Female Entrepreneurs – The Secrets of Their Success’ was written to help every woman who has set up their own entrepreneurial venture to be successful.

Many of our 52 female entrepreneurs talked about the challenges they faced when building a business – with many overcoming significant issues to get to where they have got to. We name a few here. 

 

Overcoming a lack of confidence

Some of our entrepreneurs disclosed suffering from a lack of confidence or even the imposter syndrome when they started out. Women entrepreneurs, whilst catching up fast, are still a minority in the business world, which is still mostly shaped and financed by men. There are far fewer female role models and support networks for female entrepreneurs. And women are largely doing business with men. Our advice is to not expect to be good at everything. Instead step back, focus on what really matters for the business, play to your strengths and surround yourself with people who can cover your weaknesses. You don’t need to be an expert in areas where you are weak. Instead, you need to ask your team pertinent questions to ensure that they stay on track. 

 

Overcoming fear of failure

Similarly, some of our entrepreneurs suffered from a fear of failure. Those who had overcome it talked about failure as an essential part of the journey and an inevitable driver of their growth curve. It isn’t necessarily bad or something to be scared of. More, something to embrace and learn from, recognising that it will most probably lead to the next growth spurt. They advised others to identify and accept the worst thing that could happen. And when failing, to not be overly hard on themselves, but to instead pick themselves up, learn from their mistakes and not repeat them a second time. As one of the 52 interviewees Sherry Roberts, founder of The Longest Stay, said: “I don’t really know what failure is. I look at it as experience, deepening your soul, making you smarter and wiser.” 

 

Losing your way by emulating the bling of big business

Similarly, some of our entrepreneurs suffered from a fear of failure. Those who had overcome it talked about failure as an essential part of the journey and an inevitable driver of their growth curve. It isn’t necessarily bad or something to be scared of. More, something to embrace and learn from, recognising that it will most probably lead to the next growth spurt. They advised others to identify and accept the worst thing that could happen. And when failing, to not be overly hard on themselves, but to instead pick themselves up, learn from their mistakes and not repeat them a second time. As one of the 52 interviewees Sherry Roberts, founder of The Longest Stay, said: “I don’t really know what failure is. I look at it as experience, deepening your soul, making you smarter and wiser.” 

 

When the going gets tough, the tough get going

Women tend to be the primary carer of children making all kinds of sacrifices to look after both their family and business. Our pages are littered with examples of women managing this divide with grace, humility, hidden energy reserves and the ability to deflect exhaustion. Many experienced guilt at being absent from their young children. Our advice is to not be too hard on yourself, and that it will get easier as the children age into teenagers and understand the great things you’ve achieved. Also remember that you are not alone – there are lots of people in the same boat. And there are sites out there like Elizabeth Cowper’s WOMO and Justine Roberts’ Mumsnet that can give you much needed advice and support.

 

In Summary

Many of our 52 female entrepreneurs overcame significant issues when starting and scaling up their business. To stay successful, they advised to 

  • Not let a lack of confidence hold you back, by not expecting to be good at everything. Instead, play to your strengths and surround yourself with people who can cover your weaknesses.
  • Overcome fear of failure, by seeing failure as an essential part of the journey and an inevitable driver of your growth curve, rather than something to be scared of.
  • Not be seduced into emulating the bling of big business, by staying true to who you are and what you know, and remaining lean, flexible and cost-efficient.
  • Keep going when the going gets tough, by being prepared to make the personal and financial sacrifices needed to see your business idea come to fruition.

The Author

Ruth Saunders uses her 30 years of experience as a strategy consultant at McKinsey, marketer at P&G, advertising planner at Saatchi & Saatchi and market researcher at Mars Inc, to help clients be ‘On Point’. She is a marketing and branding consultant, trainer, speaker and coach – and author of “Marketing in the Boardroom: Winning the Hearts and Minds of the Board.”

Ruth can be reached at ruth@beingonpoint.co.uk

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