I was blown away when I first heard that only 1.7% of female entrepreneurs reach $1 Million in sales. How could that be possible when there is almost a 50/50 split between female and male-led companies. As I have been interviewing CEOs and researching, I have compiled a list of 7 crucial steps to become one of the 1.7% percent.
Women want to do it all themselves and not ask for help. We like to control the situation and do not want to bother others. We are givers that are always helping but not eager to accept help back. You MUST have a support system of mentors, advisors who you can go to for assistance and advice. A support system will save you a lot of money, time, and mistakes. Almost twice as many men have mentors as women. Find someone who already has done what you want to do, even if it is in a different field, and start a relationship with them.
Know that you can’t do it all right off the bat and that you do need help if you want to grow. Outsource the things you are not good at, do not enjoy, or that you can pay less for than you can make. You are better off spending your time doing things you enjoy or that you can make more money. For example, if you can get someone to clean your house for $20 an hour and earn $50 an hour, you are losing $30 an hour by cleaning your own home. If you think of everything as an opportunity cost, your entire business will change.
3. Think Big
Once you have your product validated, go BIG. Often many women think small; they make their fantastic product out of their home and sell at local stores or farmer’s markets but don’t realize they could be growing so much faster. If people are buying your product locally, it means people nationally or worldwide would want to buy it too.
4. Put you and your business first
Many women with families put their families first 100% of the time. It is great to be a dotting mom or spouse, but you have to follow your dreams too. Ensure your family can help in reducing your workload so you have more time to focus on your business. I realized early on that my kids were not eating the lunches I was making for them, so I decided I would empower them to make their lunch box with the food they want. I saved myself at least 30 minutes.
You deserve to be successful and influential. Believe it. Know that your mission is not negotiable. As Sarah Roberts said in her interview when you go for a 5-mile run, you don’t make a contingency plan; if you don’t finish the run, you know you will just do it. Be that way with your business as well.
6. You May Need Financing
If you have a growing business but need more money to propel it and grow at a faster pace, then don’t be afraid to ask friends, family, and angel investors to invest. Don’t lead the fundraising process to be intimidating. You can learn as you go. Just start the process. You will learn as you go.
7. Things Do not Have to be Perfect
Women tend to be perfectionists. They want everything just so before they launch. They are nervous about failure or what others think about them. STOP. You can’t grow unless you are pushing yourself. If you are not feeling a little uncomfortable each day, then you are not growing. Launch without the perfect logo or website. Things are going to be constantly changing anyway. You may think you know what a customer wants, but then you realize they want something different. Progress is better than perfection.
As women, we need to get out of our way and believe in ourselves and our business. Take the passion you have for your business and breakthrough the problems, obstacles, and naysayers, and just go for it!!