Empowerment is everywhere.
It’s an energy that is palpable in all corners of women’s lives – especially business.
Female entrepreneurs are driven, committed and have a strong desire to achieve; or in other words, they are ambitious. Ambition is what keeps us going when the inevitable challenges in business arise. It keeps us focused on the positive and provides the push we need to keep pursuing our dreams.
Yet, we still have to overcome biases in our professional lives. One study at Columbia Business School found that:
“Students rated ‘Howard’ and ‘Heidi’, equally competent, but they liked Howard, but not Heidi.”
Although this is clearly nonsense, our only choice is to keep moving forward and using our ambition to fuel our business growth. When enough of us showcase our skills and competency, we will start to break down misconceptions and biases. Here are a few ideas on how we can overcome stereotypes and increase our success.
We Have More Options than Ever Before
We don’t need permission to start a business and we don’t need to wait to start our dream business. We have plenty of options, opportunities, and tools at our disposal. Here are a few ideas:
It’s Easier Than Ever to Secure Funding
This is no one’s favorite part of business but it is vital to growth – We need money to make money. If we don’t have enough personal resources we need to secure outside funding. We can work with a traditional lender to secure a business loan or credit line. If we need cash fast, then we can look into same-day business loans. There are also programs specifically for women:
“SBA loans aren’t a cookie-cutter or one-size-fits-all type. They offer more than 10 different categories of funding programs, including ones designed for Veterans, women and minorities.”
We Can Plan SMARTer
We all need to start with a plan. We start by outlining our ideas and getting them down on paper. While this may seem tedious, it is an important step toward solid growth. We need to see our thoughts so we can break them down into manageable tasks. In How To Make Your Smart Business Plan Work For You In 2019, Elaine Slatter explains how a realistic goal works:
“Given the business climate you are working in, are your goals realistic? If the economy is going into a tailspin and you are in the luxury market, for example, trying to achieve a projected 40% growth may not be achievable.”
We Have Amazing Tools at Our Fingertips
We live in the digital age, so it’s not surprising that we have amazing tools that help us build our business. In Top Free Tools for Busy Solopreneurs, Ella Gibbons shares free tools that help us:
- Set up payment processes
- Help us avoid costly unprofessional mistakes
- Stay organized
- Increase productivity while staying healthy
We live in a miraculous time. With the right idea and a lot of hard work, we have never had more opportunities to become successful business owners.
We Can Overcome Missteps and Mistakes
I’m a huge believer that mistakes are inevitable and we should use them as important learning tools. When problems arise, as they always do, we can find a solution.
So this approach didn’t work, so what’s next?
We can channel our ambition into action by being a problem solver. Here are a few ideas:
Never Stop Learning Attitude
A true leader never stops learning. Read about our industry, study our competition and never stop filling our minds with knowledge. This keeps us at the top of our industry’s innovation and fuels our mind for solution-seeking.
Plus there are many options learning including online courses, networking groups and social media forums.
Stuck? Learn How to Brainstorm
Sit down and write down all the thoughts that come up. Don’t judge any of the thoughts – anything is fine!. Just build on them, ask questions, flip ideas around and see what we can come up with. In How to Brainstorm: 5 Ways to Get the Creative Juices Flowing, the Lucid Chart team shares different brainstorming methods including mind mapping:
Surround Ourselves With Like-minded People
This is one of the first bits of business advice I ever learned and it’s still true today.
By surrounding ourselves with people we admire and respect, we can find mentors and trusted advisors. It’s priceless to have folks to bounce ideas off from while learning what it takes to be successful.
Stop Waiting! It’s Time to Be Brave, Ambitious and Bold!
There has been a slow, but positive, shift in the world when it comes to women and business. We know despite advancements that inequality remains. As women, we’ve chosen to let this inequality fuel our fire.
We used to sit on the sidelines waiting for others to take chances. We avoided risks for a wide variety of reasons. Maybe we lacked confidence, money or education. Yet, these are no longer good reasons not to start today – they are just excuses. We now have more tools, support, and opportunities than ever before!
We don’t have to wait for the “right time” anymore. We can create the right time whenever we choose.
Liesha’s a freelancer by day and Kyokushin Black Belt by night.
She’s the author of Killing Rapunzel: Learning How to Save Yourself Through Determination, Grit, and Self-Employment (her mother hates the title – but it’s a metaphor mom!). She talks freelancing adventures at Microbusiness Essentials.