In the current economic climate the words "Happy New Year" have a rather hollow ring. So many of us are anxious about the future of our businesses or our job security, worried by the falling value of our properties and investments, nervous about our day-to-day spending. And whilst I don't pretend to have all the answers, one thing I do know is that we must all find the courage to deal with these challenges and try to forge a way through the negativity that surrounds us daily. My advice is simple: don't allow yourselves to be paralysed by doubt. Try each day to take some positive step toward your goals. Be flexible and resilient: should one approach fail, be persistent and take another route. If your current business model isn't working, review, regroup and do something different. Do everything to the best of your ability, expect positive outcomes and never give up. Where did I learn these things? From the many wonderful women I have networked with over the years and who have shared their wisdom with me. Their advice is summarised in our main article this month. I hope you can take inspiration from it, as I have done. Oh, and Happy New Year - I hope it is filled with everything you wish for yourself and your loved ones.
How to Succeed in Business: Advice from Women at the Top
Do you want to make this the year you really succeed in business? Then follow these key steps, drawn from Praxis research among some of the UK’s most outstanding women business leaders and entrepreneurs.
First, believe you can do it. Set yourself some stretching challenges and learn what you’re made of in order to build your self esteem. Remember that many of our limitations are self-imposed because we don’t dare to be bold enough.
Focus on your Vision & Ideals so everyone knows who you are and what you believe in. Successful people have passion, conviction and a vision of what they want to achieve. Share your vision with others to motivate and inspire them. This is a key quality of leadership.
Have a Plan and Set some Goals & Milestones. Know your strengths and weaknesses: build on the one and work to overcome the other. Leaders are readers, so work constantly to extend your knowledge. Anticipate obstacles and plan to overcome them.
Build your Skills Portfolio. Developing a portfolio of versatile skills puts you at a great advantage. Top managers and entrepreneurs are drawn mainly from general management and successful women have usually gained experience in this role.
“Be first rate in terms of your skills for the job – being average won’t do”.
Unusual combinations of skills attract a premium and prepare you for key projects and new opportunities: finance, IT, project management, bidding & tendering, mergers & acquisitions. Find a niche you can make your own.
Gain Visibility. Successful women are astute at recognising opportunities to step change their careers by volunteering for high profile work. Be flexible and be prepared to step out of your comfort zone.
“Opportunities are often disguised as hard work – that’s why so few people recognise them”.
Find a Champion or Mentor. Seek support and advice from influential people in your field through professional organisations and other networks. These people can open doors for you and are a valuable source of information.
Appear confident: don’t be too reticent. Learn to tell a good story like your male counterparts. Take credit when it’s due to you and demonstrate your potential. Speak up at meetings and always present your case professionally. Practice, to hone your presentation skills.
Harness your Drive & Use your Initiative. Successful people are good at recovering from setbacks. So develop resilience and an optimistic spirit. Learn to create opportunities out of difficulties. Network with other women and learn from their coping strategies.
‘I did it my way’. Successful women find new ways of doing things to get faster results, or to be more effective. Base your business on a new paradigm – don’t be afraid to do things differently and to find new ways to relate to the needs of your customers.
“If you do things well, do them better. Be daring. Be first. Be different. Be just.”
Go the extra mile. Most successful women are dedicated to doing a good job, and to getting the best for their company, their clients and their team. Don’t settle for half measures.
What’s luck got to do with it? Luck is not just being in the right place at the right time, but feeling empowered to seize the opportunities that present themselves and run with them.
Finally, we wish you every success. But remember, no-one said it would be easy! And if you need help with your personal image to look and feel more confident, why not call us for an initial chat on 01865 245460.