With the government formally kick-starting the ‘Startup India’ program, it has given a healthy boost to our country which is at the peak of the startup growth. Today India boasts of ranking third in the world with over 4,200 start-ups based on the NASSCOM’s “Startup-India: Momentous Rise of Indian Startup Ecosystem” report. (Source: The Hindu)
More than 60% of these start-ups are based in Mumbai, NCR and predominantly in Bangalore. Other cities catching up are Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Jaipur.
Based on an article from indianweb2, “According to the data collected during a survey, only 14% of business establishments in the country are being run by female entrepreneurs. This means, out of the 58.5 million functional businesses, only 8.05 million of them have a female as a boss. The data collected by the survey also revealed that most of these women-run companies are small-scale and about 79% of them are self-financed.”
So what is about these women entrepreneurs across all the start-ups in India that make them what they are today?
Being a woman entrepreneur is not that easy, as they have to overcome a lot of obstacles starting with the mind-sets of people, breaking away from stereotyped roles, family commitments, role-playing as a mother, wife, daughter, daughter-in-law and much more.
Here are five tips for budding women entrepreneurs and start-ups from professionals, take a look:
Network with the right people. Don’t hold yourself back in introducing yourself in a group and introducing your product / service. As Ami Savla, founder of Socialize Store (a training institute) adds, “Make sure you attend one networking meet every month happening in your town. Trust me this will help you grow tremendously!”
“I once had a coachee who wanted to foray into entrepreneurship as a home chef. However, she was too “shy” to speak about the fact that she wanted to sell what she was cooking. We worked together to make her believe that talking about her passion that is food comes naturally to her and hence if she would talk about her passion with the right people, she would be able to network and build a clientele easily,” recalls Manisha Panwar, a Certified Executive and Life Coach and Founder of Brewathought.
2. It’s a level playing ground
Women need to understand that out there in the market, men and women entrepreneurs are same since it’s the product that the customer is finally interested in. Being a woman, is neither advantageous or disadvantageous. It’s a level playing field for anyone. So, if we are really seeking equality, we, as women must understand that when it comes to the final product or service, the best one takes the cake. Pursue the excellence explains Manisha.
As Deepa Kaur Gill, the founder of Burgeon Skills – (Training and Consulting Company) pitches in, “Continue to sharpen the saw – Follow the 5 S- Someone will say Yes, Someone will say No. So what. Someone is Waiting (to buy) or else Someone else will sell.” She further adds, “Develop a strategy – Spend time in developing a strategy and planning however try not to over procrastinate. Many a times ideas develop and die in the mind; but at least try! You can learn processes along the way as you gain hands-on experience. It’s better to have a mindset of building a prototype on every step and if it works develop further, if its not, well you will know it earlier and make the changes rather than murdering the idea if it doesn’t work out.”
3. Don’t be afraid
Women also tend to hold themselves back because of reasons that men would probably not even think of. Don’t be afraid to take the first step. The child who learns to walk never knows what it is to start walking, yet he takes the first step, falls and keeps trying till he gets it right. Women need to give up their inhibitions or the thought of “What if…”. One would never know what one can achieve unless you have tried.
Mitu Samar, the founder of Eminence (Stakeholder Engagement And Leadership Coaching) shares, “Learn to ask, don’t expect – Women fear being labelled easily and hence they do not demand or ask clearly what they want.”
Manisha cites an example, “One of my coachees, a year into her boutique business wanted to get into online sales of her garments. She understood that it was the next best thing. Yet, somehow she always equated the same to technology and was unable to make the effort to go online. Coaching sessions helped her understand that if she knows what is best for her business, she needs to jump in with the ‘know-how’ and see how it unfolds. Slowly yet reluctantly she began learning about online business and is ready to launch her line very soon.”
4. Take risks but be prepared for any failure
Failure and Success are faces of the same coin. If success comes to you, failure at some time will knock at your door. Take calculated risks. Everything in life is about risks in some way or the other – your choice of education, marriage, kids etc. So in your business too there are risks that one takes and be stronger to take failure as it comes.
Priya Menon, the founder of Sankalp Creative Ventures (an initiative empowering women) feels that no problem ever existed without a solution. You will find a lot of challenges and hurdles in your way, but a calm mind-set will help you find a way to overcome all those problems.
Manisha shares, “A fashion designer coachee of mine was distraught by the fact that she had a huge inventory that was not getting sold. If she did not complete the sales, she would be unable to add on to her clothes collection and the styles were changing (from summer to autumn wear). She learnt that she had acted in a hurry to create her designs and get them stitched. It meant a huge loss to her but she also realized that it was a risk she was taking. She took time but overcame the fact that she needed to create a new line and would only operate on order. The best learning was that she took away a huge business learning from the episode, one which made her a better entrepreneur.”
5. Have fun
Women entrepreneurs should have fun with whatever they do. Women in general should be able to take time off and pursue personal goals as well. As one becomes more entrenched in business, the fun element tends to take a backstage. Never give up on fun. List out your personal goals whether they are health, fitness, travel or adventure.
“My coachee had been in business for over 6 years and having an established system, she still felt there was something amiss. Not knowing what it was she in one of the sessions came up with the desire to run a marathon. She kept telling herself that she was too fat to run and hence had been putting it off. A couple of sessions later, she realized that with proper training she could. She ran her first marathon for 5 kms in Pinkathon 2015. She was thrilled to pits and she even set an example to other women employees of her company,” smiles Manisha.
The thing is, whether you’re a woman professional, a start-up, a stay-at-home mum or a student, once you start imbibing these tips you can watch your career or life graph skyrocket. But remember, it is very important to enjoy what you do and not to please anyone but yourself.
For the Bayside Journal.
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