Today women are starting businesses at a blistering pace with survival rates higher than men. When compared to their male counterparts, women are routinely lauded for having better team-building skills, being more intuitive and for being smarter money managers than their male counterparts. But none of this matters when you become an entrepreneur.
So what does matter?
#1. Don't believe everything you see on TV.
Life is not a reality television show. Don't count on a benevolent billionaire to give your fledging biz a leg up. News programs focus primarily on idiosyncratic (think tech) start-ups that morph at warp speed into hundred million dollar companies. TV shows glamourize the life of an entrepreneur. The reality is long hours, really late nights, little if any remuneration and questionable eating habits.
#2. What's it all about?
How do you define success? If it's just about money, you've already one foot in the entrepreneurs' graveyard. Passion is what motivates you when the going gets tough. Fortunately, women tend not to measure success merely by financial criteria, placing higher value on achieving professional autonomy and work/life balance.
#3. Do It Yourself.
When you start a business, plan on doing the lion's share of the work yourself. If you don't trust your instincts and capabilities, who will? Also keep in mind that obtaining financing is one of the primary barriers for female entrepreneurs. Nonessential expenses will quickly erode your financial cushion, assuming you're fortunate to have one. I'm not suggesting you learn HTML but you need to own the creative process that brings life to your vision.
#4. Man plans and God laughs.
A business plan is the first concrete step to making your vision a reality. It defines objectives while outlining your point of difference and marketing strategies. But don't think of it as set in stone because any business plan relies upon a degree of conjecture. If anything, plan on it changing -- for your business landscape to alter at the blink of an eye and your marketing plans to become obsolete even faster. Most importantly, plan to remain open to innovative ideas and unforeseen opportunities.
#5. Resist The Imitation Game.
Trending isn't all it's all cracked up to be and doesn't necessarily equate with sustainability. Innovation is one of the primary ways to differentiate your new business and arguably the most crucial factor for continued success. While factors like efficiency and good management are essential for business success, they rarely sustain growth.
#6. Success is the ONLY option.
Words matter. Learn to give life only to positive thoughts. If you plan for failure -- the ultimate F-word -- chances are that's what will transpire. I never termed FACE atelier a small business, although it certainly started that way. I always refer to it as an emerging one. Think in terms of challenges, not problems and regardless live in solution. Learn from missteps and then shut the door on them. Focus on victories, however minute some might seem. Last but not least, believe in yourself because when you do, anything is possible.
There's no single formula for a starting a business, but almost every successful entrepreneur tells a similar story. Running your own business simply feels good. Making dreams a reality is incredibly rewarding. There's a relentless passion to solve problems. And despite the long hours and the never-ending challenges along the way, it's fun.