The number of women-led startups is growing. However, we still have a very long way to go. It’s not a secret that women have long been one of the most underrepresented in entrepreneurship. Thankfully, the trend is shifting with entrepreneurship rates among women increasing steadily each year.
If you are a woman in business, you already know how tough it can be to penetrate the male-dominated business sphere. The drop off for women in leadership isn’t new; women have always been less likely to be considered for promotions over their male counterparts.
The fact that so little has changed for women in management is truly abhorring. This explains why the drones of women are exiting employment and starting their own companies. If you are one of these women that have opted to come back to the boardroom as a consultant or a business owner, here are some important tips that will ensure that you thrive:
Take it slow
It may feel counterintuitive, but take things slow, especially during the beginning stages. Unless you are sure about securing funding in advance or before launching, then it is probably best that you keep your day job as you continue to work on your startup.
There is nothing worse or more paralyzing than not having a clue where your next month’s rent is coming from. Although some individuals perform well under pressure, most people crumble.
Being under that kind of pressure will not only make things more challenging than they should be but being under that type of stress will consequently impact your decision-making abilities negatively.
When you are leading a start-up, you want to be in the best mind frame possible so that you can make sharp decisions. Don’t feel too much pressure to build your brand very early on in the process. Rather, pace yourself, which will prevent you from getting overwhelmed.
Don’t try and do too much
If you want to scale up your startup, consider looking for outside help. Hire freelancers, photographers, interns, and delegate. A lot of startup founders try to do everything themselves and it rarely ends up well because your business is simply not going to scale.
Plus, you’ll only end up tired, frustrated, and too stressed out to handle any other aspects of your business. Even if you can only afford to start with one freelancer at first, outsourcing some of the tasks will leave you open to focus on other more important facets of running a startup.
Have a plan, always
Ensure that you have a plan always. The most successful entrepreneurs are those that actually start producing prototypes or proof of concept before they can finally make a full transition. Often, it is much easier to get investors to jump on board when your idea has already been tested and tried before making the jump.
You will also want to do lots and lots of research on whatever industry you plan to work in. This will allow you to fully assess and understand the various risks that your business could expose you to. By the time you are ready to start operating, you will already have a good structure in place, which will give you the confidence you need to be a great leader for your startup.
Ensure that you get feedback
Feedback is essential because it will help to give your business credibility. When you actively seek feedback, it will place you in a better position to understand your customers’ and your employees’ needs. But first, you will have to go above and beyond to perform competitive research.
During your research, pay special attention to any negative reviews. Conducting this in-depth level of research will also allow you to figure out your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses so that you can then make strategic moves appropriately.
Pay attention to the needs of your employees
Startups stand out from traditional employment options because most primarily put their employees first, measuring success both in terms of happiness and profits. When employees are happy, they are generally more creative, loyal, and profitable.
Don’t believe it? Just ask the thousands of successful businesses in Silicon Valley. Most of all, happy employees are passionate employees, which is exactly what every startup needs to succeed particularly during those tough early stages.
When employees are not happy or passionate about what they are doing, they become easily distracted, disconnected, and disengaged. If the situation is left unchecked, it consequently results in poor work ethic, as well as low productivity. This can feed negatively into your company culture- and you know what they say about one bad egg.
To ensure that your employees are happy, there are a few basic things that you can do that will have a considerable impact. For instance, start by creating happy spaces that allow employees to freely interact with each other.
Happy spaces should be filled with fun things such as board games, snacks, Foosball and ping pong tables (check out this PingPongETC guide for various options) , resting lounges- anything that gamifies your business atmosphere and makes it more welcoming is a plus.
Come up with a stratagem for learning and development
Although it may not be a top priority during the early stages, learning and development will be an essential component of your long-term growth and success. The more training that you give your workers, the more knowledgeable they will become, which is what is needed to move your startup forward.
As a leader, it is your responsibility to come up with a development and training program. Such programs can take many faces, such as monthly workshops where experts are brought in to train your employees on current processes and technology. Alternatively, you can also pay for training or classes that can be attended by your employees.
Continued development is not only of benefit to the startup itself, but it lets your employees know that you are concerned for their welfare and career goals.
In the process of trying to make a startup successful, female bosses should never forget to support their most valuable resource; the staff. If your staff is unhappy, they will be disengaged and disconnected from your business, which is the last thing any leader wants particularly during the beginning stages.