Nav is committed to helping business owners succeed by guiding them through the complex world of financing. Women business owners are an important and growing part of that group. Throughout October, we’ve been celebrating National Women’s Small Business Month — highlighting both the contributions of women-owned businesses and women who are just now taking the plunge into business ownership.
To round out the celebration, we asked seven female business owners and experts to share one piece of advice they would offer to current and prospective female business owners. Check out what these pros had to say.
“Speak up. Don’t be shy about asking for what you want. Don’t be afraid to let others know when you are struggling. There is a world of people out there who want to see you succeed and who will go out of their way to help you. With the communication options available to you now, support is just a post, or tweet, or message away. If you are open about your hopes and struggles, strangers who respect what you are trying to do might even reach out to offer their help.
“When asked for the best advice for female business owners, many people will say “network!” Building your network is important, but asking your network for the things you need is what is going to take you and your business to the next level.”
“When a woman puts her head above the crowd, she becomes a target. Learn to develop a thick skin when it comes to the critics and naysayers. In order to do this, you must know who you are and realize you are not what you do, but you are wonderful in the way you are created. When others tried to bring me down because of my gender, I was able to let their negativity roll off of me because I know who I am and that I was created for a purpose—to build a business that improves the quality of life for others.”
3. “Take that blind leap and grow wings as you fall.” Jessie Deye, Co-founder and CEO of Gild Collective
“As women, we are wired to get sh*t done, and when we can believe in ourselves and our abilities enough to channel that energy into creating something of our own, the results can be staggering. First trust in yourself, then take that blind leap and grow wings as you fall. You won’t ever be ready, but if you can be confident in your ability to hustle and figure it out as you go, that grit will power your flight.”
4. “Do what’s difficult.” Gerri Detweiler, Head of Market Education at Nav and Author of Finance Your Own Business: Get on the Financing Fast Track
“Do what’s difficult. Your primary focus should be on activities that will help you and your business grow. Sometimes those things you need to focus on are the most difficult. I started out my career terrified of public speaking, for example, but now helping individuals and entrepreneurs through media interviews and seminars are not only things I love to do, but they’ve opened all kind of doors for me.”
5. “Start going after what our businesses need to succeed.” Meredith Wood, Editor in Chief of Fundera
“We see a lot of statistics on women business owners receiving less business financing than male business owners. It’s hard to find a why, but a lot of these statistics hint at the fact that women business owners are afraid to apply for a loan because they assume they stand little chance of securing financing. But, we as women have to stop worrying about the reactions to our actions and start going after what our businesses need to succeed. If for you, an influx of working capital could help your business reach new heights, go for it. Just arm yourself appropriately beforehand. There are so many amazing resources to give you insight to where you should start your loan search and how to be successful throughout it. There are also a lot of great organizations that support women business owners in their search for financing. Take advantage of those. You won’t regret it.”
6. “The key is not to worry about being successful, but to instead work toward being significant.” Nellie Akalp, CEO and owner of CorpNet.com
“If you want to have success and be successful, you can’t make success your goal. The key is not to worry about being successful, but to instead work toward being significant – and the success will naturally follow. If you have the vision, drive, and the determination, you can and will accomplish that goal in the face of any obstacle or challenge. I truly believe, that the reason I’ve been able to be so financially successful is because my focus has never, ever for one minute been money. I would run the business I am and not get paid for it and that’s how you know you are doing the right thing.”
7. “Treat [your] mission not as a dream, but as an inevitability.” Tria Chang, Founder at Honey & Twine Weddings and Events
“Make goals, and attack the motherf****rs like there’s no choice in the matter. Once you decide to open a business, treat that mission not as a dream, but as an inevitability: you are going to make it work. Sometimes things will not go according to plan. Sometimes they will go just plain badly. Don’t view this as a sign to give up though; add these experiences to your storehouse of things that make you wise and wonderful. And go conquer.”
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