Posted by Africa Report
Gone are the days when the kitchen was the only place for a woman. Today, women lead governments, go to the moon, fly planes and make boardroom executives. As Africa’s women continue to break the glass ceiling and enter male dominated fields, Africa Report has prepared a guide for women entrepreneurs. Here are a few tips to keep you ahead in business.
Tip 1. Be Assertive
In the last few years opportunities for women entrepreneurs have increased but that does not mean that business is a walk in the park. Indeed, doing “business” is not for the faint hearted. Developing an idea and nurturing it to a profit making venture has its challenges. To succeed, you will need to be assertive and have a never die attitude. Always remember the goal you hope to achieve and fight off challenges and people attempting to stop you from doing so.
Tip 2. Don’t fall for less
Who said dreaming big is a sin? One mistake most women make is falling for less. Have confidence in yourself and your business. For instance, when seeking financing, don’t ask for a smaller loan than you need for fear of rejection. Otherwise, the financiers will take you for a joker.
It is also important to learn the art of negotiation. You don’t always have to fall for what others think is good for your business. If you are in control and know your facts, then you will always be the best person to know what is good for your business. Your negotiations should be based on your goals.
Tip 3. Be curious
Curiosity might have killed the cat, but it is one of the ingredients of success in business. Do not conform to old traditions; instead be curious to find out new ways of doing things. Try new things and give room for innovation. Don’t settle for industries that everyone else is looking for but rather seek to solve challenges both new and old in new ways.
Tip 4. Network
It is important to build contacts and make connections with other entrepreneurs, business leader’s academics and mentors. You can do this by joining an association of women entrepreneurs or an umbrella organization representing the interests of entrepreneurs in the sector you operate in. You can also attend business events, workshops and conferences. These are good platforms to receive mentorship, share and learn from other people’s experiences as well as meet possible clients or suppliers.
Tip 5. Balance
For new mothers running a business can be quite challenging. Staying long hours away from your baby can cause emotional stress and affect your productivity at work. So how do you strike a balance? It is important to have someone you trust take care of your baby, look after your kids, while you are at work. Alternatively, you can organize to get off duty frequently to have more time with your children and enjoy some essential rest. Thanks to technology, you can work from home. It is also important to seek support from other successful women who are mothers.
Tip 6. Control your emotions
Women are naturally emotional beings, but in business you will have to learn to control your feelings. Women have been said to pass on personal anger and frustrations from home to work. It is also believed that women take criticism at work personally. Learn how to separate your feelings. Be cautious about how you relate with colleagues and business partners. Don’t let your personal life and emotions affect your business.
Tip 7. Don’t act like a man
It is granted that there are many challenges for women in business, but that does not mean you have to act like a man to succeed. Be who you are and capitalize on your talents and strengths. On a lighter note you don’t always have to fill the big shoes, that is why we have stilettos.
Now who said that women cannot have financial muscle? Always remember that what a man can do a woman can do also, and sometimes even better. So go on, strive for the best.