I believe that as women business leaders we should embrace our femininity rather than think of it as a roadblock to success. In my opinion, what could be described as gender weaknesses are actually our strengths—sensitivity, planning, willingness to ask, and at times, to take direction.
Jenn Houser make some great points in her article, “Why Women are Great Strategic Planners,” demonstrating this observation. I’ve condensed her tips here:
Make a game plan before you start out
If you’re planning a business, you need a business plan, and you should write it down. No, I don’t mean you need to write a 40-page document that no one will ever read. However, you should create a 15-page PowerPoint deck that covers each of the key topics essential for any business, including a clear roadmap for how you’re going to build the business out over the first few years.
Admit what you don’t know
No one knows everything needed to start and run a business. The trick is to figure out what you already know, what you don’t know, and how you’ll fill in the gaps. For example, when making your business plan, you may realize that the business requires consumer marketing but that you don’t know beans about it. Plan to have a partner who’s an expert.
Ask for help along the way
Once you have your plan, you should talk to others for feedback. Good people to talk to are investors in similar companies, people who know your industry well, and your customers. You’ll likely hear a lot of good things, but make sure you listen to their concerns and ask them what they think would work better. They’ll give you all the information you need to get where you’re going.
Be willing to change your mind
When you get feedback, be willing to change your plan. This is called pivoting. Don’t worry, this is normal and every start-up changes plans a number of times. However, do not fall prey to the idea du jour. And be willing to say “no” (or “not now”) to some of the feedback you get.
I’ve blogged before about how I have used my femininity to my advantage in business. Women excel at many things and all we need to do is harness those qualities and talents in ways that make the most of our inherent abilities. Please read my blog, “Women Business Leaders: Use Your Feminine Strengths to Achieve Business Success,” for more on being successful while retaining your femininity.