As the founder and CEO of Garnysh, a Silicon Valley-based fitness and technology company, I know a thing or two about surviving in business. And as a woman entrepreneur, I’m even more knowledgeable about the challenges female entrepreneurs face in that cutthroat world.
Here are what I consider to be three rules for business success that are easy to remember and can make a big difference in how you approach running your business.
1. Rejection—the only guarantee
No one likes rejection. It feels terrible and it makes you doubt yourself. As an entrepreneur, I find that I’m walking through a minefield of rejection. Loans rejected, partnerships rejected, business plans rejected, and so on. But the next time you find you’re feeling dejected about being rejected, remember one thing: getting rejected is actually an important part of your job. I have found that when I accept that I will be rejected, I can recover much faster, and even use that rejection to my advantage.
I’m beginning to realize more and more there is nothing personal about rejection. Use it as a learning experience. Imagine if everything you did was accepted by everyone—every business idea you had was praised, every leadership decision applauded. Sure, it would feel damn good at first, but you’d also never learn a thing. How do you get better and better every day? By being rejected, getting back up, and trying again.
Learning through heartbreak
You can’t deny your feelings. That doesn’t make you a worse entrepreneur or businesswoman—it makes you a better one. We’re very introspective creatures, after all. The hurt you feel from getting rejected often leads you to examine yourself, examine your work, and take it to the whole next level.
I’ve made amazing advances in my career, thanks to screw-ups, mistakes, and rejection. In fact, I don’t think I’d be where I am today without all of that. When you really open yourself to feedback—which is all that rejection is—you can tailor-make your business to better serve your customers, and you can tailor-make yourself to better serve your business (and your family, too).
Let bad feedback guide you
What if Steve Jobs had given up on Apple because he got some negative feedback in the beginning or ran into some pitfalls? What if Oprah had stopped being an anchorwoman because she was rejected for being African American or not having the stereotypical anchorwoman body type? All that they’ve added to the world would never have been. That’s why if you really believe in what you’re doing, you must persist.
Another great way to look at feedback and rejection is to see it as a compass. Is your product not selling? Maybe it’s directed to the wrong customer base. Do you keep failing to get that one dream job and keep getting rejected? Maybe you need to rethink your approach, or, even more important, maybe the universe is telling you that that job does not use your strongest, most unique skills. Changing directions can hurt, but sometimes you weren’t going in the right direction to begin with.
2. Being cautious vs. being rash
Some people are all-or-nothing. Sometimes I want to dip my toe into something and see what happens, and other times I want to dive in headfirst. So which one is better? Even though I’ve stated in other articles that I don’t entirely believe in the importance of achieving balance—it’s a made-up idea—I think that the key here is awareness. Know when to go slow and know when to speed up. I’ll explain this shortly.
Being too cautious
As an entrepreneur, I cannot always be cautious. Often I have to take a leap, even when I’m afraid and don’t know what is waiting for me on the other side. This is so important for business; there have been no successful enterprises that were built on caution. Sure, maybe there was caution in the beginning, but the caution could never be sustained. It needs to be mixed with some boldness.
Timidity in life does not yield great results. You want to be an entrepreneur because it excites you, and it promises a life not trapped in a cubicle counting the days till you can draw from your retirement. There’s nothing wrong with taking a timid approach to life. That’s just how some people are (you do you), but if you’re a businesswoman who is naturally timid, it’s time to finally work on that! Honestly, it’s a fun challenge.
A note on pessimism
Very cautious people are often pessimists, I have found. The reason for this is because they think that the world is crap, their customers are crap, and perhaps their product is crap. When you’re always looking at the negative side of things, it’s not even physically possible to take a leap because you just assume you’re jumping into a dry pool. Constantly looking for what’s wrong instead of what’s right will take your business nowhere.
Being too rash
Here’s the flip-side of the situation: When you are rash and reckless, you’re actually quite the optimist. If you jump, you’ll land in a bed of feathers; if you have an idea, you’re absolutely sure that it will take off. Often those with a reckless character seem to conveniently forget past mistakes they have made. Keep in mind that rash people actually don’t look at the long-term consequences of things. If you see a business opportunity and you jump, despite the fact that you have done this in the past and it has failed, then your recklessness could continuously get you into trouble.
