BY SUSANNE BIRGERSDOTTER · Some of the top women business leaders in the world share a few qualities that if you don’t have, you should cultivate. It’s not about being one of the boys; rather, it’s more about using your own innate talents and characteristics to take full advantage of your strengths. Certainly, you work on your weaknesses, but your strengths are what will propel you to the top.
- Know Your Why. You need to understand fully why you are in business. Margie Warrell, a contributor to Forbes Magazine, says quite succinctly, “A clear sense of purpose enables you to focus your efforts on what matters most, compelling you to take risks and push forward regardless of the odds or obstacles.” Once you understand the “why” of your goals, the “how” becomes easier. Your “why” will guide how you create a life that you enjoy, both personally and professionally. When you match your strengths and how you create value for others with what makes you come alive, you’ve found the sweet spot that will propel you forward. You also need to figure out a way to measure it. Measuring your success means focusing on things that matter the most, that will get you closer to your “why.”
- Build Your Team. You can’t do it all yourself and neither should you try. That will just sap your strength and it also isn’t good use of your strengths. Find people for your team who have complementary skills and qualities with your own strengths. You obviously don’t want to build your team with people who all have the same skillset. Build your team with people who have the strengths you are lacking and who are willing and able to roll up their sleeves and get the job done in the most efficient manner. Having a team with a wide talent base will ensure you make better business decisions because you’ll be able to look at issues from different angles. You also need to consider building a team for your personal life as well. You’ll need help managing both family life and creating a business, so choose your personal team with as much care as you do your business team.
- Focus on Goals.Just because your schedule is crammed full of things to do, places to be, and people to meet doesn’t mean you’re growing your business with what you’re doing. There’s a difference between “business” and “busyness.” Being busy just leads to burn out and time lost that you could have focused on your family or your business. It will save you in the long run to determine what tasks you need to accomplish that directly lead to accomplishing your goals. If a task doesn’t move you toward a goal, you shouldn’t be doing it. Either find someone else to do it, or put it on the back burner for a rainy day.
- Become Known as the Expert. Whether you sell a product or a service, you should be the expert that people want to turn to for help. If you’re selling widgets to customers, you need to know more about widgets than your competitors. If you’re not an expert in your field, be committed to acquiring the knowledge and skills you need to become one. People tend to trust experts, which makes them more likely to buy from you or work with you. Also, you’ll understand your own business better, and you’ll be able to generate more and better ideas.
- Know When to Use the Female Advantage.By female advantage, I mean those attributes that are generally considered to be feminine. It’s a style difference. Women tend to be more collaborative, encouraging harmony and agreement among those with whom she works. Most employees and even your clients will thank you for this approach. Women are good at making personal connections with others, and you can use this to your advantage, especially with your clients and vendors, for a significant impact on your business. This doesn’t mean be a door mat. There are times when you’ll have to go for the jugular. But certainly not as often as men seem to do.