With International Women’s Day coming up and Women’s History Month ongoing through March, there’s a lot of talk going around regarding the growth of women’s business presence. Some celebrate the successes, others denounce areas of failure, but on both sides of the argument it’s clear that women as individuals are more motivated than ever to step into leadership positions, even starting their own businesses.
Confidance. As an entrepreneur you’ve got to believe in your mission. Trying to launch a business generally means facing setback after setback and constant rejection. You are the creator of the whole venture, and you are the source of all faith and confidence in it’s success—if you don’t believe you’re destined for greatness, no one can.
Get role models. Almost all the big names in tech are male, and men still make up the greater portion of business owners, which can make it hard to find role models. Still there are many women to look up to that will have shared your struggle. Whether its one of the growing number of female executives in Fortune 500 companies, or one of the many successful entrepreneurs of the past decade. Don’t rely too heavily on your role model though, because you risk emulating them too closely and losing sight of your own strengths and weaknesses.
Play to your strengths. As a result of the male-heavy population in the entrepreneurial world, you probably won’t feel totally comfortable playing to business leader stereotypes. For example, many women report that they aren’t comfortable with aggressive sales approaches. But as with many things in business, there’s never just one right way to accomplish a goal. Sales can be controlled through clear communication and goodwill just as easily as through assertiveness. Don’t just rely on what appears to be the normal way to approach something. You’re here to forge your own road, just like everyone else, so do it in whatever way you think will work.
Don’t Ignore your Weaknesses. As part of great leadership, you’ll have to know where you rely on others. The goal is to build a well rounded team that covers for one anothers various weaknesses.Obviously with small teams, you’ll still have some gaps, but as long as you recognize where you lack strength you’ll at least be able to maneuver to prevent it from hurting you.
Be a role model! Right now there are more women starting businesses than ever, and more and more will pop up in news as their businesses see success—you could be one of them! More and more of the women you’ll want to emulate will be your contemporaries, especially as the younger millennial generation steps up to the plate. And most importantly, you need to see yourself as your own role model, you need to visualize yourself being successful and strive to take the steps that bring you to that goal.
Don’t let “being a woman in tech” hold you back. By that I mean: don’t dwell it. If you face a setback, don’t stop to wonder if things would be different for a man in your position. It’s not that there isn’t value to making that kind of appraisal in another setting, but as a business leader your foremost priority is to dig in and push past obstacles. You’ve got to dial in on overcoming the challenges at hand. God knows running a start-up is hard enough without burdening yourself with more doubts.
Get support. More and more women are forming groups to support one another in business leadership. See if there are any entrepreneurial women’s groups near you, where you may find some valuable network connections. These groups are also good for building confidence if you’re feeling overwhelmed, as you’ll have access to more individuals with shared experiences.
About the Author: Sakshi Sharma is a mobility strategist for Software Developers India, which offers Mobile & Web App Development Solutions. She really enjoys helping round out your innovative ideas. Connect with her on Twitter or Google+
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