“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah
Successful Topics: Value-Based, High Goals, Culture of Success, You define your Success, Trust your Instincts, Midas Touch, Multi-Networks, Invest in Self, using Time & Energy, Serendipity. Failure Topics = none
Growing Influence. Today, there are more successful women in leadership positions than at any time in this country’s history. Women are making history and changing the face of this nation’s economy. Today, women hold 51% of all management professional positions; 14% of the military are women and there are 91 women who are elected members of Congress – the highest ever and many more running this year.
Women’s Leadership Exchange. [WLE] Most impressive, however, is the movement of women into entrepreneurial leadership. WLE members know the statistics — women have been starting and growing businesses faster than men for over two decades now. Women-owned businesses that have surpassed the $1 million mark are no longer a rarity. Today, the Center for Women’s Business Research reports that 20% of all businesses over $1 million are owned and led by women, and many of these businesses are multi-million dollar enterprises – highly successful.
What sets these women apart? – who own & lead the fastest growing & most substantial businesses. What can women who aspire to grow their businesses learn from these women? To help answer that question, I 1) combed thru 20 years of research with thousands of women business owners at the Center for Women’s Business Research, 2) added in the latest research on leading women in business conducted by universities & other researchers, and drew upon my personal experiences with this nation’s top women entrepreneurs. The result was 10 characteristics that clearly described and differentiated the most successful women business owners.
- Be Values-Based. The most successful women business owners have examined their values and know what they are. Further, they have the Courage to act upon these values. Values are your core, everything else around you may be in flux and changing – but your values remain rock solid.
- Set High Goals. The most successful women business owners set high goals. And when, they achieve these goals, they ratchet up to the next level, always setting the bar higher. In fact, research by the Center for Women’s Business Research showed that the only statistically significant predictor of whether a woman business owner will obtain capital and expand her business is not length of time in business, size of business or industry – it is her goal for growth.
- Create Culture of Success. Focus on your internal business culture and build an environment that reflects your values. The most successful women business owners create organizations that are characterized by inclusiveness & diversity; team orientation; consultation; coaching & individual development – inspiring others to move toward a goal. In a research project, we asked women who owned substantial businesses what they were doing differently than their previous employer. The response was simple: “We ask employees for their opinions & insights – and we actually listen to the responses.” Structure your organization so that each employee will feel successful both professionally & personally. The result is an organization that is successful, because it reflects the success of every member.
- Define Success in your Own Terms. It is SO easy to let others – well intentioned others – define Success for you. Think about it. Your parents, your spouse/partner, your children, the people who work for you, your friends – they all try to define success for you. Women are more sensitive to social pressures, and it is so easy to fall into the trap of embracing the existing definitions of success. One of the last frontiers for women is to recognize that their personal definition of success may differ from the traditional definitions. That’s why you became a business owner – you do think differently! All the various “others” offer you is great insights & ideas. You should listen to them and consider what they are telling you. Many times, you will find others see strengths in you that you have not recognized. But, in the final analysis, YOU must take control of your destiny and define success in your own terms.
- Trust Your Instincts, which are not whimsical feelings without foundation. Instinct is my driver of experience, knowledge, & insights collected throughout my lifetime. When faced with a situation that requires a decision or a judgment call, all of the factors present in the current situation go thru this process as fast as the brain can process. The speed of the brain may make it appear that it is a hunch but it is not. It is based on millions or perhaps trillions of bytes of info, providing a life-learned understanding of what yiou’re facing. When something feels right, it usually IS right; and conversely, when it feels wrong, it usually IS wrong. Follow wisdom of your Intuition!!!
- Nurture your Midas Touch. The most successful women business owners are financially savvy. They educate themselves about business finance by taking classes & reading + seeking out knowledgeable advisors. Studies from the Center for Women’s Business Research show that the women who own and lead the larger, faster growing businesses embrace a discipline of creating & using financial reports as a management tool. It’s also vital to have a long term capital strategy for your business. You must have tight control over Cash Flow + know how & when to leverage both external & internal sources of capital for cash management & growth. Most importantly, Value Wealth Creation – for the business & for yourself –make this part of your plan.
- Build multiple Support Networks. The women with the more substantial firms join more networks + a greater variety of networks. Recognize that different organizations provide different value to you & your business. Move outside your community and women’s networks to join industry groups; associations where you can meet new prospects and expand business relationships; organizations where you can contribute to your community; & organizations to hone your business skills. In addition, build networks of friends & colleagues who are there to provide support in the tough times + help you celebrate the successes.
- Invest in Yourself with both money & time in your intellectual, physical, & spiritual well-being. Sometimes, the time is harder to allocate than the money! The most successful women business owners are life-long learners. Whether it is conferences, seminars, classes, consulting with other leaders, or reading the latest literature, you must invest in both money & time in your intellectual growth. Invest in your physical well-being. To be the leader you aspire to be at all times, takes a high level of energy & wellness. (How many times have you heard someone say about you – “I just don’t know where she gets all that energy!”?) Commit yourself to regular exercise routines and keep up with medical visits. Invest in your spirituality. This can run the gambit from formal religion to quiet meditation; from readings to keeping a personal journal. Whatever your approach, stay in touch with your inner core of self awareness & values.
- Treat your Time & Energy as Scarce Resources, that are as critical as any item in your business or family budget. The more successful you are, the more others seek your advice & assistance. These requests come from worthy groups, community leaders, for profit & non-profit organizations, customers, employees, business colleagues & aspiring business owners. It is flattering and often you believe in the cause or goals of the organization. So it is hard to turn down the multiple requests. However, time & energy are not infinite. The most successful women business owners set priorities – based on their personal goals & values. Take into account the demands of both your business & your personal life as you establish priorities. You have just so much time & energy, so you must use it wisely. This means saying YES at the right times; and hardest of all, saying NO at the right times.
- Always Leave Time for Serendipity. Leaving time for “serendipity” means not packing your schedule so full, not being so focused on the day-to-day operations of the business that you don’t have time to consider new business ideas or to think strategically about your business. Equally as important, it is about taking those special unplanned moments with your family or friends to celebrate or just to do something together. Remember the early commercial for cell phones where the child says to her mother as they as getting ready to go to day care –“Mommy, when can I be a client?” The next scene shows the mother and child at the beach – the child playing and the mother able to keep up with her business via the cell phone. It is these “serendipitous” moments that bring joy & delight + new vision into our personal & professional lives. Grab hold of them, enjoy them !!!
Comments: do you know of any other Traits of Successful Women Business Owners?
from Women’s Leadership Exchange; enhanced 8/18 by Peter/CXO Wiz4.biz
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