Small businesses have made a huge recovery since the economic crash in 2008 and that’s good news for all of us.
Since we account for 63 percent of new jobs, our success puts people back to work. That, in turn, helps us even more – people with paychecks buy stuff!
And here’s more good news: Women are launching more businesses than ever – 1,288 a day, according to a recent analysis by American Express. That’s up from 602 in 2011-12. Since 1997, women-owned businesses rose by 68 percent.
As a female entrepreneur who will soon celebrate my company’s 25th anniversary, I’m well aware of the challenges these brave new CEOs face. I’m not exaggerating when I use the word “brave.” My experiences have taught me that courage is essential to launching and growing a successful business – particularly if you’re a woman.
Why? Because we tend to be more risk adverse than men. We worry more about financial security and losing it all. Making the right decisions requires overcoming those fears.
Courage is one of what I call my five C’s for building a business. They’re the guiding principles I’ve learned through the ups and downs and all the mistakes. If I rely on the C’s as a sort of compass, I find I can always guide us back to smoother waters.
What are the five C’s?
It starts with caring enough about yourself and your dreams to stay committed to achieving your goals. (Giving up is never a good option!) You have to care enough about yourself to firmly believe that you deserve success and the good things that come with it.
Just as important is caring about your staff and creating a positive work environment for them. Protect their sanity from the clients who want to chew them up and from new hires who don’t fit in and hurt morale. Be supportive when stressful situations arise in their lives outside of work. And ensure everyone has the knowledge and tools they need to be successful.
None of us gets far at all if we don’t care about our customers. Give them the best exchange possible for their money; define expectations so that they understand the end product you are delivering and for which they are paying. Be willing to listen to their concerns, take responsibility for mistakes, and correct them.
Thirty years ago, I probably would never have said it takes courage to lead a small business, but without it, I assure you, you’ll fail.
There are dragons and quicksand and dark woods all around. You’ll find them in the day-to-day problems, the obstacles you didn’t see lying in wait, the risks you must take, and the stresses involved with honoring your obligations to everyone working with and for you.
Trust me, your courage will grow every time you push your fear behind you and deal with what frightens you. Which will also help you build confidence.
Continue reading on page two…
Share this story