“If you build it, they will come” is widely recognized from the 1989 film Field of Dreams, but it’s actually sourced to early-19th century French economist Jean-Baptiste Say, who’s also generally credited for having popularized the word “entrepreneur.” I share that quote because in many ways, it’s at the heart of what every business owner believes deep down. But there’s more to starting and running a successful business than just having faith.
You see, I’ve had to fight hard to not lose what I worked so hard to build. You learn a lot from success, but you learn even more in the struggle to stay on top. Here are five things that every woman needs to know when starting a business:
- It’s okay to be afraid. Starting a business is one of the scariest things you can do. To go from the security of a paycheck to creating money out of…well, nothing, really, is daunting. You have to build your great product or service or idea. And then you have to find someone to buy it. Then you have to do it again and again. The reality is that everyone is scared when they start, and even a little naïve. I certainly was. But being naive helped me look past the risks, and then forced me to learn quickly from my mistakes as my businesses took root and started to grow.
- Find a network that can help you. For many of us it’s not in our nature to ask others for help. Instead we try doing everything ourselves while performing double-duty as supermom. It’s no wonder we often second-guess ourselves! One of the best moves I ever made was joining two extraordinary women entrepreneur groups: MakeMineaMillion.org, a powerful event-focused community that helps women grow their businesses, and SavorTheSuccess.com, a PR Co-op and niche social media network. Both are phenomenal tools for helping to remind women entrepreneurs they’re not alone. Don’t kid yourself, running a business is incredibly hard. Get help, and get it before you think you need it.
- Be helpful to as many people as you can. Always put helping ahead of selling. Not only does this invite good karma, it reflects well on you, too. (And others will take note.) When I’m at a networking event and I meet someone new, the first question I ask myself is: “Who do I know who can help this person?”
- Remember to say thank you. People like to be noticed and appreciated, and you can never thank people enough! Keep a box of thank you cards on your desk and use them often.
- Keep things simple. When I first started out, I tried to be hands-on with every aspect of my business. Focus on what you do best. Find good people who can help you and trust in their skills. You’ll have more energy for the work you love and your organization will thrive on the power of having a team that believes in you and in your business as much as you do.