One of the best parts of the work we do with small businesses is that we have the pleasure of meeting strong, inspirational women business owners and executives from around the globe. In honor of International Women’s Day today, we wanted to pass on some of their best business advice in hopes of inspiring you, as well.
Amy Mcllwain, President of Financial Social Media:
The best advice I’ve ever received is to focus on your strengths and delegate your weaknesses. So often entrepreneurs try to do it all and get caught up in the details. You may think that it’s easier just to do it yourself versus teaching someone, however time is limited and you’ll find yourself caught up doing $10/hr tasks when you should be focused on $200/hr ideas that will grow your business.
Marieke van der Poel, Founder of Proef Trend Consultants:
To me, as a trend forecaster, it is important to stay connected, on all possible levels. I have learned to only collaborate with people with whom I share a mutual bond of trust and admiration. Always take the time to think about your brand direction, hone in on your vision and find those special people.
Whitney Durbin, Director of Client Wellness at Retrofit:
The best advice I ever received was from a mentor: “Ask forgiveness and not permission.” In order to help a new business grow, a company needs to move quickly. When you’re a small business and everyone is wearing many hats, there isn’t always time to wait for approval from the top before you take action. This advice has been critical for me in finding my own voice. I pass this advice down to my direct reports at Retrofit to instill a confidence and trust in their ability to do the job they’ve been hired to do. I find this approach creates an environment where you are expected to think for yourself, learn from your mistakes and contribute to the business as a whole. When people aren’t afraid to make mistakes, productivity and job satisfaction soars through the roof.
Victoria Ipri, CEO of Ipri Philadelphia:
Mom always said, “Be yourself and people will like you.” And Mom hadn’t even heard of social media! Today, on LinkedIn alone, 200 million+ potential prospects wait outside our virtual office doors. It’s a tremendous opportunity for women who, as natural communicators, rule the social media space. On this International Women’s Day, and after years of getting and giving advice, I want to say “Thanks, Mom!” Your advice has never steered me wrong.
Renée Rouleau, Founder of Renée Rouleau For Beautiful Skin:
I had a spa business consultant early on my career who told me this… “It’s easier to fix the leaks in the hose than it is to get more water.” Don’t forget to pay attention to your day to day operations. Is the receptionist friendly and saying the right things on the phone when customers call? Are you asking your existing customers for referrals and giving them incentive and appreciation to spread the word about you? Are there areas where you can cut costs? There are a lot of things you can do to run your business more efficiently and effectively, so make sure to closely analyze these things.
Ashley Jude, Founder of Tog+Porter:
The best advice I received when starting Tog+Porter was to stop dwelling on the specifics and just get our company out there. Perfection is non-existent in business so if you wait until you’ve achieved it, you’ll never even start. I grew up with entrepreneurial parents so I understood that work and personal life would inevitably collide. What I wasn’t prepared for was the reality of having my own children and balancing that with running a start-up. To say that balance exists is a stretch. To say the two parts of life tenuously and unglamorously co-exist is much more accurate. You can certainly have it all, but it involves less sleep.
Sarah Kimmel, Founder of Tech4Mommies:
When you have been in the real world of business for a while, you learn things. Sometimes you learn them the hard way. If I could tell my younger self all of the things I ended up learning the hard way, I’m sure I could have saved myself a whole lot of pain, panic, and maybe a few ulcers. 1. Always have a backup! 2. Enjoy what you do 3. Take your vacation days 4. Clear expectations 5. Know your limits. (You can read the rest of Sarah’s advice to her younger self here.)
Have you received a piece of advice that has stuck with you throughout your business endeavors? Did you give some of your own? Share your wisdom in the comments, below.