Being a woman in business is a challenge. There are so many obstacles one must face in the business world, but the longer you are in business, the less likely you are to make mistakes. Women are capable of being real impact makers in the business world no matter how big or small the business may be, so there is no need to make the following mistakes.
An example of a woman who had made a large impact in the business world is Mary Katherine Goddard. She and her mother become publishers of the Providence Gazette newspaper and the annual West’s Almanack, which made them the first female publishers in America. In the following years, she became the first woman postmaster in the country (1775) and then became the first printer to offer copies of the Declaration of Independence that included the signers’ names in 1777. She later (1789) opened up the first woman owned bookstore in America in Baltimore.
We have five of the biggest mistakes a woman can make when in business and how to avoid them.
1. Being Too Hard Or Too Soft
Don’t try too hard to break the wrong perception that a woman cannot be a tough negotiator or manager. Just be yourself. Women and men don’t deal with conflict the same and there is no reason for you to try to act like one of the boys. If you need to be stern, just do it in a way that you feel comfortable and will garner respect from your employees. Also, never appear to be a push over. Naturally, women have a softer nature but you do not want people taking advantage of that. You are the boss of your business and the people working for you will respect you when you command respect.
2. Keeping A Grudge
Whether a business deal goes wrong or a business relationship goes sour, whatever reason you may have for being upset, never hold a grudge. We tend to forgive, but seldom forget and in the process we miss out on people’s talents or new business opportunities. Do not let personal feelings or office politics guide you in making a wrong business decision. Just let it go!
3. Forgetting Their Powers Of Persuasion
There is power in a soft voice, a big smile, and maybe even a little cleavage. This should be used as a last resort as people can easily see through certain behaviour. You can learn and perfect the art of persuasive talking and body language to help you build influence in your particular field. Confidence, good image, and knowledge will really help you be a more persuasive person.
4. Sweating The Small Stuff
Being too much of a perfectionist and focussing on the small details too much can cause you to miss the bigger picture. Don’t micro manage. Leave your employees to do what you pay them to do. Also, don’t worry about every small detail. Yes, it is important to note all things that concern your business, but if there are tasks or minor details that will not negatively affect your business- don’t stress about it.
5. Not Making Time For Yourself
A rested, well taken care of woman can do everything better. Take those small breaks, have your hair done, don’t work until the early hours of the morning every night. For your business to be at its best YOU need to be at your best. Do not take all the load of work on your shoulders. Get help if you need it and look after your health.
Women have been making their mark in business worldwide for hundreds of years.
What can we do better? Firstly, and most importantly, we can learn from our business mistakes and then continue to network with other women in business to build good relationships.
Written by Busi Nhlapo