As a female entrepreneur, you are bound to discover lessons learned and favourite tips from your experiences. A wise person once said that the first act of wisdom is to give good advice, the second is to ask for it and the third is to follow it. While this statement applies to all aspects of life, it resonates even more when it comes to entrepreneurship, which is a field full of surprises and twists.
If you’re a student thinking about starting a business, know that you’re in the right place! I had the chance to talk to inspirational women who decided to work on their own, which led to this list of 7 things you need to know before you get started as an entrepreneur.
#1 Take Your Time
For Christen Konan, CEO of her financial coaching firm, KC Consultings, in Ottawa, it is important for future entrepreneurs to think carefully about their project and plan it properly before starting. This will help you to avoid “hitting your head” as she says, as you will have a clear idea of what you want to do and, therefore, a guideline. This step includes coming up with a good definition of the benefits of your product or service and identifying what you want to bring to the market.
#2 Surround Yourself With The Right People
Christen Konan shared her second piece of advice about one’s surroundings. She said that one of the most important things for female entrepreneurs is their entourage, because it is what guides them and helps them grow. Therefore, it would be great for you to build a network of professionals in your field through which you can develop connections and share information. However, you should not neglect your loved ones who will be in the best position to support you and bring you a perspective different from that of a professional in your field (for example, because of their perspective as a possible client).
#3 Continue Training
We all know that you never stop learning. According to Binta Kanté, co-founder of Spirits Chocolats, an online gift shop and retail store selling chocolate-based treats in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, the success of any entrepreneur depends on continuing one’s education in business management.
Although she stressed that it is very good to delegate tasks, she acknowledged that an entrepreneur must have, at minimum, knowledge of each of her company’s functions. Whether it is in marketing, accounting or finance, it is important to have basic knowledge that will enable them, especially in small businesses, to keep an eye on their activities and be able to recognize any problems or errors. Binta advises those interested in starting a business to watch YouTube videos, attend seminars, and connect with local entrepreneurs to further your training.
#4 Be Humble
This advice from Christen Konan echoes the previous one. She explains that in order to succeed in business, you must be humble. This humility will allow you to always be open to constructive criticism and continuous learning, which will improve your performance.
#5 Accept Challenges
Any entrepreneur, especially as a woman, must prepare to meet obstacles, says Marcelle Goran, director of a business support structure for hiring and retaining immigrant workers in Quebec. Whether they occur in your personal life or in your micro-environment, she maintains the fact that challenges are inevitable. Therefore she advises you to see these obstacles as means to help you grow and improve, and invites you to put them into context when they occur.
#6 Believe in Yourself
It can never be overstated that self-confidence is essential in entrepreneurship. As Christen Konan says, “if you do not believe in your project, you will not be able to convince someone else to trust you and join you in your project.”
#7 Go For It!
This latest advice comes from freelance photographer-journalist, Ama Ouattara. She emphasizes the importance of freeing oneself from the hesitation and fear that often leads to inaction. Once you feel that this is what you want to do and have thought about your project, she advises you to avoid thinking too much, but rather to go ahead and start. After all, only then will you know whether your project can work or not.
Now you have a few essential tools that will help you navigate the busy waters of entrepreneurship. If your project is well thought out, only one thing is left to be done…go for it!