Over the past thirteen years, I have worked with hundreds of women entrepreneurs as their business coach. I’ve noticed that many women small business owners experience the same challenges in growing and running their businesses, such as feeling overwhelmed and isolated, having difficulty keeping focused, not enrolling enough support, and not planning for growth.
Here’s a summary of my best advice for any woman running a small business – my top seven tips for women entrepreneurs:
1) Focus on your strengths
There’s an old saying – ‘Do what you do best and delegate the rest.’ Know what your top strengths are. Delegate or drop anything that you’re not exceptionally skilled at, and focus at least 80% of your time using your key talents that bring you income.
2) Put yourself first
Your growing business needs a lot of time and plenty of attention. Many women in business put themselves third or fourth on their list of priorities. Put you and your business first and everything else will fall into place.
3) Learn to say ‘no’
I ask women who have started a business to drop anywhere from 25% to 50% of their time commitments when we start working together. Most women are too over-committed with non-business related activities. Be strategic about what you say yes to, especially in the first few years of your business. Guard your precious time as the valuable asset that it is.
4) Plan for success
Lack of planning causes more businesses to fail than anything else. Planning is very valuable because it causes you to think ahead to your vision and next steps to reach your goals. You can create a simple one page marketing plan that outlines your business objectives and how you will achieve them.
5) Ask for support
Don’t try to figure it all out by yourself. Notice where you are stuck and could use some help, and ask for it. Ask colleagues or others who have been in business and could mentor you, hire a business coach, or form your own mastermind support team.
6) Delegate or drop your weaknesses
Get clear on what you don’t enjoy doing or don’t do very well. Either stop trying to do it, or find someone who will do it for you. A perfect example is bookkeeping. If you dislike it, give it to someone else to do, and free up your time to earn money doing what you do well.
7) Keep an eye on the bottom line
You don’t need to have complex financial statements, but setting targets and tracking some key indicators every month will help you understand how you are doing. You’ll know sooner what’s working and what’s not working so that you can make strategic adjustments.