Shahnaz Hussain, Ritu Beri, Ekta Kapoor, Rajshree Pathy, Vandana Luthra, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is the names to reckon with. What links them in a common thread is all are successful women entrepreneurs running their venture with sheer grit, knowledge, determination and self-confident. Everybody knows Kiran Mazumdar Shaw started her venture “Biocon” in a rented garage with a seed capital of Rs.10, 00 whose profits now run in millions of dollars. Married at the age of 15 and mother by 16, Shahnaz Hussain journey as an entrepreneur is inspiring to many youngsters who dream to make it big in the entrepreneurial world. Started with one herbal clinic to selling a range of herbal products worldwide with annual turnover of more than 500 crores, she surely has come a long way.
Some decades back women as entrepreneurs were hardly heard of but today women are discovering their hidden potential and are trying their hand in various vocations be it as simple as making and selling paintings and jewellery at home or as demanding as running an e-commerce business. The daily grind of nine to five jobs, professional dissatisfaction and an ambition to make their own mark are making the women in our country to enter the professional world with a bang which years back was male-dominated. Some women have inherited the family businesses and are taking it to a new height while others have started form a scratch. Statistics of Web Women & Entrepreneurship in India 2012 Study indicate that women as young as 20 are starting their own ventures and are gaining immense success in their respective field. As the current scenario is also ripe to give shape to new ideas and passionately follow dreams, the women who are in their mid-thirties, by which I mean the mothers, are slowly and steadily turning into successful entrepreneurs.
Working closely with many female entrepreneurs , I have seen how beautifully they maintain work- life balance though it doesn’t come very easy, especially for those mothers who are taking the first step towards their financial independence as learning the nuances of a new business and carrying it to a greater heights is not a cakewalk . On the one hand if there is a thrill on success but on other hand there is a fear of failure too. If starting a start-up gives them their own identity but not running it in profit gives them jitters. So the question arises how not to loose your sanity and to overcome all challenges?
To begin with I would like to request mompreneurs that they should reflect on this axiom “Act like a lady think like a boss” which means don’t let your femininity get the better of your business mind & vice a versa. In this premise lies the whole crux of efficient entrepreneurship. To explain it further, dwell on the following pointers:
1: Professional Attitude
”…… they had this great integrity in terms of what they were doing and what they were making. And I think that’s a really entrepreneurial way to be….”
“When my company started really growing, I didn’t have any help in my house at all. I had the upkeep of my daily life, I had a one year old and a three year old, and I had my house. So I had to prioritize.” – Julie Aigner Clark- Baby Einstein.
Foremost and most important characteristic of a successful entrepreneur is to remain committed to their profession. In your start-up venture you should strive not only to make new clients but retain them which can be attained only if you remain disciplined in your dealings. Your attitude and commitment level to your profession should be reflected on timely delivery of your order, dispatching quality product and dealing fairly with both your clients and the employees. Then you have to successfully shuffle between your personal and professional life, so instead of getting all worked up, proper time –management is required which will ensure that your personal life is not hampering your professional obligations.
Professional commitment also require you to constantly update yourself with the current market trends and technology, proper coordination right from manufacturing to handing the product to clients, exploring ways and avenues for growth and maintaining a healthy relationship not only with your clients but with your competitors too.
At times your deals might not materialize, clients might get upset, you won’t get returns as per your expectations but these obstacles shouldn’t deter you. You should work upon any type of feedbacks, whether positive or negative. Starting a start-up is not an easy job but the fact that you have the resilience and spirit to venture on your own will help you scale new heights eventually.
2. Be clear in your thoughts and strategy
“It is our choices… that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”J. K. Rowling
Since beginning of times the Indian society has molded women to be a soft-nature person and it’s hammered into their psyche that first they are the nurturer to their families and then anything else so sometimes they start their professional life with feeling of guilt which might stresses her, effecting both her family and business. Therefore it’s very essential that a mompreneur enters any venture with a strong and determined mind without compromising on her work ethics or getting influenced by others if they try to mentor her.
Dear mothers, always remember that you are your own boss who should always have success strategy in place so that the company meets the required goals. Having a mindset of a boss would also project your confident image which will be beneficial for your venture in a long run.
3. To be a boss or bossy?
There’s a famous Hollywood movie “Devil Wears Prada”, in which the protagonist Meryl Streep, who is shown as a fashionista runs a big fashion house diligently but at the same time is a monstrous boss who is always dominating on her colleagues and presents an authoritarian figure. Obviously she didn’t command respect by her employees.
Moral of the story: although it’s good to keep everything right from your office, peers, colleagues under control but if it edges on you being arrogant, snooty or having a “ know-it all” attitude then it becomes a problem . Always have a cordial relation with your staff – motivating your team constantly, asking their feedback or even having a harmless talk over a cup of tea is highly recommended. This will not only help you in gauging the general atmosphere of your workplace but also the employees will find you approachable.
Like a good boss have a bigger and unique vision for your company and work towards it which will not only earn you a respect from your employees but from your competitors too.
4. Don’t lose your feminine side
“I am a woman in the process; I’m just trying to be like everybody else. I try to take every conflict, every experience and learn from it. Life is never dull.” – Oprah Winfrey
“Your dress should be tight enough to show you are a woman and loose enough to show you are a lady”- Edith Head, late costume designer who won eight Academy Awards.
Ladies take pride in the fact that you are a self- made woman coming out of your comfort zone to become a successful business woman. Your femininity is your strength and uses it to your advantage to project a dignified image in front of others. To manage any start-up and the dealings related to it require lots of understanding , zeal and aggressiveness which certainly doesn’t mean you have to get agitated or behave in improper manner in case the going gets tough .In fact such situation demands you to show the bold and enterprising aspect of your femininity. Also your feminine side is much more than your “make-up and high heels” ,it requires you to be comfortable in your own skin and to project a positive image to look a part of the professional world – be it the way you carry yourself, your attire, your conversational skills , your business sense , your body language and even your dignity.
5. Networking is important
Women are innately superior to men when it comes to socializing. Use the quality of having good verbal skills to your advantage in establishing good rapport with people in your industry. The more you are surrounded by like-minded people and involve in intelligent conversation with them the better it is for your venture. Networking should be on regular basis. Also make your presence felt on Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, or have your own website. Maintain a healthy relation with your existing clients as they will help you in adding new ones to your repertoire. Read the success stories of other entrepreneurs. At social events listen even to your competitors, you might learn something new from them. Always remember that in any entrepreneurship the key to success is having good connections.
So ladies, keep yourself motivated, committed, dedicated and come through with flying colours in your every venture.