The only secret to succeeding as a woman entrepreneur
By CEO Teresa Scott
Teresa Scott is the founder of Kennedy Scott, a company that specializes in helping the long-term unemployed to find work. She is a woman who truly overcame the odds when starting her business. This is her number one secret to success.
All over the internet there are advice pieces on ‘how to get ahead’ as a woman in business, and the first thing I’d like to acknowledge is that like losing weight: there are no quick ways, no tricks, to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Regardless of gender, it is all about hard work, dedication, military organisation, a huge amount of courage and, yes a dollop of sheer pig headedness.
However, there is one thing that a woman needs to stop doing if she is truly going to establish herself and her business.
She needs to stop hiding behind excuses and start to think ‘I can do this’. In other words, for an entrepreneur there is no ‘not being able to do’ something there is no other option but to figure out how you ‘can do’ the next thing and solve the problem which is holding you back from achieving your dream.
It is tough to think about, but ‘yes we can’ was the entrepreneur’s motto long before it became popularized by Obama.
If you watch Dragon’s Den, you might have seen Bagger’s Original becoming part of Team Deborah. Mother and daughter, Angela McLean and Jessica McCarthy, appeared on the show with their product, a children’s clothing line that was first launched by Angela in the 80s when Jessica, now 29, was five years old.
Angela, the original mind behind the brand, explained why they initially collapsed in the 80s: it became too big too quick and Angela simply did not have enough experience or money to do it all herself. Yet in the relaunch, alongside her daughter, she made the key statement: at one point or another, she has worked in every part of her business – from product creation to marketing, operations to (quite clearly) gaining support from investors.
Like the Baggers’ Original team, there are almost one million small and medium-sized businesses led by women in the UK. Even though entrepreneurialism is often seen as a less straightforward route for women than it is for men, I believe that at the heart of any successful entrepreneur is that ‘can do’ attitude that sees them not just at the top, but leading, motivating, nurturing their business to success. For many it is simply the only option that allows them to juggle their work-life balance and return to part-time or flexible working under their own steam rather than dancing full time to someone else’s tune.
To an extent women do have a unique set of hurdles to overcome. Women are still more vulnerable to things like the growing costs of childcare than their male counterparts.
Admittedly, the truth is that any entrepreneur will have to find the right balance between harnessing their own expertise and ensuring the business works, but key to success is establishing a strong support network inside and outside of the company.
Something I would highly recommend for entrepreneurs, for example, is joining a group like ‘Just for Founders’, a support group started by Kate Hodsdon for start up leaders and entrepreneurs, or surrounding yourself with like minded friends who truly understand the rigors of the job.
However, it is the power of a ‘can-do’ attitude that sets apart the successful from their competitors. All potential entrepreneurs will generally have skill, talent and knowledge but it is sheer determination and not taking no for an answer which sets them apart from the dreamers.
For every ‘Dr Yes’ like Richard Branson, there can be a woman like Karren Brady or Lizzie Vann founder of Organix baby food, or Sara Murray founder of confused.com. Each of these women are also a ‘Dr Yes’. Look at Claire Sweeney. She has just launched her show and embarked on a grueling tour of Sex and Suburbia, despite having just given birth to her longed for baby, a few months ago at 44. She has no concept of not doing it – just as I had no concept of not completing my MBA when I discovered I was pregnant a month into the course, or not starting my own business, Kennedy Scott, because I was a woman.
It’s estimated that roughly 93% of new businesses fail by the end of year one. To be in the winning 7%, we all need to persevere in what is still perceptibly a ‘mans world’. But the journey starts with you and you need to believe you can do it before anyone else will believe in you!
By each embodying our own individual ‘yes’ we can do this. We can say yes to success.
Teresa Scott is a successful female entrepreneur and the CEO of Kennedy Scott, a pre-employment service in London, South-East and Midlands. Her efforts with the long-term and ‘hardest to help’ unemployed has meant hundreds of people have managed to get back into work, and Kennedy Scott has won numerous awards for their work. Teresa genuinely believes there are no barriers to employment that are insurmountable and is passionate about changing lives for the better.
Source: The W Review, http://bit.ly/1OwaVuP