Top Tips for Women Entrepreneurs

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By now it's no secret that women are leaving corporate America to start their own businesses at twice the rate of men. Statistics show that over 75% of women-owned enterprises open for business in 1997 were still operating in 2000. That's about equal to the survival rate of all U.S. businesses. Recent data also indicates that women invest more in their businesses than do men. Which just goes to show - women have it what takes to run and maintain successful operations.

If you're in business for yourself (or thinking about starting your own company) there are some things you can do to not just survive, but thrive. Over the past two decades I've grown my own coaching and speaking business in excess of 850%. Here are some coaching tips for how you can grow your company:

1. Follow Mrs. Fields Recipe for Success. Debbi Fields, founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies, once said it was all about passion, persistence, and perfection. Whether it's starting a non-profit organization or a for-profit business, you're going to put a lot of time and energy into it. Your focus has to be directed toward something you are so passionate about doing - and doing well - that nothing can deter you from success.

2. Develop a clear vision of where you want to go and a strategy for getting there. Many entrepreneurs with great ideas fail because they think their product or service should sell itself. They work hard, but not smart. Your vision of where you want to be a year, five years or even six months from now will guide your day-to-day actions. Write it down then develop specific and measurable steps for how you're going to achieve it.

3. Create a distinctive brand. There are thousands of motivational speakers, meeting planners, and trainers marketing their services. What distinguishes you from your competition? Rather than try to be all things to all people, create a narrow niche that identifies you as an "expert" in your field. Author Barbara Stanny uses the tag line "The Leading Authority for Women and Money." I use "Get and Keep the Job You Want." Make your brand synonymous with your area of expertise.

4. Think and act BIG. When Jamie Foxx accepted the Academy Award for the starring role in the movie Ray he thanked his grandmother
for teaching him to "act like you've been somewhere." Big is relative. You may never aspire to be the biggest agency, but you should act as if you already are. Doing so causes you to see things and consider options you would otherwise overlook or think impossible. When I started my business I put thousands of dollars into marketing materials at a time when I could ill afford to do so. But it made me look and feel competitive. I had to live up to the "big" image I conveyed to potential clients and eventually my firm became big.

5. Be a continual learner. Entrepreneurs become so involved in day-to-day operations and challenges that they miss new trends or
information that could help them to remain competitive. Couple that with the fact that women have additional family responsibilities, and it seems as if there's never enough time to stay current. Each week schedule a thirty minute meeting with yourself where you read a professional journal or in other ways spend time staying current in your field. It's the only way to grow professionally along with those you serve.

6. Network, network, network. Not only will your network connections help bring attention to your product or service, it will provide you with connections that you need to run your business efficiently and a stream of information to keep you up-to-date in your industry.

7. Ask for help. One of the biggest mistakes a business owner can make is thinking she has to go it alone. There's no need for you to reinvent the wheel when there are people out there who have been there, done that. Many cities have free services for small business owners through the SBA and there are business coaches who cater to entrepreneurs. (692)

About the Author:

Dr. Lois Frankel is President of Corporate Coaching International, a Pasadena, California consulting firm, and author of the international bestsellers Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office, Nice Girls Don't Get Rich, and See Jane Lead. To receive free monthly coaching tips to help you achieve your professional goals, contact Dr. Frankel at info@..., visit her website, or subscribe to her blog: Copyright (c) 2008 Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D.

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