The business environment has changed dramatically over the last 15 years. When I started my first company in 1996, it was still very much a guys only world. But the pendulum is shifting and I don’t see any signs of it stopping. In fact, for the rest of my lifetime I expect to see women becoming the leading force in business. This is not to say the men are done for. I am simply observing indicator after indicator that women are leading in all aspects of business. And, I feel, it is a good thing.
Business of yesteryear was focused on competition alone. And not friendly competition, but “how can I crush my competitor” type of competition. Today that sentiment still may exist, but it is fading. Now I see more and more businesses seeking ways to work together for a win-win-win. You know, you win, your collaborator wins, and your mutual customer wins. Women are naturually oriented toward collaboration and men are more naturally oriented toward competition. With this change in business, women have an opportunity to lead the charge. And the guys, me included, need to learn and adapt. I have no doubt that men will be able to adapt. But, it is the ladies’ turn to take the lead.
1. A Front View Is Better Than Rear View
It has (and continues) to be my pleasure to see the absolute laser like focus that a woman can have in regards to being an entrepreneur. My one tip (taken from my partner, my wife) don’t follow the herd, follow yourself. If you follow the herd you will only get a view of something less than attractive always in front of you. Be the leader….believe in yourself.
2. Don’t Be Afraid…Show A Lil’ Leg!
Times are different! Being a sophisticated, confident, savvy business woman in today’s business world that is not afraid to tastefully and delicately celebrate sex appeal has a huge advantage! Sexiness is a limitless, no size option that not enough women feel they can explore. Gone are the days of minimizing you are a woman, in order to sustain your intelligence. Look at the men-have you not noticed the increase of waxing, skinny suits, grooming salons, mens designers, and more? Bring sexy back!
3. Community Building Solve Problems
Women are community builders and problem solvers. We should harness these traits for greater business growth. Business development is all about relationships. This is where women excel! We like getting to know people and helping them solve problems. Women in business should embrace networking, sales meetings, and business leadership because that is where we are at our best. Women should bring their listening skills to the table and own their value.
4. Don’t Try To Be A Man
Many men and even other women will tell you to “be more like a man,” to succeed as a woman in business. Don’t listen to them! Be yourself —whether you’re a Kansas farm wife, or Las Vegas Mafia wife arm candy or a NYC Trophy wife or a San Franciso Lesbian…be yourself. Take the things that make you unique as a person, and polish them like silverware before a Christmas dinner. Nothing succeeds like authenticity no matter what your gender.
5. Take Better Care Of Yourself So That You Can Take Care Of Business.
Ideas and initiative are wonderful things but they won’t get you very far if you run out of gas.
Success takes work and work requires energy. By increasing your fitness level, you become more resilient to handle challenges and increase your stamina to get more done.
Make fitness your competitive advantage. Eat right, stay active, sleep well, and manage stress.
Fitness isn’t about sweat, six-packs, and sex appeal. It’s about feeling good and having enough energy to do what you need to do.
6. It’s A Job
All entrepreneurs should realize their job in their company is their job. It should never be stated as a hobby, something to do in spare time, something to just pick up some extra cash. If you are a serious entrepreneur you have to be seriously committed to your business to compete.
7. Natural Influence Comes When You Listen
As women we spend a lot of our life listening. When we do take the time to listen it allows us to have natural influence with those we are listening to. When you are really paying attention to someone you learn so much about them from what they say or what they aren’t saying. They will then be more open and respond by listening to you. This makes for good relationships and communication in business and life. I really take time to listen, I learn so much and then I get to respond in kind.
8. Use Your Gift Of Gab!
For the most part, us ladies our natural born communicators. We are connectors, and we bond over conversations. And, if your selling authentically and truly believe in your products and services, talking to as many people as possible about how you can add value to their lives will help you grow your business – fact. The quality of your connections will increase the number of customers you acquire, so start making meaningful connections today!
9. Provide Value
Always look for ways that you can provide value to your customers, prospects, and/or employer. Use your expertise to make their lives a little bit easier or more productive and it will put you well ahead of your competition.
