Women all over the world are known to take on disproportionate amount of responsibility in terms of running the household. Some are even the sole breadwinners of their family. There are single mothers who struggle to make ends meet while at the same time raising the children single-handedly.
Women form half of the population of the world, yet their ownership of property and resources is not commensurate with their contribution to the society. Often, they do not have a voice, bound as they are by cultural restrictions and the traditional apathy perpetuated over the centuries.
Women are the conscience keepers of the society and play an important role in rising the next generation who have the right values. Therefore, it is imperative that they are given the economic muscle they need to be able to do that effectively. Women can only be empowered economically and be made equal partners in decisionmaking through economic freedom.
How do we ensure that this is taken up, given the traditional constraints imposed by society, lack of formal education in women and scarcity of jobs?
That, the women do not lack in ability is a fact only too apparent when you look around you. All they need is initial support so crucial to find their own feet in the world of business and entrepreneurship. But winds of change are blowing as the families realize the importance of extra income and the resultant benefits it brings in terms of better food, housing and education.
Realizing the potential of women entrepreneurship and how it can positively impact socio-economic indicators, Government of India (GoI) has put its might behind the venture, and is facilitating the process through workshops, training and microfinance. Marketing the product has also been made easier with the help of cooperatives, and self-help groups.
Government guidelines state that an enterprise owned and controlled by women is the one in which they should have a minimum financial interest of 51% of the capital and giving at least 51% of the employment generated in the enterprise to women. Finally, it would appear that we are a step closer to our eventual goal – recognition of women‟s role in shaping the society and their economic empowerment. Women entrepreneurs in India face challenges of cultural bias and lack of public safety, in addition to pressures of balancing work, home and family. They never gave in or gave up, and carried on to build valuable companies while also giving back to society.
1. Do something you love and are passionate about and good at, if you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like ‘work.’ Emotional drive will sustain your enterprise. Treat learning as lifelong. Learn from successful people also. Keep a diary to chronicle your personal and professional growth.
2. Don’t just sit at home and be confined to the four walls, take on a job no matter how small.
3. Don’t let house work consume you, and don’t get stuck in micro-management. Use gadgets and home helpers to simplify things.
4.Getting support and advice from family and in-laws helps, especially in looking after kids; the Indian joint family system has some advantages here.
5. Align family members with your dreams and objectives, bond with them, and show how they can also benefit.
Some women entrepreneurs recommend starting ventures only after kids are sufficiently grown up, others believe there is no need to wait. Children may also learn from watching their mother at work and may even want to help or contribute where possible, don‟t get into situations where you feel you are neglecting them. Society puts pressure on women to feel guilty if they succeed, as if success has come by overlooking family.
It is certainly possible to strike out on your own, but family support helps greatly. Love from your spouse can sustain you even after their demise. But even if you don‟t get this support or get abused instead, don‟t just be a victim, don‟t be defenseless – overcome obstacles, empower yourself and move on. Never feel useless, hopeless or purposeless.
Many women entrepreneurs are naturally attracted to women-oriented product lines. Women leaders are good in people skills, multi-tasking, creativity and communication, but business success calls for attention to finance, legal and operations as well. Don‟t be afraid to ask for help or hire other experts, because as an entrepreneur you have to learn about all these things and know how to manage them. Reach out to mentors, coaches and fellow women entrepreneurs. Treat your work and profession very seriously, or you will bring a bad name to women in general. Take pride in what you do, don‟t slip on quality. Build your own sense of instinct and gut feel (Strong Intuition), which will take you from something ordinary to something else extraordinary.
Work hard and be patient, even those who initially oppose you may support you later. Keep a positive mind, and don‟t take „no‟ for an answer. Don‟t be deterred by failure. Don‟t believe that women are „less‟ than a man: a woman is a womb plus a man! Value your integrity, and be honest to your customers and employees. Make „clean‟ money rather than „tainted‟ money.
