While many startups have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it has also led to an increase in entrepreneurial activity. According to WeForum.org, companies and individuals around the world have rallied to provide solutions to the problems the virus created. Furthermore, WeForum.org states that there has been a surge in entrepreneurial activity, since the beginning of the pandemic.
However, women-owned businesses still only account for 42% of U.S. businesses according to the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. This means that although there has been a surge in entrepreneurial activity, the percentage of women-owned businesses is still very small. And right now, women have the power to change that. In this article, we have compiled the best pieces of advice from successful women entrepreneurs.
Lilian Ajayi Ore, the founder and CEO of Global Connections For Women Foundation wrote for Forbes that the best advice she ever received was from Sheryl Sandberg, the current chief operating officer of Facebook, telling her to “lean in.” To her, leaning in meant two things: never giving up in spite of the challenges and obstacles and recognizing the value of what she was trying to create for women.
Not giving up in spite of challenges and obstacles and recognizing the value of what you’re offering is crucial. These things are important because your ideal client is out there looking exactly for what you have to offer and you don’t want to give up before ever having the chance to help them.
Solve One Problem at a Time
Katrina Lake, the founder and CEO of Stitch Fix, states that anytime she is in a rut or needs a new perspective, she asks herself what the problem is she is trying to solve.
Many entrepreneurs get so caught up in the resources they have and look at all the problems that they want to solve, that they forget the main problem that they want to solve to begin with. So, solving one problem at a time helps entrepreneurs to narrow in and focus on their why. Once that one problem is solved, it is much easier to address and attempt to solve other problems that arise.
Be Confident in Front of Investors
“I find a lot of girls somehow feel a bit intimidated, especially in front of investors. For their first round of funding, they go ‘How do I talk to this guy? This guy has 50 years of experience behind him, he sold his business and he’s made a lot of money...Now, how do I do this?’ Everybody knows you’re 26, you don’t have to be 45. If you’re 26, be 26, you have a great idea,” says Ambareen Musa, the founder and CEO of souqalmal.com, the #1 comparison website in the Middle East that lets you compare financial and insurance products.
While Musa is asking you to be yourself primarily, she is also asking that you stay confident in your idea. If you don’t appear to be confident in your idea when you approach an investor for funding, your lack of confidence will only reduce your ability to get funded. Ask yourself why someone else should believe in an idea you are not confident about. Be confident when pitching your ideas and no one can stop you from growing your venture.
Build a Strong Team
Lulu O’Sullivan, the owner of GiftsDirect.com and TheIrishStore.com, stresses in the New York Times of hiring the right people. She states, “Hire the right people around you. You don’t need to be sitting in every meeting. Delegate, and take time for self-reflection. Have an excellent financial person beside you. I was all about sales and marketing and a beautiful website, and I had to learn that one. Know what you’re good at and not good at to fill the gaps in the research team.”
This piece of advice is especially important now with the hustle culture that is prevalent in our society and people thinking that they can do everything on their own. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses and it is so important to have the right people on your team to help you build on both your strengths and weaknesses as your company grows.
Learn How Women Before You Got You Where They Are
Sharmadean Reid, the founder of WAH Nails and Beauty Stacks, in an interview with Elle Magazine said “the most empowering thing a woman can do is learn and understand the history of the female experience. It’s only through knowing what we’ve been through for centuries that we can have any understanding of how to change that in our day to day. You can’t determine the future without knowing about the past.”
We can’t vote, let alone have a woman Vice President today, if not for the women who fought for a chance to vote or have an equal opportunity.
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