International Women’s Day (Tuesday, 8th March), celebrates women around the world and from all walks for their social, economic, cultural and political achievements and efforts towards equality.
Jackie Hyde, founder and director of dot2dot nursery insurance, spoke to female entrepreneurs from a variety of industries to give four pieces of business advice to women.
1) Your time is precious, so prioritise ruthlessly
Claire Moran, Managing Director of The Forge Public Relations, said that time keeping was her biggest key to success: “Prioritise ruthlessly. Have a [list of] ‘must do’ and ‘nice to do’ things each day, but do not feel like a failure if you don not get through it all. Always plan the following day, work and other things you need to do – the evening before. Try not to get distracted, and delegate.”
Being able to prioritise tasks and remain organised was the main piece of advice that was most strongly advocated by the businesswomen that we spoke to. Whether you’re starting your own business or looking to advance your career, being able to plan in advance and stick to a schedule is a skill that must be practiced and perfected.
Hilary Frohlich, owner and CEO of Neat PR, says planning ahead is the best way to stay ahead: “Stay organised and be realistic, think ahead and think about what is coming up. If you have time earlier in the month use it wisely to help free up time later on.”
2) How to keep the balance
Claire Young, Owner of School Speakers, says that balancing your work commitments and home commitments requires dedication: “Be brutally honest with yourself about what is important to you and prioritise your time accordingly and stick to it!”
The work-life balance is something that we all seem to struggle with, whether you run your own business or not. But the ‘life’ side of the scale is something that needs just as much attention as the ‘work’ side, particularly when it comes to family and finding time to de-stress from a hard day of work.
Farida Gibbs, founder and CEO of Gibbs S3, says that the life side is incredibly important, and should not be underestimated: “There are only so many hours in the day. Although work takes up most of our time, it is vital that people maintain a healthy work-life balance.
“This will ensure individuals are motivated and achieve more fulfilment from their careers. The balance goes hand-in-hand, as overworking can result in your becoming burnt out, preventing you from being able to achieve your full potential. Business leaders should appreciate this and understand that longer hours don’t necessarily increase productivity.”
3) Surround yourself with like-minded people
Jackie Hyde, Director of Stanmore Insurance Brokers and dot2dot, believes that educating yourself from those who have achieved before you is the best way to develop: “Positive role models, whether male or female, are vital. I am also an advocate of reading good quality books about business and in particular positive ways to believe in your ability to succeed or overcome adversity. There are lots of these books available and they can give you great tips or sometimes just reinforce that you are doing a good job.”
Other people make for incredible inspiration, particularly in business. You can pick up fantastic habits from those around you, and other entrepreneurs can serve as great sounding boards for your ideas.
Maxine Mackintosh, Managing Director of HealthTech Women, believes that having people around you who have a similar mindset and goals to yourself can have a real impact: “Surround yourself with positive, ambitious and supportive people.
“As you strike out on your own and start to build your own career, meet those magnetic and engaging people and bask in their aura. Their energy, enthusiasm and confidence is usually contagious. Once you come across enough of these people, they will each have a small effect on your trajectory, and you will feel sufficiently inspired to carve out your own path.”
4) It’s okay to fail as long as you learn
Failures are part of life. If you do not fail, you do not learn. If you do not learn, you’ll never change. So many people are kept down when they trip up and fall, no matter what industry they work in, but the real failure comes when you give up. The final piece of advice from the women we spoke to was to never give up, no matter what.
Claire Young added: “The most important thing, above all, is that you just have a go. The worst that could happen is that things do not work out, but you will learn from it and move forward having learnt and [will be] in a better place.”