Honesty will give you good sleep. Stay healthy and fit. Be friendly, but being „too friendly‟ is easily mis-interpreted by unscrupulous men. Give back to society, there is more to life than money. Work on your relationship with yourself. Keep mental and physical space for yourself to regularly think, plan, mediate and dream. Learn how to have different kinds of dreams – near term and long term. At the end of the day, keep your sense of humour!
Key Important Tips for a Women Entrepreneur
With the women entrepreneur finding her niche in different industries like hospitality, catering, automotive industries, manufacturing industries, corporate training, heading large BPOs and even in the creative ERP space, the Indian woman has come a long way and has paved the path for the younger women to take charge of the entrepreneurial spirit and help it soar to greater heights. It hasn‟t been an easy journey though. Women have had to strike a work and home life balance to begin with, along with gaining enough skill sets to enter the entrepreneur‟s shoes.
We have broken ground with our perseverance, patience and passion to make it to the top. In our quest to compete and collaborate with our male counterparts in the business arenas of board rooms, marketplace and customer acquisition, here are a few pointers that will help us steer better.
1. Dive In – As women we pay larger attention to detail and may find it very difficult to let go of our quality concerns. A good idea however, is to jump right in – more than getting it right the first time, it is important to get it started. Even the world‟s largest operating systems are a work in progress and keep improving themselves – they never waited till they got it all right to the last.
2. Resource Team – Make sure you set up your resource and support network of advocates, auditors, trade associations which will help you in times of crisis. These support networks also add value to your life by becoming a pillar to lean on in times of need, providing the right advice and help to bail you out of any tricky situation.
3. Get out of your Comfort Zone – Doing things you have never done before can help you achieve what you have not achieved before. This will require you to be open to get out of your comfort zone to take that larger leap of confidence and stretch yourself to do bigger things in life. With the help of the right mentors and guides you can do this – it may make you fearful at first, but once you have stretched yourself you will be a new you at the end of the road and that is what matters. You‟ll find yourself feeling more fearless and confident than ever before.
4. Find a Mentor – Remember all that you have set out to achieve in your business has mostly been achieved by someone else. A good idea is to hire a good mentor who can help you follow certain winning strategies and practices to take your business to the next level. Innovating on a process that already exists is a waste of time and effort. Why would you re-invent the wheel?
5. Listen – Be a good listener for customer pains – so you can help them with a solution to the same. Listen for opportunities hidden in a conversation when people share the issues they are facing in their businesses. Empathetic listening also wins you brownie points as a compassionate person and people will be more than willing to build a relationship with you, helping you build a sustainable network of support, information and knowledge to help you power up your business. While there may many books on the subject, there is no clear-cut instruction manual for women entrepreneurs on how to wade their way through. What I am sharing here is from my own experience to empower many woman entrepreneur‟s and how these simple tips have helped them in their journey. Happy business times ahead.
Here are 5 more selling skills to learn.
Selling is an art; an each and every one of us needs it. It‟s simpler than we imagine, when done properly.
1. It’s not personal One of the hardest sales skills to learn is how to deal with rejections. Jean Paul DeJoria, the co-founder of Jean Mitchel Systems and founder of Patron Tequila said: “When 100 doors are slammed in your face, go to the door number 101 and be just as enthusiastic as you were at the beginning.” How to do that? Just don‟t take a rejection personally and go on. If some people say “no” to your idea or proposal, they are maybe just not prepared for it, right now. But don‟t allow this to doubt in yourself. Believe in yourself and find people who will support your ideas. You have to remember that successful people do things unsuccessful people try to avoid in any possible way.
2. Find out pain points of people Even if you have exceptional sales skills, you would have hard times selling a bottle of water to someone in the Himalayas. But offer this same bottle of water to a thirsty group of tourists lost in the middle of a Sahara desert, you really shouldn‟t have any struggle. Take time and find out what people need in your town or anywhere in the world (thanks to the Internet you can offer your solutions just anywhere). For example, if you are a yoga teacher, there are many people who have backache problems because they sit for long hours so try to think of how to offer your service in their offices, when they have a break. There are many people who want to learn marketing skills and you might already have these skills. So look around for the needs first and then figure out ways for solutions.
