Today, September 22, is American Business Women’s Day. So we thought we’d celebrate by looking at the routines and mindsets from successful women entrepreneurs. The beauty of it is that these can benefit you whether you’re male or female, and whether you own a business or not!
Although everyone who has a prosperous career has their own personalities and winning formulas, there are a lot of ideas that are common to those who blossom in business. Check out their tips and see how they might benefit you.
Stop, collaborate and listen
No, you don’t have to take a lot of business advice from Vanilla Ice. (Promise.) However, working with other people and building relationships is one of the keys to prosperity. Listening first to make sure you understand what the other person is saying will help you build the bonds of trust, whether with customers, employees, vendors, management, etc.
Stay in touch with people that you admire or work well with, because you may find that a partnership later will help you improve your chances for success. Just because the time is not right now doesn’t mean that a collaboration won’t bear fruit later.
This also applies especially to customers. What are they telling you about your business? And what can you learn from theirs?
Lauren Carson, CEO of Kinect Solar, loves to get to know her customers and learn about what they need. She says, “I then use this as a road map to keep doing what we’re doing, change up what we are doing, or bring new solutions to market.”*
Engage in self-care
You know by now (if you’ve been reading our blog) that it’s not just about bubble baths. Self-care includes healthy habits like exercise, good nutrition, getting enough sleep, and solid morning routines that give you a positive start to your day.
Self-care doesn’t just feel good, it also helps you stay productive and focused. As Daniela Braga, CEO and founder of DefinedCrowd Corp. puts it, “This not only helps me clear my mind, but also helps me to stay focused and energized on innovating.”*
It also means that wherever you’re working that you’re ergonomically situated to keep your body safe. When working from home, make sure your desk is set up correctly. You might consider a standing desk so you’re not sitting all day, which is dangerous to your health.
Use negatives to power your way forward
We can’t please everyone. Even if you’re a peach, you’ll find someone who doesn’t like peaches! It’s important to know your own values and stay on your own path, even if people express their displeasure.
Rather than letting the judgements of other people stop you in your tracks, use it as fuel for your own drive and determination instead. Michelle Hendy, co-founder and CEO of Trustech says, “I don’t make excuses and instead, use it as fire to build strength and overcome.”*
It can be incredibly satisfying to prove someone wrong by succeeding beyond your own wildest expectations. Just saying.
Develop your customer avatar
If you run your own business, you’ve probably heard this advice before. But it can also be extremely helpful for those who work in a business too.
Over the centuries artists have frequently used a muse who inspired them in their art. Your muse, or avatar, is a face that you put on your ideal customer. Get to know everything about them. You can talk to your customers about what they need as well as use surveys and other research methods.
Get to know them on an emotional level and share the avatar with your team. If everyone in the organization can put a face to the ideal customer, they’ll have a solid understanding of who and how you help them.
According to Brenda Freeman, founder and CEO of Arteza, doing so helps “… the entire organization to be deeply knowledgeable about not only the hard-core demographic information, but the emotional motivators that are important to them and what role your products play in their lives.”*
If you work for someone else, think about who your customer is. They might be external, or they could be internal. What problems can you solve for them?
Use “ikigai” to find your joy
Yes, you too can use the Japanese concept of joy through combining what you’re good at, what the world needs and what you can get paid for. Where those circles intersect is where you can find your purpose, if you haven’t found it already.
Having a purpose is key for a satisfying and fulfilling life. You don’t have to cure cancer or be a rocket scientist to have a purpose in the world. (Though those are nice if that’s how things happen to line up for you!)
By seeing the larger picture in your job, you can find purpose no matter what your work is. A study of janitors showed that those who tied their job to something like helping people heal by keeping the hospital building cleaning had much greater satisfaction.
Ashley Merrill, CEO and founder of Lunya, says, “I like this focus because unlike happiness, which tends to be more fleeting, this kind of joy is more enduring and gives individuals a sense of ownership.”*
Ask for more
Men have historically been better negotiators when it comes to asking for more money and more benefits, and women should follow their lead in being more assertive in their disputes. The more you ask for more, the more comfortable you are asking for more next time.
Don’t cross the line, but many people, especially women, will probably find that there’s a lot of room before you end up crossing over.
Whether you own your own business or not, you probably have plenty of opportunities for better negotiating. It’s not just your salary that can be increased when you ask for more. Think about what you want when negotiating with business partners and vendors.
Ask for more outside your career as well. Get the most from buying or selling your car or home. As Diana Lee, co-founder and CEO of Constellation Agency notes, “It’s important that people know their worth and asking for more simply shows people that you respect your own worth and what you can deliver for people.”*
What suggestions will you use to improve your business? Let us know in the comments!
*Note: all quotes originally from this Inc. article.