeed. A mistake does not mean you’ve failed; it just means that you have gained valuable insights into your target audience or industry.
Step out of your comfort zone
Doing things that make you uncomfortable is one of the key characteristics of an entrepreneur. Whether it’s charging what your services are worth or spending time with different groups of people, these activities might seem intimidating at first. Yet they will allow you to push through your current limitations and gain new and valuable perspectives.
Know when criticism is (and isn’t) valuable
Criticism can be helpful, but it can also be irrelevant. You cannot create a product or service that appeals to everybody, and trying to do so may dilute your core offering. So when you receive critiques, evaluate them. Is this person your intended market? Do their comments align with your mission? Are they making an informed and important point? If you answer “yes” to some of these questions, then use that criticism as a tool to improve. If not, however, thank them and then disregard the advice.
Aim to be valuable, not perfect
Creating value will launch your company around the world. Trying to be perfect, however, will block it from ever getting started. Australian women are more likely to be perfectionists than men. Yet giving in to this perfectionism will slow your business down, prevent you from releasing great products or delegating, and cause you undue stress. Instead, use your desire for excellence as a tool by setting realistic goals and focusing on the outcomes.
There are many paths to a successful business, but one thing’s for sure: running your own company can be highly rewarding. It allows you to build not just the business but the world you want. So believe in yourself, know what you stand for and refuse to let fear of failure or criticism hold you back.