10. Photo Image Is Everything
Having professional photos that are not too sexy can help you in a major way. Many women entrepreneurs are marketing on Social Media and use head shots taking from cell phones or family trips. That is all fine until it’s time to step up your professional game. Get a few new professional photos taken and take notice to how much cleavage and/or leg you are showing. Showing too much skin can turn a potential client/partner away.
11. Be Strong In Who You Are.
It doesn’t have to be about the difference between the men and the women. If you’re sound in your approach to business and clear about who you are and what you’re trying to achieve, you have a great opportunity to gain respect from people of either gender.
12. Being Organized Is Simpleology
They say the fastest way to a destination is to go from point A to point B. The problem is when it comes to our goals whether they are personal or business related we tend to go in a zig zag and then question why we are not where we want to be in our lives. When I registered for a free tool created by Mark Joyner, it was a major paradigm shifter for me and how I ran my day.You can find it on my website, go to About Nicole->Work with Nicole->Start a Home Business->Small Business Resources.
13. Collaborate, Don’t Compete.
Compete? “Us vs. Them” might work on the sports field, but 21st century business winners succeed through collaboration. Think beyond competition. Partner and ally. Women are perfectly suited for leadership roles in a biz world where diverse teams cross over borders and boundaries of every kind. Outdates notions of power, command and control don’t work when teams are comprised of people who don’t all report to the same manager. Of course col-LABOR-ation isn’t effortless. It DOES contain labor!
14. Be True To You
By understanding what you do well brings crystal clarity to the execution of your talents. Some women attempt to be a carbon copy of someone else. That copycat action creates an aurora of unauthenticity that fails to build trust. Lever the natural advantage present in all women – emotional intelligence. Work to expand your EQ as it is essential in all those B2B interactions. Shakespeare’s words penned hundreds of years ago ring as true then as now “To thine own self be true.”
15. Nurture Your Network
It takes a network to succeed. Here are a few ways to kickstart your network in 2013:
- Send an unrequested, but much appreciated, recommendation on LinkedIn
- Invite a colleague to coffee or lunch
- Mentor someone new in your industry or organization
- Ask others for their opinions
- Join the local chapter of a trade association. Get involved
- Attend a Chamber of Commerce function
- Take a leadership role in a nonprofit.
It only takes a few minutes each day to build and support your network.
16. Know The Chinks In Their Armor
Know your competitors weakness/es and make that/those part of your strong suits. Every business has at least one area for improvement. In my product-based business, some of my competitors weaknesses are:
* adding a handling fee to orders
* taking a week to get an order out the door
* lack of social media presence
* hard to navigate website
* stale, repetitive communications
These have all become competitive differentiators for me. Use the one chink in their armor to fortify your own.
17. Don’t Shrink
Marianne Williamson said, “There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”
As you launch and grow your business, many people will feel insecure about your rapid advances and it’s easy for women to fall back into people-pleasing behaviours, shrinking in the face of the many people who will publicly criticize your activities and ability to reach out & build your community, becuase they can. Shrinking makes it harder to succeed. Instead, #Sparkle.
18. Trust In Your Fellow Woman
Women stick together for the better and the worse, and you’ll certainly have plenty of girlfriends by your side through various points in your life. Take advantage of the resources they can provide, whether it’s professional PR, wardrobe advice, tips on how to balance life as a working mother, or just simple moral support. Also tap into the support sites have come into existence solely for supporting women entrepreneurs, such as Springboard Enterprises and Dr. Shannon Reece’s personal web page.
19. Never Give Up
News and photojournalist Ann Curry once spoke about her success and said, “Never ever give up, even and especially when there’s no chance of winning,” referring to the Japanese concept of gamboru, which can be interpreted as an attitude that makes one fearless of the perceived consequences and keeps one on course despite obstacles. Coming from a very successful woman, this is solid advice that women entrepreneurs should put into practice in order to compete. Don’t just quit if something fails.