Much has been written lately about women and leadership. While women have not made much progress in their attempt to gain access to the board rooms and corner offices of the Fortune 500, I think the more interesting statistic is that women are forming their own businesses at a much greater rate than their male counterparts. Women-owned small businesses are now expected to create more than half of all small business jobs in the country by 2018. With this statistic in mind, here are some tips for women (and men) who will lead:
- Disregard the Dichotomy
Motherhood and entrepreneurship are not incompatible. In fact, the reason many women start their own home-based business, is so they can gain greater control over their professional and personal lives. These successful women were driven to balance or blend their lives so they could better manage expectations on both fronts. In fact the “Mompreneur” is now one of the hottest trends and buzzwords in business. So as a leader and potentially a Mom, set the example for your employees and partners that it is possible to lead on both the business and family front. Embrace flexible work arrangements and family friendly policies.
- It’s Never Too Late
My business partner Sandi and I started our business twenty years into our professional career. We both had family obligations but that did not stop us from taking a path towards leadership. Both of us wanted to own our own business since we were children. It does not matter what you did in the past. People’s career paths take all sorts of turns. If you have a great idea, go for it! Taking that initial step is the single most important thing you can do as a leader.
- Pay It Forward
Once you have risen to the top it is important to give back. Someone may be in the place where you first started. Since you have been down the road, lend a helping hand. People can range from your own staff to a potential entrepreneur looking for a little guidance. Something as simple as offering kind words can create a sense of self-confidence for a future female entrepreneur. Women have found that by offering support to each other, they can make a change in societal views. Be part of that shift and offer support to fellow woman business owners.
- Don’t Just Lead, Mentor
In the same regard as giving back, mentorship can be just as rewarding as growing a business. Now that you have become a leader, it is important for others to grow as well. The principles, ethics, and strategies you used to make yourself a leader can now be taught to employees, interns and students. This will also help your business to continue to grow.
I would like to thank Patrick Coughlin for his help on preparing this article with me. Patrick recently graduated from Temple University and is a marketing intern at Consultants 2 Go. Don’t forget, you can email me at Peggy@Consultants2Go.com with any questions you might have and I’ll be glad to answer them. You can also follow my business and me on Twitter @peggymchale and @consultants2go.