Define Success in Your Own Terms
It is SO easy to let others – well intentioned others – define success for you. Think about it. Your parents, your spouse/partner, your children, and the people who work for you, your friends – they all try to define success for you.
Women are sensitive to social pressures, and it is so easy to fall into the trap of embracing the existing definitions of success. One of the last frontiers for women is to recognize that their personal definition of success may differ from the traditional definitions. That’s why you became a business owner – you do think differently!
All the various “others” offer you great insights and ideas. You should listen to them and consider what they are telling you. Many times, you will find others see strengths in you that you have not recognized. But, in the final analysis, YOU must take control of your destiny and define success in your own terms.
Be Values Based
The most successful women business owners have examined their values and know what they are. Further, they have the COURAGE to act upon these values.
“Values are your core,” says Francine Manilow, president, Manilow Suites. “Everything else around you may be in flux and changing – but your values remain rock solid.”
Create Cultures of Success
Focus on your internal business culture and build an environment that reflects your values. The most successful women business owners create organizations that are characterized by inclusiveness and diversity; team orientation; consultation; coaching and individual development; and inspiring others to move toward a goal.
In a research project, we asked women who owned substantial businesses what they were doing differently than their previous employer. The response was simple: “We ask employees for their opinions and insights – and we actually listen to the responses.”
Structure your organization so that each employee will feel successful both professionally and personally. The result is an organization that is successful because it reflects the success of every member.
Trust Your Instincts
Instincts are not whimsical feelings without foundation. Says Laura Henderson, former CEO of Prospect Associates, “My instinct is really my hard drive of experience, knowledge, and insights collected throughout my lifetime. When faced with a situation that requires a decision or a judgment call, all of the factors present in the current situation go through this hard drive as fast as the brain can process.”
“The speed of the brain may make it appear that it is a hunch but it is not,” she continues. “It is based on millions or perhaps trillions of bytes of information, providing me with a life-learned understanding of what I am facing.” When something feels right, it usually IS right; and conversely, when it feels wrong, it usually IS wrong.
Set High Goals
The most successful women business owners set high goals. And when, they achieve these goals, they ratchet up to the next level, always setting the bar higher. In fact, research by the Center for Women’s Business Research showed that the only statistically significant predictor of whether a woman business owner will obtain capital and expand her business is not length of time in business, size of business or industry – it is her goal for growth.