I just finished reading an article written by a good friend of mine who coaches companies and their employees to better performance. In this particular article, he was discussing women in business and the different set of attributes they bring into the workplace. And it got me to thinking.
For a long time, women in competitive careers were led to believe (and many times rightly so) that they had to “play a man’s game” in order to progress and succeed in business. And though for years, women have been successful in business playing by “man-rules”, it’s absolutely not necessary, nor good advice for today’s success.
What we now know of course, is that men and women may have different perspectives and approaches to business. But either can be successful in the entrepreneurial arena without giving up or giving over their own unique abilities.
Men and women have various attributes in common that are of benefit in the corporate realm, however, women are at their unquestionable best when we use the characteristics and attributes that are unique to us. And, employing those attributes to our own enterprises can make a good business an absolutely phenomenal success. Examples of the unique perspectives of female entrepreneurs can be found in niche markets such as catering, personal shopping or commercial construction cleanup just to name a few.
For those of you women who are about to delve into the world of entrepreneurship and are considering the type of business enterprise that you want to develop, here are some thoughts:
First, and most important for both women and men, is do what you love. There is something in you, something you’re truly passionate about. Find a way to turn that passion into a business.
I’ve no doubt that you have probably heard that advice before, it’s certainly not new. But there are several reasons that it is important. One, when you’re involved in doing something you truly love, your passion is one of your greatest assets in driving your business. When you interact with others about the focus of your passion, you’re animated, interesting and convincing in ways that would take much more time to practice and develop otherwise.
Passion causes you to be much more motivated, in fact you become what could be called “ultra” motivated. This is key, especially during the period before the money starts rolling in. For you to work an 8-hour day after you’ve already worked an 8-hour day for someone else (something all women know a little bit about), you have to be highly motivated. While you’re building your business (and most people start businesses while they’re still earning their grocery money from an outside employer), you have to have a powerful reason that causes you stay up working until 3:00AM, when you have to be up at 6:00AM to go to your “day job”.
Another reason for developing your business from your passion is that whatever it is you’re passionate about, more than likely you’re an expert on. You’ve been reading and reviewing information on the subject for years. You’ve taken trips, visited sites, and participated in activities or events having to do with the object of your passion. You’ve already become involved in or developed some type of “network” (and ladies, we all know how to network) of other like-minded individuals who are as interested and passionate about your interest as you are. These are all excellent resources for you and for your clientele as you establish your business. It also greatly shortens or eliminates any learning curve relative to your business product or service knowledge to free you to concentrate on building the business itself.
In addition to pursuing your passion, another idea to keep in mind is that in the beginning, as you brainstorm ideas for your business development, let the sky be the limit. Use your wildest imagination to explore ideas and options. Don’t begin the process of developing your enterprise by making a laundrylist of all of the reasons that you can’t do this. Find absolutely as many reasons as possible to demonstrate why you can!
Last, and this is very important, be very selective about listening to the advice of friends and relatives. While they ultimately mean well (at least most of the time), the people around you are used to you and your life as it is. And, they’re comfortable with that. Whenever you contemplate change, especially the types of changes brought about through successful business ownership, people can get uncomfortable. And when people are forced out of their comfort zone, they will fight tooth and nail to get back to it. If that means discouraging you in the process, then so be it, too bad for you.
Don’t fall prey to the fears and negativity of others. If you can’t seem to be around positive and encouraging people, find a new group of people to be around. And, if that’s not possible, then be your own best friend. Solitude is much sweeter than failure at the hands of selfish people.
Be encouraged by your history. For hundreds, even thousands of years, women have been successful entrepreneurs. Our unique mindset, viewpoints, attitudes and skills as women have all contributed to our successes in business. Let that be your legacy to a new generation, and bring your own bit of spice and flavor to the business table.