Saturday, 5 December 2015

Why Do We Fail As Women in Business?

Author: Dr. Cheryl Cottle, Ed.D 

In my work as a woman in business consultant, I have found that women with fear are most susceptible to failing in a business venture. Their fears are often fueled by self-doubt, formulated by the limiting belief system that they were brought up in. We often see it translating in how they feel and in their perception of how others think about them. “What if I get into this business venture and it fails?” What will my spouse say” What will my family and friends say?” Yes! These are some challenges that we have to face because often times, we are told by those close to us that you should not get into business and they point out all the risk rather than see the possibilities of the idea. Just having their voices reverberate in your mind is sufficient for you to second guess yourself. 

According to Thich Hanh,
 Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.

Fear has the ability to keep you stuck and prevent you from moving forward. It often serves as a block in your lives. It is a crippling emotion that allows you to procrastinate and doubt yourselves. It allows you to question your abilities and not trust your decisions. 

Charles Stanley also says that 
Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins.
We owe it to ourselves to identify the sources of our fears and find solution as quickly as possible to fight against them. You have to focus on the solutions that will enable you to conquer this challenge — obstacle in your life. Yes! It is an obstacle, but it will be either large and insurmountable or it can be small and insignificant — it depends upon your perspective. 

There has been a lot written on fear. It's an age old emotion that affects so many people and prevent them from living their purpose.To move past your fears, you have to confront it and question yourself as to why you have those fears. Are they real fears? You have to find out how you can move past them and move forward into your business venture or as a matter of fact, any activity that you want to achieve in your life. The first step to overcoming your fear, is to accept that you have it. Feel the fear and do it anyway. 
Fear can be good when you're walking past an alley at night or when you need to check the locks on your doors before you go to bed, but it's not good when you have a goal and you're fearful of obstacles. We often get trapped by our fears, but anyone who has had success has failed before. ~ Queen Latifah
Another common cause that is very prohibitory for women when starting a business, is that we often start with a disadvantage. We do not necessarily have all the skills and expertise to run and manage our business — we have our strengths and our limitations. To bridge the gap between our strengths and weaknesses, we must identify the skills and knowledge resources to satisfy our business needs. This is one thing that we learn first up when we are designing our business plan. To meet this need, you can either decide that you will develop the skills and knowledge that you do not quite have by using various approaches to learning. This however, takes a lot of time though it is an effective method.

If you lack the skills and knowledge to take your business forward and do not have the time to invest in your own knowledge development, you can also consider recruiting someone with the right skills and knowledge sets to compliment your strengths and facilitate what the business needs to grow. This approach works very well and it has been a tried solution for many business women. You also have the option to form a partnership with someone who also compliment your skills levels; and someone with the same passion that you has for your business. However, in so doing you must learn to share your roles and responsibilities — communication and negotiating skills are required to make this work, together with the management style that you adopt.

In order to make either recruitment or partnership works for you, I recommend that your management style that you practice must be congruent with your business goals, in order to have a thriving business. I recommend that a spiritual approach to management style is best when you work with others. It’s a people-centered approach to leadership that is based upon compassion, respect and valuing the other. It is also based on having the person who has joined you feel that he or she belongs — and by fostering a feeling-of-belonging within that individual will also facilitate commitment and dedication. Therefore it is important to create a culture within your business environment that practices a management style within a management structure that is not based upon autocracy and hierarchy, but one that is more flattened, where egalitarianism, collaboration, respect, valuing the other and reciprocity exist. This type of business structure and management style will enable you to benefit the most from outside human resources — the expertise of others.

Besides having the adequate skills and knowledge sets required to build a business, as women in business, I have found that there are other factors that affect the growth and development of women-owned businesses —financial resources, is one of them. Research shows that many women entrepreneurs who start a business either transitioned gradually or some just take the leap. In many situations, women lack the resources needed to see it grows; as a result many women entrepreneurs have held on to their day job until they became financially confident that they could see it through. Women, who have made the plunge into entrepreneurship, often rely upon savings they have and financial support from their spouses. Some women might also be so lucky to receive support from family and friends who often will provide “soft” and small loans.  

For many women, it is important for them to work in order to have that steady paycheck. With this money to do so, but many women in business often think that they can do it alone. There are cases where a woman business owner may have the administrative support to manage and grow her business, but her management style often keeps her from growing. In managing her business, many women use an approach to management that is based upon power and control — a very autocratic approach to management. This approach does not always work best in small businesses. Think about the negative effect your management style is having on your business, if this is your style, I recommend that you adopt a more collaborative approach, one that is more spiritual in how you deal and respond to others. A collaborative approach to management allows you to bring people into your team and it allow you to respect and value their expertise.  

Persistency and determination are also two strengths that you must have as a woman in business in order to succeed as an entrepreneur. Recognizing how close you are to achieving your goals is important to one’s success. Often times we see things as insurmountable, and this allows us to procrastinate and put off what we can do today to another day and yet another  and often not achieving it at all. Recognizing that your path is a unique path and not a carbon copy of someone else's, we must learn to persevere and persist. We must believe that we have the capability and potential to do so. Simply hanging in there can make all the difference to achieving success or failing. Just having the endurance, persistence and determination to finish are what makes the difference in a winner of a marathon race.

Being able to bounce-back from adversity is a necessary resolve that you need to achieve success, and not succumb to failure. On one of my Women in Business Radio segment that looks at “Spirituality and its ability to build Resilience to help us Bounce-back from Adversity” my guests and I spoke about how spirituality helps an individual in the face of any achievement or adversity. We agree that, having faith and belief in something greater than who you are, and also acknowledging that you are also someone destined for greatness because it has been "gifted" to you — that enabled you to see yourself as unstoppable and fearless.

Women in Business also sometimes encounter rejections in their lives, and that for many, stops us — blocks us from ever approaching or seeking our dreams, but you should be mindful that when one door closes another opens — and we should be aware when those opportunities comes, take it. According to Oprah, a person who gives you a no, can only give you that. He or she has been devoid of more. Nothing can come out of nothing. If you encounter an experience like this do not give up — keep your resolve. You will find that person who has the capability to provide you with the support that you need. I really do believe that we meet that saviour, or guardian angel — someone to provide the support when we most need it.

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