Businesswomen launching startups can feel supported by a book full of essential small business and startup advice
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The Survivors Guide for Female Entrepreneurs.: What You Need to Know to Be Successful supports female entrepreneurs who are bravely adventuring into the exciting but daunting startup world.
This essential book is a natural extension of the work done by the New Canaan-based businesswomen Kathy McShane who is a committed advocate of women’s empowerment.
In her book Kathy provides female entrepreneurs with inspirational and practical advice, as well as motivational tips and relevant success stories. Female entrepreneurs who are launching their own small businesses can feel supported throughout their startup journeys and begin to feel confident and fearless in their professional endeavors.
Kathy’s experience as an entrepreneur and mentor is as impressive as her business achievements. She founded Kendrew Group, Ltd, a multi-million dollar, award-winning marketing organization and is the Founder and CEO of Ladies Launch Club. She is also a dedicated mentor and an adjunct professor at New York University where she teaches Competitive Intelligence.
Here Kathy tells Nativa World which unique challenges she believes many female entrepreneurs face when they begin their entrepreneurial journeys and she suggests how they can best begin to overcome them…
1) FAILURE TO COMPROMISE
The biggest change we are experiencing is ‘Technology’. It has opened up so many doors for so many women. In theory, women can work remotely, they can pick their hours and they can have more balance in their lives. However, the business world has not caught up from a societal point of view. Women still believe they can have it all, and many are not willing to make any compromises.
We as women have to face the facts that we can’t have it all. Many women don’t want to accept this however it’s simply the way it is. My advice is to find a compromise that one can be comfortable with. Don’t think of this journey as a failure but instead think of it as being realistic. Dealing with head-on will make your life easier and you will have more energy to concentrate on the things (work, personal life, family) that give you the greatest satisfaction.
We need to bring this into balance. The biggest challenge I faced at Kendrew was coordinating all the people who worked remotely with me. The technology was not available to meet via webinars or to develop sophisticated presentations. When I first started, we “sent out” things to be produced in color. We had to schedule in-person meetings and be sure to factor into our schedules the time it would take to FedEx packages. There were nights that we were literally chasing the Fed-X truck down the road to make a pick up.
2) LACK OF FINANCING
The biggest obstacle women face in launching a business is a lack of financing. It’s such an overwhelming prospect to some entrepreneurs that many don’t even try. They are terrified they will be turned down.
In the past, local banks were the sources for funding, but now there are so many alternatives — financing companies, angel investors, crowdsourcing and more. So be on the lookout. There is plenty of money out there.
3) INEFFECTIVE TEAM BUILDING
Men and women alike have a hard time getting great staff members. Many are not sure of the exact skill set that they need from employees or where to find them. Often they hire based upon past relationships or friendships, and this can become a disaster.
Stay away from hiring friends and family unless they have a skill set that is essential to the success of your business. When hiring be sure to have the other team members involved in the process. The other team members will have a good sense of whether or not the person will be a good fit and be able to deliver what is necessary for the position. I always ask the interviewee some “silly” questions to see how they respond. I ask things like, if I asked you to get me and the others coffee, how would you feel about that. I also give them a 90 day trial. I don’t hesitate to let them go if the relationship does not work out in that time frame.
4) LACK OF ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT
Women have made great strides in the workplace; however, Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, said: “Women are not making it to the top of any profession in the world.” It may be because they don’t follow their own instincts. I believe to be successful in the corporate world you need to do what entrepreneurs do. The information gathered by pollsters’ correlates with what I’ve found in my time as CEO of Ladies Launch Club. For instance, a recent Gallup poll examined the talents driving entrepreneurial success, and they’re a good gauge to see if you have the right stuff. What Gallup discovered is that, across the board, successful entrepreneurs have 10 main talents: a focus on business, confidence, creative thinking, delegation, determination, independence, functioning as seekers of knowledge, promoters, relationship builders and risk takers.
Successful entrepreneurs have been goal setters from a young age. Even as kids, they thought like successful people, willing to work toward what they wanted to achieve. Young entrepreneurs always find ways to make money so they can get that new bike, dress or car. These budding business people set goals and stick to them. They are not afraid of hard work; rather, they embrace it. They tend to be extremely opportunistic and realize that in order to be successful, they need to take risks. While this may seem like a harsh assessment, they are always on the lookout for new opportunities regardless of where they are in their entrepreneurial journey.
5) UNSKILLFUL MARKETING
Small companies are also inept at developing and executing a marketing plan, and they don’t know where to go for help.
There are lots of great organizations out there that can help you with this. DO NOT hesitate to seek them out. I recommend a Mastermind Accountability Program. The people in this group will keep you on track to get it completed, give you ideas and challenge your thinking. Be sure to include the details of your product/service, pricing, promotional and advertising plans and how to plan to distribute the product/service and operating budget.
Kathy’s Startup Tips:
- Do what entrepreneurs do
- Be sure to keep current with the changes in the market as well as in technology
- Be yourself and own yourself
- Surround yourself with really smart people who have the same work ethic as you
- Minimize negative comments and don’t gossip
- Also, take good care of yourself physically and make time for yourself
- Launch even if you don’t think everything is perfect
- Embrace and know who you are
- Trust yourself and your instinct
- Just do it — even if you have never done it before
Photography courtesy of Kathy McShane
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