In addition to being Frozen Food Month and Supply Management Month, March is Women’s History Month. Celebrated across the U.S. and in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada*, the month-long celebration of women’s contributions to history is a proud tradition that’s been happening every March since 1987, with origins dating back to 1911’s first-ever International Women’s Day. It seems like one hundred-plus years is a long time ago, but it’s just three generations – the oldest of whose members were born into a world where women didn’t have the right to vote and had only recently gained the ability to legally own property.
But that’s not today. And while all people must remain vigilant in protecting the rights of people everywhere, women in most developed economies are secure in their ability to own and run businesses. In fact, in the U.S. 40% of all privately-held firms are women owned. If you can include yourself in this hefty percentage of business owners you deserve to be proud, small business ownership is a multi-faceted challenge that requires almost daily renewal of purpose.
The next time you find yourself renewing your specific purpose, take a moment to reflect on the following ideas for making running a business a little bit easier. Implementing one, two or all three will help you save time and improve performance and maybe even help delay that next need for renewal.
Owning and running a small business is exhilarating and stressful all at once and the people who understand this the most are other entrepreneurs. Make sure you’ve got a mentor, business partner, goals group or all three to share your successes and failures with, ask for and offer advice and lean on in rough times. This doesn’t mean just with other women business owners and entrepreneurs, you should take advice and guidance from anyone who can help you build your business.
Face your financial demons
For reasons we don’t fully understand, women are underrepresented in math fields and many tend to avoid tackling money and finances head-on. As a small business owner you simply cannot ignore the financials. Sustaining and growing a business depends on understanding what your financial goals are, how your business spends money and how to make the two meet. If financials aren’t your strong suit, don’t worry! With the help of a business partner, a few classes or an accountant you’ll be able to track and plan with the best of them.
Learn to lead
Leadership is a lauded skill and often portrayed as something you either can or can’t do. But that’s not true. Most people can learn to be effective leaders, and in fact you’ll have to learn if you want your business to thrive. All firms need a CEO, and as your company’s founder you’re the most fitting candidate. As that CEO you need to spend your time selling your ideas and planning for the future – not ordering copy paper or arranging phone system service calls. Make a list of everything you do, break out the tasks you don’t want to do and/or those you can have someone else do and then hire that work out. Whether you use internal staff, vendors or contractors, you’ll be freeing up your time to focus on your business rather than get bogged down in it.
Even with all the rights women enjoy today, being a woman small business owner is challenging. Use the ideas presented here, as well as the many resources available to female entrepreneurs, to get the most out of your time and ensure your business is ready for whatever the future has to offer.
* In Canada Women’s History Month is celebrated in October
This is a sponsored post from Hiscox. Tiffany is the Social Media Manager for Hiscox USA Insurance, responsible for driving engagement across its social media channels, as well as publishing the Hiscox Small Business blog. Tiffany lives in New York City with her tech entrepreneur husband and daughter. She is passionate about empowering women and girls and volunteers regularly with the 100 year-old community service organization Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.