6 habits of successful female entrepreneurs
What does it take to build and maintain a profitable enterprise? These inspiring British female founders offer up their business advice...
Men are much more likely to become entrepreneurs.
The 2016 BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report found that 66% of the world's business owners are male, yet female entrepreneurs were found to be more successful than their male counterparts. In fact, 89% of women running a business expect profits to grow over the next 12 months.
So, if the majority of female founders can build a profitable business then why aren't more women starting businesses and challenging the status quo?
Well Polished, a domestic cleaning brand which has helped a number of women start a franchise business, asked female entrepreneurs up and down the country to share the habits that have made them successful.
With the hope of encouraging more women to go it alone – and improving that 66% figure – here are the practices these inspiring female founders share…
Habit No.1: Resilience and tenacity
School of Speakers founder and former Apprentice runner-up, Claire Young, cites:
“Choosing your attitude is absolutely essential for business success. Being an entrepreneur has its good days and plenty of challenging times, you need to keep focused, positive and ready for action. So, after a tough day, you need to have the ability to brush yourself off, go to sleep and start fresh in the morning. Resilience and tenacity are needed in bucket loads!”
Habit No.2: Embrace the unknown
Business coach and speaker Melody Hossaini asserts:
“If you stay in your comfort zone for too long, it’ll become the most uncomfortable place you’ve ever been. Everyone likes their comfort zone! It’s where we feel safe, unthreatened and confident! It’s also the place that doesn’t need us to push, to grow or prove anything to anyone. In order to run a successful business you must overcome your feelings of ‘uncomfortableness’.”
The Fashion Dollz founder, Karla Zapolski, shares this view:
“Feel the fear and do it any way is the motto I live by. I believe it has helped me get The Fashion Dollz to where it is today. It’s incredible what you are capable of when you push yourself. I’ve never been very good at taking no for answer so through persistence and passion I normally get what I set out to get, and if I don’t then it’s not meant to be and I move on.”
Habit No. 3: Have self-belief
Stephanie Alys of MysteryVibe advises:
“As with any job or career, there will be highs and lows. In entrepreneurship, this is pushed to the extreme: the lows can feel so much more challenging, but the highs are so, so much more exhilarating! You’ll frequently doubt yourself, we all do. But at the end of the week you can look back at all the great things that happened and say ‘I did that'.”
Nancy Cruickshank, founder of MyShowcase, agrees:
“If you have a great business idea – and a passion to work incredibly hard to launch and build it – then give it a go! Every year in the UK, some 270,000 businesses are launched by male entrepreneurs. Approximately the same number are conceived by women but almost 100,000 less actually make it to launch. Why is that? Confidence, not competence, is the culprit. Women are more risk averse and less confident in their ability to succeed and make a business successful. So, my advice is simply to go for it!”
Habit No.4: Know when to say ‘no'
Josephine Middleton, director of Slummy Single Mummy, says:
“One of the most important things you can learn, is how to say NO. I get masses of emails every day and my first instinct is to want to say yes to everyone but, if you do that, you’ll not only suffer yourself from being pulled in too many directions, but your clients will suffer too. It’s much better to be choosy; say yes to only the projects that really excite you, charge properly, and then concentrate on completing those projects to a really high standard. You’ll get much more satisfaction from your work that way, a better work/life balance, and you’ll attract more business as the quality of what you do will be higher.”
Habit No. 5: Make time for kindness
Spice Magic founder, Pinky Lalani, comments:
“Be passionate about what you do, don’t be afraid of failure and most importantly be kind. Kindness is the most powerful tool for success. People never forget kindness and if, every day, you do something kind it snowballs. Kindness and collaboration are vital for small companies and, yes, there is always time for kindness!”
Habit No. 6: Take time out from business
Michelle Hua, founder of Made with Glove, advises:
“Remember to take time out and enjoy the entrepreneurial journey. It’s very easy to get caught up in to do lists and trying to be everything to everyone: including being a good partner, mother, sister, daughter, friend, business woman and manager. Seeking support throughout your entrepreneurial journey is very important and try not to feel guilty when you aren’t working on your business 24/7. It will still be there tomorrow or the next day.”
…A habit which is shared by More than Words founder, Lisa Long:
“Manage your work to life balance – be strict. I’ve had to learn to shut my office door when the children get home and to not work again until the following morning. If you plan effectively then it should be easy. Which takes me on to… plan, plan, plan – we plan at least three months in advance. Publications plan way ahead too so if you want to target relevant press you need to be ahead of the game.”
To learn more about the habits of successful female entrepreneurs, download Well Polished's eBook here.
If you enjoyed this piece, you should also take a look at these inspiring female entrepreneurs killing it in the UK start-up scene.