As more women leaders step up in the world, as business owners, philanthropists, and community role models, it’s clear that as protectors of that feminine, “yin”, energy, we possess certain qualities that are not only effective but VITAL to our society’s well-being.
But when it comes time to run our businesses, it seems like this idea of our femininity gets lost in translation. I see many women entrepreneurs struggle to find their unique, feminine voices—and as a result, we fall back on old stereotypes and behave like we think we “should”.
It is possible however, to be a lady AND run a successful business. Read on for 7 tips on how to hold on to your unique YIN, and still get ‘er done. 😉
1. DON’T think that testosterone rules.
When many women start their own businesses, they fall into the trap of thinking that they need to behave like a man in order to succeed. But truly effective and successful leaders determine their own leadership style. When you are running a company, strength is required, but it should be consistent with your own personality. We should celebrate our uniqueness—the very things that distinguish us from men—and let our intuition, emotional intelligence, and true natures shine.
2. DON’T be too nice.
To be effective you must get in the habit of not always worrying about what other people are thinking of you. If you are locked into a dispute with a supplier, don’t take it personally. If you have to bring up a difficult topic such as an employee’s poor performance, be firm and clear about what you want from them and point out how their actions are having a negative effect. When you are finished, allow them the opportunity to have their say. There’s a way to be assertive, not hard-nosed, in a way that maintains your role as the leader.
3. DON’T expect the world to come to you.
Don’t be shy about coming forward—not just to drive sales, but to become a permanent presence in the minds of your customers. There are loads of things you can do to get your business noticed. Blog about your area of expertise, get stories in the media, tell everyone about what you do, reward loyal customers, launch a new product, and promote events. If you don’t toot your own horn, no one else will!
4. DON’T give away the store.
Adding value to your services keeps customers coming back for more, but don’t let fear or insecurity drive your decisions. Discounts and bonuses are necessary sometimes, but think of ways of adding extra value that won’t cost a cent. Don’t compare yourself to the competition or try to match their giveaways. If you’re strong and confident in what you do, and you convey your value in a strong way, there’s no need to charge less or to continually look over your shoulder.
5. DON’T disguise statements as questions!
Women disguise statements as questions because they fear they will be seen as assertive or they’re worried about sounding foolish. However, questions sound weak. Statements are stronger. Get into the habit of making statements, and only ask questions when there is a need. Solicit opinions after setting out your proposals. It suggests that you are open to hearing other opinions while still maintaining control.
6. DON’T undervalue your time.
As a business owner, time is money. Don’t shortchange yourself by giving your time away for free, or wasting time on tedious tasks that don’t generate money for your business. Start thinking of ways you can delegate tasks, from grocery shopping to researching leads, so you can focus on the BIG fish, like landing that top-dollar client, planning your next big product, etc. The good news is you do NOT have to do it all!
7. DO play to WIN!
Are you worried about meeting targets, or whether the business will collapse? If so, you are playing not-to-lose when you should be playing to WIN. The best you can achieve here is not losing. And that mindset will not get you where you want to go. Don’t waste energy devising Plan B if things take a downturn. Ensure that you have the drive and tenacity to pursue your dreams. If you take the attitude of failure not being an option, you’ll be surprised how much you’ll achieve.
© 2012 Ali International, LLC
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
“Entrepreneur mentor Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow a profitable business that make a positive impact. Get her FREE CD “Top 10 Secrets for Entrepreneurial Women” at www.AliBrown.com“