3. Keep eye contact Keeping eye contact is one of those tiny, small but very important sales skills which show a prospect you really care about him or her. Successful people know that avoiding eye contact is a sign of insecurity. The next time you speak with your boss or your customer look calmly in their eyes (just don‟t stare at them like you are in trance) because with natural eye contact, even when you don‟t talk you are silently telling: “I listen to you and I care for you.”
4. Follow up, follow up, follow up One of the most efficient sales skills for bringing referrals in is a great follow-up. How good would you feel if you enroll in a fitness program and the next day a fitness instructor calls you asking how you feel after your first workout day? People who do great follow-ups know they can win customers for life. So, if you want to be successful make sure you take great care for people around you. If you helped someone at your office with a problem a week ago, ask him how he is doing now, what his progress is. If you own a business, pick up the phone today and ask your customers how they are doing with your product.
5. People buy you first Even if you master all the selling skills in this planet if you don‟t have a good, caring personality, nothing will really work. You have to remember that people buy you first and only then your products, which means that they have to trust and like you first. It doesn‟t matter if you sell transformers or tomatoes. Work regularly on yourself, read motivational books every day, watch videos on YouTube which motivate you. In this way, you will become a strong personality which is the great foundation for your success. Mastering sales skills is basically the art of mastering relationships with people around you. To be successful in your life, work every day on slight improvements on every of these sales skills, and the compound effect of slight improvements will be shown in the better quality of your life very soon. Happy selling!
Of the plenty of businesses that thrive today, there is unlimited competition in every field. Add to this the dynamic economic weather conditions that entrepreneurs face, one cannot deny that it is becoming increasingly challenging to survive, grow and position oneself in the market. With several players offering similar products and services as you, how are you going to make it in this business?
Highlighting your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is one of the techniques that have become central to positioning your business and differentiating yourself from your competition. Superior quality, timely delivery, professional approach to working with clients are no longer considered as USPs, these are a given, core to your very existence and survival in this competing environment. So how then, does one offer something different and unique and make it a great business. Of the several articles, blogs and podcasts I‟ve been following, one thing stands out. This one thing will always remain unique to you, and explains why you do what you do and how you show up in your business. This one thing is YOUR OWN STORY.
Your story, your passion, your WHY for what you and how you do it is a huge differentiating factor and is a no competition point. Your experiences of life, your learning and your takeaways are only for you. Spend some time and be focusing on the WHY of your business and what is YOUR STORY for being here in the first place. You will be astounded when you see the connection. Coming from an emotion, you always stand a better chance to win business and new clients in a non-transaction format. So where do you go looking for your story?
Please view the interview with Jyoti Singh-a leading women entrepreneur to get real life inspiration and message from this successful lady.
The following pointers may be helpful:
Research shows that 90 percent of our today is based out of childhood experiences, good or bad. For eg., you may have never excelled at sports and may have always let down your basketball team in school by not scoring a basket.
Feel the moment:
Once you identify that moment, live there for sometime. What were some of the emotions you felt then? Rejection by your team, self-disappointment, felt like a failure? v Analyze what it meant to you: Did you feel uplifted or let down by your performance and what did the world around you feel about you.
What you do today:
And how it has its roots in that childhood experience. For eg., today I train professionals by imparting selling and marketing skills so they don‟t face failure in what they do and are accepted and appreciated by their organizations and teams. I know what failure feels like.
Connect the dots:
Now that you have your unique story, you elaborate it or shorten it based on the situation and make a conversation shooting from this aspect with your clients and you‟ll see the difference. You will no longer be in the transactional mode of business. You will start to build long term relationships with your customers based on your emotions and your story which they will connect to beautifully and will be highly inclined to work with you. It is no wonder then that the adage stands true – facts tell and stories sell. For the next few networking events you attend and for the new client meetings or old client catch ups you go for, come from your WHY, YOUR STORY and you‟ll find a whole new dimension of doing business opening up for you.