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Women in Business

The business of running a profit-making venture is not for the faint-hearted. Neither is running a marathon or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Like any goal of significance worth pursuing, careful consideration is necessary before deciding to own or run a business of any kind. Embarking on a long-distance journey without proper prior planning, a specific destination, adequate preparation, a survival kit and a road map will greatly reduce your chances of successful completion. Having said that, running a business can be a very rewarding and fulfilling experience especially if you engage in creating and delivering a product or service you not only find interesting and enjoyable, but that is also relevant and solves an urgent problem in the market place.

In my experience as a Business Woman and a Success Coach, being a woman in business yields different experiences than being a man in business; sometimes slightly and sometime majorly. Although few far between and perpetrated by ignorant minds, women sometimes experience sexism, ageism, racism and stereotypes like “a woman should be submissive”, “it is better to hire a man than a woman”, “women are too emotional” or “a vocal woman is too aggressive and manly”. For these and various other reasons, some women find themselves wearing different masks at different times and working twice as hard to prove their capabilities whilst holding on to their femininity.

That being said, women have over the years steadily and surely made their mark in what is deemed “a man’s world”. Jenna Goudreau of Forbes.com says, “Women are now the majority of global graduates, earning 58% of the world’s college degrees. And in an economy in turmoil, women dominate growing industries—fields like health-care, education and personal services—and are responsible for starting two out of every five small businesses.”

Rise of female entrepreneurship…

Across the globe, a growing number of women are occupying seats on major corporate boards, are in government and also politics. They influence policies that are shaping the world, they run corporations and SMEs, and they do all these whilst running homes and shaping the lives of future world and business leaders; their children.

Women are women and men are men…

There is no arguing that men and women are different. We will never be the same in physical stature or hormonal composition. However, women in business are just as astute as men or even more so in some cases. Accepting our differences as well as our similarities is very liberating and frees up valuable mental space to focus on what is truly important; results!

Effective communication…

Objections in business can be overcome by learning the art of effective communication; both verbal and non-verbal. Without a doubt, communication can be a deal-maker or deal-breaker. The ability to build rapport quickly and find common ground increases the chances of converting a complete stranger or an opponent, into a valuable contact.

Confidence…

There is something to be said about delivering a sales pitch, or a product or service with poise and grace as well as authority. Loud and aggressive does not equal persuasive. In the same vein, modesty doesn’t make profits. If you believe in yourself, recommend your product or service with confidence. Be sure of the results you deliver and work on articulating them confidently when questioned. Negotiation is an art and those who are confident communicators go further than those who are not.

Consistency…

Repetition is the mother of mastery. It is true that women have to work hard to prove themselves in business. An astute business woman is consistent in learning her craft and her industry, and growing herself to the level of becoming a key person of influence; the go-to person for a solution to a specific problem in the market place. Becoming influential in your field doesn’t happen overnight. It takes continuous personal and professional development, staying connected with your target market, building strong business relationships and learning to communicate effectively.

Self-empowerment…

Self –empowerment for women is vital when navigating what can be rough business terrain. Whether through common-interest groups, success networks, reading, listening to audiobooks, prayer or meditation, self-empowerment helps women stay balanced and grounded. It reminds them to have and keep well defined personal values and sound business principles, and maximise their strengths without being overcome by their shortcomings. Self-empowerment helps women understand and remember that perfection is a myth, growth is a process and life is a journey.

All in all, running a business is fun, interesting, challenging, satisfying and rewarding. Invest in your personal growth. Have a plan, clearly defined goals, sound personal values and business principles, and a balanced view of life.  Be optimistic, pragmatic and wise. It makes it less stressful to navigate the different phases of the process; the good, the hard and the results!

Noreen Makosewe
Success Coach, Speaker & Business Development Strategist

www.themotivationallistener.com

 

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