1. Women Who Shine! We’ve all had business ideas we think would make a great success but how many of us follow that dream and make it a reality? Setting up your own business takes courage, hard work and lots of determination. It also takes a certain mindset – one that ideally is fostered from a young age.

As an online magazine that champions women who Shine! we feel it is vital that young women with a curiosity for setting up their own business turn that focus into reality. Let’s be honest, the world of business has for too long been the domain of men! There are countless talented women out there of all ages, backgrounds and skillsets who would make truly wonderful entrepreneurs.

We’ve asked four leading women in business, each of whom are powerful, inspirational forces in their chosen fields, to give budding entrepreneurs the advice and insight they wish they’d been given while embarking on their own ventures. Take it away ladies!

Sally Bibb

Sally Bibb, a leading consultant in the strengths movement, founder and director at Engaging Minds, author of The Strength Book

Sally says: “I’ve found one thing that helps me most on a day-to-day basis especially when times are tough. It’s to keep my mind on the ‘why’ – that is what am I trying to achieve with my business, what is our overall goal.

Remembering your ‘why’ helps with focus, stress, resilience and perspective; all challenges that can be derailers for entrepreneurs. When you’re overwhelmed by the ‘what’ and ‘how’ and forget about the ‘why’ you can end up doing lots of things that don’t further your overall purpose. The danger is you become scattered and waste energy on things that are not really that important. So, keeping in mind your big picture objective helps with focus because it is a way of prioritising. 

Keeping a focus on the ‘why’  can also can help a lot with stress and resilience because it can generate determination to push through difficult times. Remembering what I’m trying to achieve in the world excites me, gives me energy and makes other people ask “how do you do it”. I certainly have found that over the years – the more I think about the difference I am making with my business, the more inner motivation I find and the more the little things don’t bother me. Just a few seconds remembering what I set up my business for puts everyday irritations, stresses and strains into perspective.

I recommend watching this YouTube film of Simon Sinek talking about why https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOC4xcCxnzg

Nicole Soames

Nicole Soames, a highly qualified coach, EQ practitioner, Founder of Diadem Performance and author of the Negotiation Book

Nicole says: “There’s no denying that starting your own business can be a daunting prospect.  I should know! I founded Diadem, the leading commercial skills training and coaching company, in 2009 at the height of the recession and had to draw on my self-belief to make it happen.   So my key piece of advice for would-be entrepreneurs is to adopt a winning mindset by believing in yourself and your abilities.

This can sometimes be easier said than done. We are often our own worst enemy – talking ourselves out of a great business idea before we’ve even begun by dwelling on all the reasons why it might fail.  So banish this self-doubt by focusing on what’s great about you, your new business and your relationship with your customers. 

Adopt a half glass full attitude by flipping any negatives into positives – instead of thinking “Starting my own business means no guaranteed income” be optimistic and remind yourself that “Being my own boss will give me greater flexibility.” You’ll be amazed at the results.  By taking positive steps to help you move out of your comfort zone into your stretch zone, you will reap the rewards of increased confidence.  And this confidence is contagious. After all people buy people – you need to believe in yourself and your business in order to convince others to believe in you too!”

Find out more about Diadem here: Diadem Performance

Sanyin Siang

Sanyin Siang  is co-founder of the Coach K Centre on Leadership and Ethics in New York. She’s also a coach and advisor to CEOs, a motivational speaker, whose advice is seen in Forbes, Fortune, and The Wall Street Journal; author of The Launch Book

Sanyin says: “Entrepreneurs know about the importance of building a network of mentors and cheerleaders into their launch tribe and engaging the prospective customer.  But there is one critical type of people they often fail to include.  One is the naysayer.  When we first pose an idea, our default is to gauge for acceptance and walk away from those who put down the idea as rubbish.  In doing the latter, entrepreneurs may be missing invaluable insight! 

The way to turn that negative feedback from being a detractor and to being an asset is dig further into the why behind the negative feedback.   People are usually really good at feeling there’s an issue.  But it usually takes probing to unearth the cause of that.  It’s in the cause that may lead one to discover a flaw or risk in the idea.  If addressed early on, the entrepreneur may have a greater chance of success in their launch.  Bob Lefkowitz, The 2012 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, values that critical voice so much that he has created an award for that critic on his team every year.”   

Emma Serlin

Emma Serlin  is an award-winning theatre director, social entrepreneur, founder of social enterprise, soapsandstories.co.uk, business woman and founder of www.LondonSpeechWorkshop.com & www.wearesunflower.com, author of The Connection Book

Emma says: “Whatever the grand and beautiful idea is, break it up into small steps, then take one step at a time. It seems obvious, but its something we can all forget. I think as women we are both more sensitive and often less confident or ‘bombastic’ than our male counterparts. The repercussions of which means we can easily get intimidated by something or talk ourselves out of it.

I have found that if I just go for the whole – I can scare myself, but breaking it into little pieces and addressing one piece at a time, you climb the mountain. An example of this is when I was 25 and decided I wanted to direct a play. I was terrified but decided to accept that I could be crap and give myself permission to fail, and then I set about taking the steps. If I had been told that 18 months later I would be running a theatre company in a disused factory, with a crew of 20 and a cast of 15 and a 25k budget I would have been terrified. And yet that is what happened!]

I got there through taking one step at a time: choosing a play, finding a producer, finding a venue etc. when you break it up, it all becomes logical and the bite-sized chunks are achievable. If they feel too huge, break them still further. Now I am doing a tech startup and we are getting ready for the first round of investment. I was nervous about this unknown phase, but have confidence in my previous experience of being able to figure things out, by taking it step by step, and I know that it all feels considerably more achievable working in smaller chunks.”

Elaine Eksvard

Elaine Eksvard  is the CEO and Founder of a rhetoric agency – Snacka Snyggt in Sweden. It offers a variety of courses in modern rhetoric, presentation techniques, and sales. She is a Swedish TV personality and an avid blogger writing about family life, rhetoric, relationship, and fitness; author of ‘Read My Lips’

Elaine says: “It’s easy to become an workaholic as an entrepreneur. I try to consider time away from work as an investment for work, spending time on three key areas:

First of all I can’t give up time with family, because that would break my heart. So every day when I come home from work I park my phone and set it on flight mode to simply spend time with the people I love. 

Secondly, my body is my temple and since we’re going to hang out for a lifetime, I might as well make the best out of it. In other words, I work out. 

And thirdly, me-time. I ask myself what I feel like doing. Either it will be to just read a book, take a run or hang out with friends, but for me that’s the perfect balance and it makes my time working even more efficient since I feel good in body, soul and spirit!”

Have you a business idea your itching to kick-start? take notes from the inspiration women above and let us know how you get on – send your success stories to Shine! editor Collette Walsh editor@shinemagazine.co.uk
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