5 Key Skills For The Contemporary Female Entrepreneur
Curious about the steps taken by successful female entrepreneurs?
“In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.” ~Sheryl Sandberg. Of all the female entrepreneurs quotes, this one from the current COO of Facebook gives us great hope.
So we better be ready, right?
We are slowly inching toward a generation where the distinction of gender is blurring with each passing day. Women are no longer resigned to their homes, or only domestic work. They are taking bold strides in all aspects of life and career.
Entrepreneurship – the profound path to making a difference in the world we live in – is one place where more and more women are creating a positive impact. Arianna Huffington, Oprah Winfrey, and Barbara Corcoran are each success stories that inspire.
Still, entrepreneurship is a path only some chose to take. Even for those who chase it feverishly, success can sometimes feel like a tangled maze or distant dream. For women, things are often harder:
- Family expectations
- Cultural roadblocks
- Local prejudice
- Gender discrimination
These are just a few social stigmas and perceived hurdles that weigh female entrepreneurs down and keep them from truly soaring toward success.
For female entrepreneurs who manage to soar despite the pitfalls, this article is an arm of support. For the female entrepreneur still contemplating ideas or at the beginning of their journey, below are five key skills for contemporary female entrepreneurs to get you started.
Look for a female entrepreneurs association in your area and region. Organizations of this type open doors to new business opportunities.
Female entrepreneurs that want to be taken seriously also need to be seen in places like:
- Business conferences
- Startup events
- Corporate events
Investors think tank representatives, and journalists are likely to attend if there have been good PR.
Networking events are great places to mingle with potential collaborators and investors. You may have the opportunity to pitch an idea. At the very least, this setting will let you walk away with newly gained insights from other business professionals.
Here is a 4-step process to take your networking skills to the next level:
- Find a common topic to talk about with people you meet
- Create a human connection by emphasizing or appreciating their efforts or feedback
- Develop a formal friendship – Don’t just collect a business card
- Follow up the meeting with an email or telephone call the next day
Women are generally good communicators. But pitching a business plan is a totally different ball game. There are tiny nuances female entrepreneurs should master that make a pitch most effective. For instance, your tone, your body language, and the points you cover – All very important.
First, write down your pitch. It should be short, easy to understand and must also clearly and concisely describe your business plans. Aim for something that you can explain in under a minute.
Second: Practice, practice, and practice. Rehearse it with your friends, colleagues, and members from the C-suite, if possible. Collect feedback and refine your pitch for maximum effectiveness. Also, consider podcasting – Try being a guest on podcasts first, then try hosting your own.
Even if you are Wonder Woman, you cannot do everything. This is especially true for female entrepreneurs.
You have 24 hours in a day, yet long lists of things to do that take energy, time, and resources. When your business is growing you will find yourself increasingly short of time and energy.
Delegation will keep you from burning out. Delegate the tasks to subordinates who can get things done in a fashion that suits you. Even if you simply hire someone to clean your house so you can free that time up for your business development, you win.
Female entrepreneurs often hesitate to hire or delegate. Hiring the right people in the early stages of your business is vital, and can make the difference between business success and failure.
Running any business, be it from a spare room in your house, or from a corporate headquarters requires negotiation skills. Good negotiation skills can help you win advantages such as:
- Better funding from investors or creditors
- Vendor discounts
- Optimal employee benefits
Brush up on your negotiation skills. Remember, business negotiation is a lot different from bargaining in a flea market. There is a finesse to it. Sometimes you have to drive a strong message in a subtle way.
In the words of Chester L Karrass, “In business as in life, you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.”
So, prioritize your negotiation skills, and revisit this from time to time.
If you can speak well, you can persuade people. If you can persuade people, you can make better sales.
Public speaking goes beyond the oral report. In the modern world, it is a tactic to sell more. Think Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, J.K. Rowling, Bill Gates – All of whom are well-known speakers.
Public speaking and selling skills are directly proportional.
If you are comfortable talking to a large group, chances are, you will find yourself even better at convincing a group seated within the four walls of a boardroom. As female entrepreneurs, you will need to talk with, and present to, people from various walks of life. Who knows, a stranger to you now could end up being your next trusted investor!
Summing It Up For Female Entrepreneurs
Success for female entrepreneurs can be a challenge. Many who have managed to climb the peak to success say that it is not the same as it is for men. Female entrepreneurs have to push the envelope farther than their male counterparts to make their point.
The skills outlined above are essential for female entrepreneurs who want a firm position as a business leader in an often biased world.