How to achieve success as a woman entrepreneur surmounting all odds

The good news is despite all the odds, women in India and around the world have tried to shed this traditional mould and are making their mark as successful businesswomen

How to achieve success as a woman entrepreneur surmounting all odds

Women business leaders are gradually making a mark globally. Image courtesy Corporal Natalie Rostran/Wikimedia Commons

Being an entrepreneur is hard. But what is harder than being an entrepreneur is being a female entrepreneur. An entrepreneur needs strong capital, excellent social networks, and efficient legal support to help kickstart the business, whether big or small. Although the current scenario of women-owned businesses is healthier now than it ever was in the past, there are still obvious inequalities that women entrepreneurs face. If we talk about the scenario in India, female entrepreneurs are expected to not only run a full-time business but also to keep a home.

But wait, don’t despair!

The good news is despite all the odds, women in India and around the world have tried to shed this traditional mould and are making their mark as successful businesswomen. If we go by the statistics, according to the latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report 252 million entrepreneurs out of approximately 582 million in the world are female. Added to 153 million women who have already been running businesses, we can see the impact of women on business. Research also shows that women now account for 41 per cent of the global workforce and control more than $20 trillion in annual spending. Predictions are that this number will go up to $28 trillion in the next few years.

As a female entrepreneur myself, with roots in India but based in Dubai, I could safely say things are changing. Women today dare to take the plunge; they prefer to be their own bosses and want to change lives and transform society. Like India, in Dubai too, there has been a surge in women entrepreneurs and funding for new businesses. A quick look at the Forbes 50 Most Promising UAE Start-ups reveals women leading some of the most prominent new businesses in the region. We can see tremendous growth in small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), run by natives as well as expats.

From my experience of running multiple successful ventures, here I present to you six tips that truly worked for me. Whether you’re itching to take the very next steps in the business world or are already an established businesswoman, these mantras will definitely help you achieve success.

Stay committed to your vision

You will discover many exciting things in the process of starting your own business. It is easy to get distracted because your venture is like your baby. Make sure to keep a clear vision for your business. Failure is a part of any new beginning but a million hardships should not be enough to stop you. Never underestimate your capabilities when running your business. Keep achievable short goals that will gradually take you toward your dream. Staying committed to your vision will allow you to stay focused and help you grow. And when you realise that your business is performing well, continue doing the things that are making your business triumph.

Know your target audience

One of the things you will need to keep consistent is your understanding of your target audience. Having a deep and ever-evolving understanding of your audience will help you make effective decisions. Several entrepreneurs often build companies, products, and brands without defining their target audience. Your target audience is not just the customer, but your employees, peers, influencers, etc. – all who will be assets in different ways. Always remember, everyone loves a company that understands their changing needs and trends. To be successful, one would require business agility, with the desire to learn and adapt to new procedures or technology that can take their business to the next level.

Understand your finances

Cash flow is by far the biggest challenge for several entrepreneurs, not just women but men too. Knowing how much money your business can spend can help you prioritize what’s most important. Having a financial backup is very important – it could be done by planning a budget and setting up a time every month to review the financials. It may sound scary but you need to be extremely careful of debt – this is one of the biggest killers of business dreams.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If you want to build a successful business, you would need help. Whether faced with a task that you don’t know how to do, there are not enough hours in the day to do, or merely you are exhausted – don’t hesitate to ask for help and reach out to your network of friends, family and professionals. A healthy network is a key to a successful business. You need to get over your fear of rejection and seek help like it’s a part of your work task.

Never stop learning

Learning is something that no entrepreneur should ever cease to do. The moment that an entrepreneur stops wanting to learn new things is the moment problems arise. Running a successful business should not be an ego trip. Whether it’s continuing to master a talent or learning a new one – continued learning builds possibility for improvement, new thoughts, and opportunities. It is very important to be empathetic, encouraging, and empowering in your entrepreneurial endeavours.

Take care of yourself

A healthy work-life balance can improve your physical, emotional and mental health. Follow your routine religiously – do not skip meals, eat on time, take out time for exercise, and sleep enough. Otherwise, your job as an entrepreneur will inevitably become more difficult. Take breaks to avoid frustration and burnout. It could be as small as a lunch break during office hours or something bigger like a vacation. This particular time set aside to take care of yourself will have a positive impact on your work and lifestyle.

The author is the founder and managing director, Contemporary Connect. Views are personal.

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