It’s International Working Women’s Day, a time to celebrate the successes and achievements of women all over the world. Australia is one of the most exciting places to be today, especially if you are a female entrepreneur. The continent ranks second overall globally, according to the Gender-Global Entrepreneur and Development Index, fostering an encouraging entrepreneurial spirit and a supportive, open environment for women entrepreneurs to follow their dreams without prejudice or hindrance (well almost).
Becoming a successful female entrepreneur is a lot like becoming a successful female poker player. Entering into what remains a male-dominated world requires a fearless attitude, unfaltering determination and fierce conviction.
Audette Exel, one of the latest additions to the Australian Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame is a fine example of someone who isn’t fazed by breaking the codes of convention. Starting out as an international finance lawyer, Audette went on to become the Managing Director of Bermuda Commercial Bank at just 31 years of age, but that’s only the beginning of her story.
Instead of continuing up the career ladder, she left it all behind to concentrate solely on humanitarian endeavours.
Audette founded the Adara Group, a corporate advisory business which funds an international development organisation called Adara Development, helping third world communities and children in need. One of Adara’s goals is to change the perception of what business is in its most traditional sense into a channel for social justice and equality, rather than a winner takes all scenario. Audette’s number one strategic move for entrepreneurial success says it all: Reject the accepted orthodoxy.
It’s not easy being a contemporary female, learning how to juggle having kids, running a household and raising a family while, at the same time, fulfilling ambitious career goals. It is not surprising that some men still feel insecure, as the remnants of their centuries-old patriarchal rule are rapidly being stripped away by the modern matriarch, an Amazonian wonder woman.
The secrets to success, whether male or female, are quite similar, but women still have to travel that extra mile to make it, without any of that lingering caveman mentality to fall back on if all else fails.
Confidence is Key
Entering the business world is akin to stepping into a shark tank. As in professional poker, the stakes are very high, everyone is out for themselves and there is an ongoing scramble to squeeze into the top position at all costs. Don’t walk into it wearing your heart on your sleeve because it’ll get eaten alive. The smell of fresh meat will only make the game more aggressive and the pressure to perform more intense.
As famous British poker player, Victoria Coren-Mitchell remarks in an interview with Bluff Europe:
“If it’s going to be hours of grinding every day that makes you nervous and miserable and worried, you might as well get a normal job – it’d be a lot safer!”
Australian entrepreneur and founder of GIVIT, Juliette Wright, another 2015 inductee into the Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame certainly agrees. Two of her top five strategies for success include having a strong mind and an ability to manage immense pressure, whether it’s work, family or spouse-related.
Failure is Freedom
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Failure is part and parcel of the process. In a game of poker, there are many more folds than there are wins. This is the nature of the entrepreneurial game too.
Cathie Reid, who manages the Epic Pharmacy Group, advises to be prepared to fail and move on. Some experiments work, others don’t. Look at Google Glass, for instance. The product might not have succeeded in breaching the mainstream, but this doesn’t make a dent in the Google Corporation, which isn’t afraid to try out new things and test the market.
Risk is Calculated
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
– The Gambler by Kenny Rogers
Are you going ‘all-in’ or are you folding? Will you raise the bet or just call? Take occasional big risks to win big and avoid taking a continuous series of little risks for small, insignificant wins. This is the art of poker, life and entrepreneurship all mashed into one. Work out the right strategy based on the hand you’ve been dealt by calculating the risk rewards. If it isn’t worth it, don’t bother.
Funding is Essential
Asking for financial aid is not a sign of weakness if you look for it in the right places. It is a necessary step in the evolution of most successful businesses. One of the biggest challenges faced by female entrepreneurs is sourcing adequate outside investment and funding, so be proactive and bring your A-game to the table. Investors will want to know EVERYTHING about you and your company. If you don’t already have a business qualification, get one pronto, because objective, third-party credibility is crucial in the decision-making process. An investor wants to calculate the risk on investment because it’s their business to know whether to call or fold, just as it is yours.
Take a quick free skills review online and assess your eligibility to receive a nationally recognised business diploma through RPL within 4 weeks, based on your current skill-set and prior work experience. After all, would you invest in somebody’s business idea, even if they had no administrative experience, managerial acumen, leadership potential or certifiable credentials?
Mentorship is Indispensable
Don’t go it alone. Seek advice from your peers, experienced professionals and qualified mentors, such as Rare Birds, an exclusively female-only entrepreneurial network that aims to inspire 1 million more women around the world to become successful entrepreneurs by 2020.
A recent article released by the Business Review Weekly, indicates that a paid Rare Birds mentoring program is due to start on March 12 at a mere $5000 per year. That’s $96 per week for expert advice, recommendations (including where to look for investment) and dedicated support tailored directly to your business needs and aspirations.
Starting a company is always a risky business. Turning it into a successful enterprise involves a high level of skill mingled in with luck. It depends on how well you can play the game. As long as you understand the rules, it’s much easier to bend them. First develop an awareness of the other players on the scene and play to your own strengths, then you can really start to have some fun along the way. If you want to make your entrepreneurial dreams come true in 2015, check out these 5 essential tips to consider when starting your own business.