Long-term pessimism and short-term optimism are two heads of the same coin. Although you can’t serenely balance these qualities like an entrepreneurial Buddha, you can always be conscious of which of these is in play, analyze the specific situation that you’re in, and then come to a conclusion as to whether cautiousness or rashness are going to work better.
The goal here is mindfulness. Look at the long term and see what you have to do in the short term to get there. As the saying goes, ”It’s a marathon and not a sprint.” It might sound like a cliché, but that makes a lot of sense here. If you’re conscious of how slowly or quickly you’re acting, you’ll be better able to analyze the specific situation that you’re dealing with and know whether to speed up or slow down. If you’re acting deliberately and consciously, you’ll never fall into extremes.
Other Articles From AllBusiness.com:
- The Complete 35-Step Guide for Entrepreneurs Starting a Business
- 25 Frequently Asked Questions on Starting a Business
- 50 Questions Angel Investors Will Ask Entrepreneurs
- 17 Key Lessons for Entrepreneurs Starting A Business
3. Embrace being a leader and being a woman
Women lead differently than men. I don’t mean to make broad generalizations, but science backs it up. Researchers have found that women use what is called a “transformational” leadership style. What does this mean? This is leadership that aims to promote morale, motivation, and overall job performance. Essentially, women seek to bring people together and inspire them. If you ask me, this is a pretty damn good approach. There are five keys to this leadership style:
- Goals. Duh. Everyone knows that goals are important for business. I use goals all the time in my professional and personal life, to great success. But the real difference here between merely setting goals and seeking to achieve them, is that women leaders tend to do this by transforming the people around them. Helping them to be better people, better workers, and better dreamers. They invest time in inspiring, communicating, and developing goals that are clear and specific. Women are nurturers, and this is the case for their leadership style as well.
- Beware of transactional-ism. Transactional leadership is the opposite of transformational leadership. If you’re a boss sitting behind a desk barking orders all day, you’re a transactional leader. When the boss doesn’t interact with their ”flock” on a personal level, they’re exhibiting transactional behavior. Women leaders do not find this kind of leadership natural, for the most part. For me, my team is a team of human beings. They’re not my ”family”—no need to fall into that trap. I already have a family, but my team members are real people that I wish to engage with, learn about, and help to grow. The transactional style is actually detrimental to female leaders, whereas men often get away with it. Does your team expect you to be “touchy feely?” No, but they expect you to treat them like the amazing human beings that they are.
- No bossy pants. Okay, that was a great book by Tina Fey, but in general you want to steer clear of this. Women don’t like it, men don’t like it, and you’ll get more flack for doing it as a woman. As girls, we’re called bossy when we stand up and tell people what to do. But grown men are praised for the same thing. If you were accused of being bossy as a young girl, there’s no doubt that you have trouble in your leadership position, because that insult made you self-conscious.
So, do get over your fear of being bossy, but at the same time, realize that it is never the best approach and does not see the best results for female leaders. You’re a strong, powerful, amazing woman. That means that you don’t even need to be bossy in the first place. You’re too smart for that.
- See people’s strengths. When you truly can see your team for who they are, you’re going to identify strengths. And when you assign tasks based upon these strengths, you’re going to watch your business flourish. Transactional leadership delegates work and transformational leadership sees where people are excelling and where people are behind, while acting accordingly.
- Work always matters. As a female leader you have the power to instill in your team that they matter, their job matters, and the business matters. I don’t feel like I need to explain why this is important. When people truly believe in what they’re doing, and it’s helping them to grow as people, everyone benefits. I mention this because, as an entrepreneur, my business means a heck of a lot to me, but I always have to be proactive to invite my team members to feel the same. My business isn’t just about me; it’s also about the amazing people that I’m on this journey with.
Summing it up
So what is the takeaway? Embrace rejection and failure, be mindful of cautious and rash behavior, and embrace being a woman to become a better leader. I have hard days where I have to remind myself of all these things, but at the end of the day, I’m finding my success because I’m conscious of my feelings, conscious of what I’m up against, and, most of all, I’m conscious of what I’m capable of as a woman.
The post 3 Rules for Business Success as a Woman Entrepreneur appeared first on AllBusiness.com
The post 3 Rules for Business Success as a Woman Entrepreneur appeared first on AllBusiness.com. Click for more information about Meeta Vengapally.