If you’ve already started out in business, even just dipping in your toe, you’re likely a smart cookie. As a business woman, you’ve had to gain a fair amount of wisdom, even with relatively little experience, to just get going, much less make a success of yourself.
If you’re a business owner or manager – a leader in any capacity – you know that gaining experience is important. For women, the key is gaining experience and respect. And respect is gained through excellence. True excellence comes only from experience. You can read a book on excellence, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to walk right out the door and be excellent. There’s book learning, and then there’s the type of wisdom that you pick up on the streets, whether that be your small business on Main Street, USA or in the rough hustle of Wall Street.
If you’ve already had the experience of success, you may be nodding your head and moving on. Not so fast! The following words of wisdom aren’t just for those who are looking to gain experience in the business industry; we have a few things to say to you who’ve been around a while as well.
On the flip side, if you’re a woman who is new to running a business, you may be wondering – If I’m new to this, how do I gain experience? and Isn’t that a bit of a catch-22? Well, there’s some work-arounds for gaining experience in a fast-pass sort of way.
Business owners new and established – we think you have wisdom to gain from the experience of reading what we have for you below.
Experience Excellence: How to Gain Wisdom as a Business Woman
For the experienced #ladyboss:
1. Actively look for mentees.
Wait. You’re looking for ways to gain wisdom, and we’re asking you to give it away? Well, yes. Yes we are. Because, actually, you’ll learn a lot more than you’d expect from guiding someone new. It’s an excellent way to stay in touch with the latest and greatest that’s happening in your field.
2. Speak up about what you know, and be willing to teach.
Hopefully, you’re all caught up on the “speak up” part. What you may be lacking is patience to break it down for others when they’re struggling. Again, this will help you to develop a greater understanding as well.
3. Evaluate your compensation – often.
If you have experience, constantly reevaluate how you are compensated, and present your reevaluation to any superiors you may have, or to the board of your company. A good guideline is to perform this review every 6 to 12 months. Don’t wait around for someone else to give you a raise or promotion – build your case, and present it.
4. Become a conflict ninja.
We’re here to tell you that the difference between you, and another, average leader, is that those who really knuckle down and get good at handling conflict will outshine others, hands down. The trick is to manage conflict in a way that lets all parties come out of it with a sense of dignity and satisfaction. That’s difficult to pull off, but so worth it.
5. Give yourself frequent, challenging pep talks.
When you were just starting out, you might have found that you had a lot of cheerleaders. As you gained success, you may have found that the encouragement tapered off. Like a parent releasing the handles of a bicycle when their kid gets the hang of pedaling, your supporters may be cheering you in a less hands-on way. That’s why it’s up to you to continue to encourage yourself, and to challenge yourself. Look in the mirror and be real with yourself each day.
For the newbie #ladyboss:
1. Boldly ask someone you admire to mentor you.
You didn’t get where you are today by being shy. And look, people love being asked to mentor others. It’s very flattering, even if they have to turn you down because of prior commitments or a heavy workload. Ask and ask again until you find the right person to lead you on your way to becoming royalty.
2. Speak up about what you know, and be willing to learn.
This one’s hard to do when you feel like you’re the fresh face. But guess who gets to be the boss? That’s right. She who acts like a boss. Don’t assume that you have less than others to offer. Your newness is also your value – you aren’t roped in by some of the ties that can bind more experienced leaders. As long as you maintain your willingness to learn, speak up about your ideas and point of view.
3. Evaluate your compensation – in comparison.
If you want to climb the ladder, you may be focused on salary. You may have been hired on at the same time as someone else, but making less. While it’s important to be aware of the impact that gender inequity plays in pay, you should also be aware of – or find out – e x a c t l y why and how your company makes decisions on salary. Think of it as a treasure map to the gold you want. Does your company value education, or taking on extra tasks? If you know, you can make strides toward your goals.
4. Don’t shy away from conflict.
This can be tough, especially when you’re wanting to make those smooth moves rather than have a bumpy ride. But again, with success, conflict is inevitable. And leaders, like firefighters, run toward the flames instead of shy away. They aren’t aggressive, or defensive, but neither do they roll over. Show early on that you’re willing to work through challenges, and you will be respected.
5. Give yourself frequent, encouraging pep talks.
We certainly hope that you have a girl group in your corner, pumping you up and letting you know that you can handle anything. But it’s also really important that you do this for yourself. Don’t become to reliant on others for encouragement, and really be your own best friend. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, but in this fragile time of just starting out, focus on what you have to offer.
For EVERY #ladyboss:
1. Get your game going.
If you’re a potential #ladyboss, but you haven’t yet started, what’s the hold up? We need more women like you! Figure out your game, and get in it!
2. Hire some support.
Once you get your start, you’ll make moves quickly. And you’ll need some assistance. Call them your employees, your team, your entourage – they’re here for you, your vision…and to get paid.
3. Log in to PayWow.
When you need to pay people fast, PayWow is here for you. Staying on top of your game means knowing exactly what tools to use.