Starting your own business is serious stuff. It requires confidence in your own abilities, courage to venture into an unknown territory, and loads of hard work. Incase of women entrepreneurs, these attributes are required in twice the amount as they not only have to deal with the typical uncertainties of the entrepreneurial world but, also with the naysayers who are quick to doubt both ‘her abilities’ and ‘her commitment’.
Being an entrepreneur myself, I have listed 6 major attributes every woman must have or inculcate in order to survive being an entrepreneur. Basis my own personal experience, here we go:
1. Confidence & Support:
One of the most vital factors required to start and create a successful venture is self-confidence. More so, if you are a woman. And not for any other reason, but simply because you need to fight against years of conditioning and a certain negative societal attitude.
Do your homework well, research, study and know everything there is to know regarding your business. And, create a support system around you. Whether it means parents, in-laws, friends, household help, drivers - whatever.
At the end of the day – you can be at only one place at a time. In my case, I was lucky to get the support of my family and friends. Though initially they got worried,but later on, after a hell lot of convincing – they ‘seem’ to have accepted the ‘business’ I am in.
2. Keep emotion out of your business:
When I say this, I mean it. You are running a business here, not a therapy institute. There are stakeholders that rely on you – right from your investor to your janitor!! Just like you squirm when someone asks you if you will be able to deliver, in the same way – you need to ensure that people deliver. Of course, it should not sap the empathy out of you. As an example, one of my close friends was damn neat at designing banners; and I approached them for the same – with commercials and timelines. As fate would have it – they failed to deliver on time – twice. I knew I had to get the website going – I just had to replace them.Unfortunate.
3. Keep the faith:
That essentially means that believe in yourself. There will be distractions, failures, bad decisions – but they are all a normal and acceptable part of running a business. It is okay. Have confidence in your abilities and know that you will fail – and maybe multiple times. But keep the faith.Learn to overcome what others think about you. Initially, when I discussed this idea with a few close people, including senior professors and mentors; most of them told me to drop this idea and continue my “safe” job. Of course, I thought different;ly … and stuck with it.And, if you still need some mojo to do your thing, check out this super inspiring advert by Tanishq. Thank you everyone – maybe not yet…
4. Don't try to be a man:
That is probably the worst that you can do to yourself. Men and women are wired differently. And learn to accept that. It doesn’t matter which side of the brain you think from and which one you use first, just THINK. Be clear in your thinking and trust your instincts– they will seldom let you down.
It’s the best time to be an entrepreneur in India – the ecosystem is growing and how! With a host of enablers and support groups now available for women, make the best of it. There are ample events and conferences the year round in every part of the country; make sure you attend at least one every month. Only to network.
6. Look for a mentor:
You can know everything about your own business from Google, except how to run it profitably. That is when you need a mentor – who has been there and done that. Except for sheer luck, there is no substitute for experience. Put in that extra effort to look for a real mentor – who helps you grow – both personally and professionally.