Women often don’t jump into entrepreneurship because they fear failure, and according to a government census from 2020, women account for only 19.4 percent of business owners in South Africa even though around 47% of South African businesses are led by women showing that women are more than capable.
Covid19 has left so many without an income that it is important to encourage female entrepreneurship now more than ever so that women can also play a role in South Africa’s economic recovery and not only find ways of income sourcing for themselves but for the many they will employ as well.
Reflecting back on August aka Women’s Month, we’d like to focus this article on helping our female entrepreneurs with a few guidelines for success. These definitely apply to men as well though!
1. Define your goals
Women go into business for a variety of reasons. According to research, millennial women see a gap in the market and are driven by opportunity while baby boomers are often driven by necessity.
Whatever your reason, it’s important that you set goals for yourself and plan what you want to achieve so that when you face difficulties, you will be motivated by these goals to keep going. Once you have set your specific goals:
- Make them public so that your team knows where you are headed
- Set a deadline
- Reward yourself (and your team) when you reach your goals
2. Constantly keep learning
Entrepreneurship is an educational journey. As you begin the process of starting a business, you will discover that you lack knowledge and capabilities, but that’s the best time to learn new things!
- YouTube is an amazing free resource where you can learn any business skills or simply get some motivation.
- Udemy is a great resource for online learning and doing video courses. They offer both free and paid material.
- Business books are readily available to teach you anything from ways to increase revenue to managing staff, cultivating leadership, financial training, etc
- Networking. Look for people in your industry who can act as mentors or teach you something.
- Employ people who know more than you do.
- Have a teachable spirit and always be open to learning from mistakes and use these as motivation to come back even stronger.
3. Work hard but be comfortable saying no…
It’s great when you are working on a lot of projects but know your limits. Sometimes opportunities arise that are less important but deviate you from your goals and actually distract you.
Learn when to say no to new projects to be able to pace yourself and deliver quality work on your current tasks and not wear yourself down. Focus your time and energy to work on your business and not so much in your business, especially if you have a team working with you. Learn to delegate and ask for help when you need it.
4. Be willing to take risks and believe in yourself
To become a well-respected female entrepreneur, you’ll need to conquer the fear of failure, which originates from self-doubt. Meaning, it’s not enough to ignore the ‘haters’ or even to use their judgments as fuel.
- Celebrate your personal strengths and focus on doing what you do best.
- Be willing to take risks.
- Persevere in times of crisis. Nothing lasts forever i.e. “This too shall pass”.
- Hire people to do what you don’t do well.
- Learn to differentiate between constructive criticism and just mean-hearted input when you receive feedback from others. Constructive criticism will help you become a stronger and more effective entrepreneur, but the other comments, will deflate your motivation and self-confidence, but only if you let it and if you take it to heart.
It’s normal for business owners to experience anxiety and fear, especially when faced with potential failure, but what’s important is not to allow that fear to hold you back from your success.
Starting a business is never easy, but if you do your research, channel your strengths, be ready for challenges, and use resources wisely, you can and will succeed.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!” Franklin Roosevelt
The solution is not to ignore fear, but rather, to recognize when there are justified reasons for fear and take the necessary steps to clear those hurdles.
5. Hire the right people
Hiring the right people is probably one of the most challenging aspects of being an entrepreneur. Mark Zuckerburg (Facebook Founder) once said that he prefers to employ people who can teach him something, rather than people who he has to teach.
- Read a book called “Now, discover your strengths” by Marcus Buckingham. You’ll never hire the wrong people again!
- Cultivate a good work environment and keep employees loyal. Losing a good employee costs a business roughly a year’s worth of salary to replace them
- Passionate people are self-motivated. They simply love to work and often go above and beyond.
- Find people who can teach you something.
- Your energy should never be focused on the tasks you hate doing. There are people who love to do those things and will do them faster and better allowing you to do what you do best. Get each of your new and existing employees to do a free strength test and see if they are in their ideal positions. https://high5test.com/strengthsfinder-free/
6. Support other women
No one knows the struggles better than our fellow ladies. Balancing work, being a mother, a daughter, a wife looking after her husband, and the household chores…it’s not for the faint of heart.
No matter if you support your fellow colleagues, another woman entrepreneur, or a lady you met on the street. When you give your time and knowledge to empower someone you grow as a person and the more you give, the more filled you will become.
Ways you can support other women: