My advice to would-be female entrepreneurs

Last week I met a new friend who told me how she had always dreamed of starting her own business. She is a well-known expert in her field, operating at a higher level than her title and remuneration. But things are holding her back and they are reasons I hear time and again. For me, starting BeecherMadden was never a risk. I had total conviction that we would be successful. So why do so many others with potential hesitate, and what can you do about it?

One of her main reasons for hesitating was the desire to start a family in the near future. As a mother of two, I know pregnancy and the early months can make running a business hard. But it can be done! While other mums are on Facebook, I’m on my emails (even in the delivery suite in my case). With a good support network, motherhood should be a motivator, not a reason to hold back. And, as I have pointed out to several friends, you aren’t even pregnant yet. You could get pregnant tomorrow and still have 9 months to build your business. Chances are, it will take longer. Do you really want to put your dreams on hold for the unknown?

The next blocker was that big fear, what if I fail? What will people say about me? I have stared in the face of failure many times and the last thing you think about at that point, is what people think. Your true friends will support you through it and those who have something negative to say are not worth your time. Chances are, underneath it all, they are jealous you had the guts to try in the first place.

The kicker for me, was that a slightly less able male colleague had left the company to start his own and was doing well. What had given him the conviction to go ahead that she lacked? It is well reported that men apply for jobs when they meet as little as 60% of the requirements, whereas women typically only apply, if they meet 85% or more. The same factors are at play here, men take the chance but women need to feel more certain.

Of course starting a business in a decision you should not take lightly. Get your finances in order, have a watertight business plan, know your target clients and be ready to work hard. But if it is just the “what if” questions holding you back, you need to shake them off and do it anyway!

 

I am thrilled to recently have been nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year at the Women of the Future awards, for my work as COO at BeecherMadden.