International Women’s Day is March 8, 2018. The day is recognized across the global community to applaud women’s achievements in business and beyond – spanning social, cultural, economic and political activities. To honor the day and women throughout the year, we share topical nuggets that can easily cross gender and industry.
The road to career success is much easier to follow when we take advice from those who've helped blaze that trail. To further illuminate the point, we’ve collected some words of wisdom that top women have learned over the years. The goal: To help empower others in the workforce, including the 11.6 million women in the United States who own businesses.
"Men apply for jobs if they think they meet just 60 percent of the requirements, while women will apply only if they think they meet ALL the requirements. Who has a better chance of getting that job — the man who applies for it or the woman who doesn't? Exactly."
This statistic, which has been attributed at various times to internal research from Hewlett-Packard and Mindy Levy, formerly of Booz Allen Hamilton, sums up a common problem not unique to climbing the proverbial corporate ladder.
The “confidence gap” can affect small business owners who may be reluctant to compete against larger firms for a host of reasons. Maybe you don’t offer the complete suite of services other companies provide, or you're the new kid on the block. Rather than focusing on what you don’t have, identify your point of differentiation, whether it’s better service or more senior employees, and use it to compete for — and ultimately win — the business. The key is to be confident in your approach, your experience and stress what makes your company stand out.
"Don’t assume you’re wrong because someone disagrees with you. But don’t assume you’re right if someone doesn’t."
These words of wisdom from Kelly Schmidt, senior director of platform product management for Getty Images, remind women how important it is to have a team that's not afraid to deliver bad news, as this can ultimately make your business better. Creating an atmosphere where people feel free to challenge ideas, offer diverse viewpoints and participate in healthy debates can help you see the many sides to an issue and potentially prevent costly mistakes.
“Network, network, network, network … Your next business opportunity is much more likely to come from a loose connection than a close connection. It's someone who you see twice a year, you run into them at this work event, or you have this quick drink with him."
Sallie Krawcheck says networking proficiency is the reason she was able to grow both her career at Bank of America and her role as CEO and co-founder of Ellevest — a digital investment platform for women — and chair of Ellevate Network, a global professional women’s network.
While small business owners are often mired in the day-to-day functions of their operation, nothing will help your business grow more than you getting out of the office and meeting and mingling with others, whether it’s at a community event, industry association gathering or a Mastermind or other similar group. While always important, this is especially true in the early days of your business and if you are changing your brand in a way that affects customers.
"The habits of diligent preparation and doing quality work that I’d learned in school were not the only —or even primary—ingredientsI needed to become visible and successful within my organization.”
Good work alone is not enough, found Tara Mohr, an expert on women’s leadership and the author of Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message. Of course, hard work might be the foundation, and few small business owners will deny how critical it is as an element that can’t be neglected.
It can also be challenging to tackle the myriad details and decisions small business owners face on a daily basis while striving to achieve an unrealistic standard with each situation or initiative. Of course, no one is advocating sloppy work or missed details, but by pursuing excellence rather than perfection, your business will thrive.
About the Author
Cathie Ericson is a freelance writer covering business and consumer topics. She creates branded content for Fortune 500 companies, and her work has appeared in LearnVest, Costco Magazine, Forbes, TheGlassHammer.com and IDEA Fitness. Follow her @cathieericson.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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