Did you know women have been starting businesses at a higher rate than men for the past 20 years? I didn’t. I’m proud to be part of the sisterhood of women who have decided not to settle: on working for bad bosses or staying home with the kids, even though they dreamed of creating something. And while most small business advice applies to women as well as men, here are a few tips specific for my small biz sisters for the upcoming year.
1. Don’t Try to Join the Good Ole Boy Network
So many of us have struggled to fit in and be “one of the boys.” But the truth is: we can’t. We are women, and will never be accepted as men. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do business just as well. Rather than trying to be more brusque and direct in how you interact with men, be yourself and be confident. Anyone–man or woman–will appreciate you being your genuine self, not trying to be what you think of as the personality type that succeeds in business. As they say, when a man is harsh, he’s considered direct. When a woman does it, she’s…well, criticized, let’s just say.
2. Ask for Help
We’re so used to juggling: diaper duty, carpooling, bill paying, hiring, selling…the list goes on. So when we’re genuinely in over our heads, we’re reluctant to admit it (I speak from a great deal of personal experience). But there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. It does not make you weak. Repeat that with me: asking for help doesn’t make me weak. You can’t be a rockstar at everything, so your secret to success is to find the person who is a rockstar at whatever you need help with and wrangle her help.
3. It’s Okay if You Don’t Know Everything
This ties in with #2. As women, we constantly fear being toppled from our place of power. Not knowing something makes us feel like our customers or contacts will think we’re incompetent, but it’s not true. Take the opportunity to commit to finding out the answer. If a customer has a question you can’t answer, simply say “I don’t actually know, but I will find out for you!” Then learn it and add it to your stellar skills.
4. Be an Advocate
As many women entrepreneurs as there are these days starting a business, there is always room for more. And many young women simply don’t have someone to look up to that can show them that they can achieve whatever they want. Get involved in your local female business owner community. Teach college classes. Hire an intern and teach her everything you know. Find ways to help create more strong women like you!
This is just my opinion, but I think 2013 is going to be a fabulous year for female entrepreneurs! Hear hear!
Are you a woman entrepreneur looking to start a business? Congratulations! CorpNet is here for you. When you’re ready to choose your business structure, we’d love to help. If you’re not sure whether you need to incorporate or file an LLC, we can give you guidance with our free business consultation. Schedule one today!
Photo: herlitz_pbs on Flickr