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10 tips for women entrepreneurs

Provided by Business Partners Ltd, South Africa's leading investor in SMEs

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While working for oneself is an exciting prospect, it's also a scary one. Find out what you can do to ensure that this risk is one that pays off.

Many women who have decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship find that the pressure is immense, especially if they have a family to support and bills to pay.

If you're struggling to cope, there are a few things you can do to put yourself more at ease.

  1. Are you doing what you love? Being passionate about what you do will keep you motivated and determined to succeed. There's nothing more damaging to the spirit than being stuck doing something you don't enjoy.

  2. Does your new venture suit your personality? If the shoe fits, then wear it with pride! If it doesn't seem comfortable, you're jeopardising your potential to succeed.

  3. Success is personal. If your idea of success is being able to spend more time with your children, while earning a little money on the side, then don't let someone else tell you that you lack ambition.

  4. Develop your coping skills. Life is going to be very different from now on, so develop your emotional intelligence to deal with challenges maturely, objectively and with a positive outlook.

  5. Acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses. No one is good at absolutely everything. Use your strengths to your advantage and find ways to improve on your weak areas.

  6. Find balance. Pay attention to all areas of your life. At times, some areas will need more attention than others, which is normal. But don't be so consumed with work and family that you forgot to allow time for yourself, for example.

  7. Learn to roll with the punches. Don't let a change in the status quo or a minor setback throw you off balance. Don't stress about it too much and focus instead on making it work for you.

  8. Trust your instincts. Taking risks is part of entrepreneurship, but take time to assess the risks and minimise the pitfalls so it doesn't ending up costing you.

  9. You're the boss, so take advantage of it. More so than in a corporate environment, running your own business means you can think as far out of the box as you want to. Add your own creative flair to what you do and use your power as the leader to the benefit of your business.

  10. Don't forget to reflect. You should have your goals written down somewhere. Look at them every now and again to see where you are and what you still need to do. As your circumstance change, so should some of your goals or your plans for getting there.

These factors apply whether you are starting out or already well established. Use them to evaluate where you are and where you want to be.

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