The main challenge women entrepreneurs are facing around the globe is the lack of role models, which is why they are still observed as incapable of performing on an equal footing as men. At least that is what popular belief would like us to think, but in truth, the situation varies greatly from country to country.
For example, women in Canada seem to have taken the situation in their hands and are being heartily supported by their fellow men colleagues, whenever chances allow. But, for starters, what seems to be the stepping stone is woman-to-woman support.
As Tanya van Biesen from Catalyst Canada puts it, “We all need to work together, men and women across the venture funding ecosystem, to ensure that these women are being identified and selected for these roles.”
And while the young women are just getting started with ideas and resources, many women entrepreneurs are already changing the face of business in unique ways. Judging by their varying standpoints, the key to success seems to lie in overcoming standard female issues, such as are stress and emotions running wild.
“The commonly held vision of a successful entrepreneur is a man. If we don’t do the work to normalize women entrepreneurs — sharing their stories and celebrating their accomplishments, with the understanding that not all women are looking for hockey stick growth or unicorn valuations — they will continue to face challenges”, Stephania Varalli, Co-CEO, Women of Influence.
The first tip is to sleep on emotional decisions. Entrepreneurship spells trials, errors and numerous tribulations, which means there’s no place for emotions in the mess. Unless you can accept that you will make mistakes just like everyone else does, you’ll have a difficult time managing your stress levels.
Let’s take a look at how women entrepreneurs are holding up and changing business biases.
1. Solving Meaningful Tasks
“Task,s” perhaps, isn’t the right word, but the point remains the same nonetheless. It would seem that finding a goal beyond simply being successful at business is what inspires women to perform better and drives success in the long run.
As Lea von Bidder, Ceo of Ava Science Inc. says, “Starting a company isn’t always easy, and it’s critical you work on something that means a lot to you.”
If it seems like something your yoga instructor would say to you, it should! It is important to keep in mind that happy entrepreneurs are likely to overcome challenges more easily and feel satisfied with their achievements.
The sentiment goes beyond earning loads of money. Rather, it puts focus on building a healthy and inspiring environment while helping women cope with stress more efficiently.
To achieve that, it is essential to set palpable goals in the beginning. If you don’t have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish, you’re in for a long struggle and confusion.
2. Growing Strong Together with Female Counterparts
One unique feat of female entrepreneurship is that they keep in touch with other businesswomen. Whether this occurs because of the need to be stronger in the male-dominated business world or because of emotional reasons, the practice seems to be doing wonders.
Alexanndra Ontra, the co-founder of Shufflrr, holds the opinion that “whether it’s referring a new client, an investor or just someone to vent about the challenges of running a business, no one can empathize with your situation better than another female entrepreneur.”
3. Boosting Self-Confidence in Creative Ways
The platitude “believe in yourself or no one else will” has been used so many times in so many contexts that we must use it grudgingly. Yet, nowhere does self-confidence appears to be more important than in the case of female entrepreneurs.
It would seem that women have more issues with believing in themselves in entrepreneurship, arguably because they have still to get to the bigger picture globally. For that reason, they seek ways to boost their self-confidence in whichever way it works for them, but notably by keeping in touch with their female counterparts.
As Andrea Loubier says, “It can be difficult to really get a hold on your self-confidence, especially if you’re a woman in an industry like tech. That’s why we, as female entrepreneurs, must continuously be cheerleaders for other women, even if we sometimes find ourselves in direct competition. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together.”
4. Networking and More Networking
Continual learning is what drives success regardless of the context, and female entrepreneurs seem to have given a whole new meaning to it.
Many women seek out mentors willing to teach them the secrets of the trade, and many succeed in their task. Contrary to popular belief, many men are actually overjoyed to see the diversity taking place in entrepreneurship. In particular, mentors can help female entrepreneurs gain access to outside finding faster.
That is why networking away is the best way to go about your business. In this way, you will get not only to promote your business, but you’ll also get to learn success stories from other businesses. In short, networking is a great way to get in touch with business people with whom you can share ideas.
Sumitra Senapaty, the founder of the WOW Club, a travel and social platform for women, mentions, “One of the best ways to network with other women is to share not only your business pursuits but your social and lifestyle interests as well. Travel with a group of women as a solo traveller, or attend a conference specifically for women in business. There’s no end to the ways in which you can learn and grow from each other!”
5. Faking It Until Becoming It
This recently popularized concept (by social psychologist Amy Cuddy) has been widely used in the U.S., where there are more than 11.6 million women-owned businesses employing some 9 million people and generating more than $1.6 trillion in revenue each year.
Basically, it portends positive thinking and mental discipline, again, like a yoga practice. Envisioning how a positive outlook is more likely to bring forth success is not a difficult leap, but the point is in learning to overcome your fears and negativity and rise stronger and happier.
6. Learning Decisiveness
Decision-making is what entrepreneurship is all about. Allowing stress and fears to run wild is the fastest way to failure in the long run.
Well, the truth is that 20 of new small businesses in the U.S. still fail within a year – the mishap that is not gender-exclusive. That is to say, that decisiveness is a must-have trait for all entrepreneurs, but women, for some reason, have more difficulties mastering the skill.
Jennifer Frye, the founder of Clever Me, says that the key lies in being “diligent in solving problems and challenges along the way,” adding that this approach will allow for additional time and more resources to grow a business.
7. Understanding the Audience
This is the one single most important rule determining the success of a business, so it truly comes as a surprise that it still needs to serve as a reminder.
Identifying a target group is the first thing to do when starting a business. At first, it’s best to stick to one group only and grow the business over time.
Micki Krimmel, CEO of Superfit Hero, holds that tailoring “your product, your messaging and your entire process toward that specific community, and only expand when you have to” is the right way to go about growing a business. She adds that this is the way to ensuring “a strong product-market fit” and learning how to “let your customers lead you where you need to go.”
Entrepreneurship is hard work for men and women alike. However, some differences in the gender-specific approaches make it slightly different.
It would seem that self-confidence and stress are the two main issues for women, arguably because they need to make it big in the male-dominated world.
However, success is equally likely to come to dedicated, networking entrepreneurs of both sexes if they stick to their goals and don’t act emotionally.
Women are already changing the business environment in unique ways. Learning which new directions traditional entrepreneurship can take due to this newfound diversity is what we are looking forward to in the future.