Rules for Business Success as a Woman Entrepreneur

Here are three rules for business success that are easy to remember and can make a big difference in how you approach running your business.

Jelena Plivelic
Rules for Business Success as a Woman Entrepreneur
Researchers have found that women use what is called a “transformational” leadership style

1.     Rejection—the only guarantee

No one likes rejection. It feels terrible and it makes you doubt yourself. Loans rejected, partnerships rejected, business plans rejected, and so on. But the next time you find you’re feeling dejected about being rejected, remember one thing: getting rejected is actually an important part of your job. You have to realize more and more there is nothing personal about rejection. Use it as a learning experience. Imagine if everything you did was accepted by everyone every business idea you had was praised, every leadership decision was applauded. Sure, it would feel damn good at first, but you’d also never learn a thing. How do you get better and better every day? By being rejected, getting back up, and trying again.

What if Steve Jobs had given up on Apple because he got some negative feedback in the beginning or ran into some pitfalls? What if Oprah had stopped being an anchorwoman because she was rejected for being African American or not having the stereotypical anchorwoman body type? All that they’ve added to the world would never have been. That’s why if you really believe in what you’re doing, you must persist.

Another great way to look at feedback and rejection is to see it as a compass. Is your product not selling? Maybe it’s directed to the wrong customer base. Do you keep failing to get that one dream job and keep getting rejected? Maybe you need to rethink your approach, or, even more important, maybe the universe is telling you that that job does not use your strongest, most unique skills. Changing directions can hurt, but sometimes you weren’t going in the right direction, to begin with.

Getting rejected is actually an important part of your job

2. Being cautious vs. being rash

Some people are all-or-nothing. Sometimes you want to dip your toe into something and see what happens, and other times you want to dive in headfirst. So which one is better? The key here is awareness. Know when to go slow and know when to speed up.

As an entrepreneur, you cannot always be cautious. Often you have to take a leap, even when you are afraid and don’t know what is waiting for you on the other side. This is so important for business; there have been no successful enterprises that were built on caution. Sure, maybe there was caution in the beginning, but the caution could never be sustained. It needs to be mixed with some boldness.

Long-term pessimism and short-term optimism are two heads of the same coin. Although you can’t serenely balance these qualities like an entrepreneurial Buddha, you can always be conscious of which of these is in play, analyze the specific situation that you’re in, and then come to a conclusion as to whether cautiousness or rashness are going to work better.

The goal here is mindfulness. Look at the long term and see what you have to do in the short term to get there. As the saying goes,” It’s a marathon and not a sprint.” If you’re conscious of how slowly or quickly you’re acting, you’ll be better able to analyze the specific situation that you’re dealing with and know whether to speed up or slow down. If you’re acting deliberately and consciously, you’ll never fall into extremes.

3. Embrace being a leader and being a woman

Women lead differently than men. Researchers have found that women use what is called a “transformational” leadership style. What does this mean? This is leadership that aims to promote morale, motivation, and overall job performance. Essentially, women seek to bring people together and inspire them. There are five keys to this leadership style:

  • Goals. Everyone knows that goals are important for business. But the difference  between merely setting goals and seeking to achieve them, is that women leaders tend to do this by transforming the people around them. Helping them to be better people, better workers, and better dreamers. They invest time in inspiring, communicating, and developing goals that are clear and specific. Women are nurturers, and this is the case for their leadership style as well.
  • Beware of transactional-ism. Transactional leadership is the opposite of transformational leadership. If you’re a boss sitting behind a desk barking orders all day, you’re a transactional leader. When the boss doesn’t interact with their ”flock” on a personal level, they’re exhibiting transactional behavior. Women leaders do not find this kind of leadership natural, for the most part. The transactional style is actually detrimental to female leaders, whereas men often get away with it. Does your team expect you to be “touchy feely?” No, but they expect you to treat them like the amazing human beings that they are.
  • No bossy pants. Okay, that was a great book by Tina Fey, but in general you want to steer clear of this. Women don’t like it, men don’t like it, and you’ll get more flack for doing it as a woman. As girls, we’re called bossy when we stand up and tell people what to do. But grown men are praised for the same thing. If you were accused of being bossy as a young girl, there’s no doubt that you have trouble in your leadership position, because that insult made you self-conscious.

So the conclusion would be: Embrace rejection and failure, be mindful of cautious and rash behavior, and embrace being a woman to become a better leader.