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5 Do's From One Woman Entrepreneur to Other As more and more women entrepreneurs ambitiously set out in the startup route, the challenges specific to woman entrepreneurs and the effective habits to deal with them will definitely change

By Shweta Shalini

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India is changing and so are its women. The more Indian economy changes, more the challenges which entrepreneurs face change too. The challenges unique to woman entrepreneurs undergo similar changes in line with changes in Indian society. We are no longer a society averse to professional & financially independent women like we were a couple of decades back. As we celebrate International Women's day this month, it is essential not to delve into the specific challenges which woman entrepreneurs face but get into something more constructive. With my experience and study of other successful women, 5 tips for women who want to be successful, who want to make a mark and for women of substance who can inspire the future.

1. Be Money Wise

Indian women have always managed homes but talk to them about Money and it falls low in their priorities. Managing personal finances or managing money is not a preferred profession for women. Women entrepreneurs also ignore finances - take a quick course if you have to but be money wise. Read your own P/L statement, know about taxation laws. After all, you are in Business to make money, honey. Gone are the days when women entrepreneurs would find it impossible to raise capital. However, the fact remains that gender biases still affect the odds and it is important for woman entrepreneurs to be structured to be taken seriously. A lot of Angel funds like wholly focused on Women entrepreneurs have come into the industry to fill that void. Financially savvy women entrepreneurs cannot just easily understand the concerns of the investors and calibrate their pitch accordingly but can also keep a tight leash on cash flows which are the lifeblood of a start-up. Educate yourself of all financial terms which will definitely come handy throughout the life of your venture.

It's all about the Vitamin M

2. Women Can Not Get-it-all

The good news for us women is- no one can! But yes, Indian society with all its changes is still a society where a woman is a primary homemaker. So, if you choose to be an entrepreneur you will have to multitask, sleepless hours, work harder than your male counterpart. Do not forget to take out me time to plan, exercise and meditate. Eat properly. A healthy, happy woman is a good boss, a great team player & a creative genius.

Enjoy Entrepreneurship! Enjoy womanhood!

3. Play on your Core- Competencies

As Women, we are born multitaskers, but as Indian women, we want to be Master of all trades, jack of none! Now that could apply to be a great Mum but difficult trait in an entrepreneur. Learn to identify your strengths and play them well. Entrepreneurs maximise profits by concentrating on their core competency and collaborating on the rest. Learn to delegate, don't shy away from building a team better than you and most important trust your partners.

Make your Individual Mark.

4. PMS can only mean Plan-Model-Scale

Women are seen as an emotionally weaker class. Make that your strength because that translates into caring for your subordinates, empathy with colleagues and understanding need gap of your customers. Women who become entrepreneurs do not suffer from PMS(Pre Menstrual Syndrome). You can't be irritated, angry and ailing. You are the leader and your train will run as fast as you the engine will. Plan your day every day & your activities/travel for a month. Model your ideas, build a pilot, run trials beyond family and have the courage to scale, slowly but sustainably. And for God's sake, your venture is not your Baby... do not refer it as your baby. Be ready to fail, exit or sell if need be.

Build your own personal Style.

5. A sisterhood shout-out

Any woman entrepreneur will testify that going into any networking session means going into a room with only a handful of a woman. The business landscape is still largely male-dominated, especially at the topmost rungs. It is important therefore to read up things which are often brought-up like current political events, sports, gadgets etc, After all, it is networking session where you go for interacting and better be prepared for it. Also, connect and network with other women because there lies a huge strength in sisterhood. Unfortunately, women come together only to gossip or to complain- in the Big Man's world it is easier to make way if you are an organized strength.

Network Girls, Compete Women and Collaborate.

As more and more women entrepreneurs ambitiously set out in the startup route, the challenges specific to woman entrepreneurs and the effective habits to deal with them will definitely change. Let us hope this woman's day that eventually a woman's day will come where there are greater gender parity and men and woman are given equal opportunities, equal pay so that it paves the way for a more equal India.

Shweta Shalini

Chief Evangelist, Mentor, Founder & Funder, Billennium Divas

Shweta Shalini is a serial entrepreneur, investor, BJP Spokesperson and Advisor to Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
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