The challenges faced by female entrepreneurs need to be proactively addressed to create conditions conducive to scaling their businesses, but, with the right approach from the outset, success is eminently achievable.
Informed by research and her own advisory experience, Sheena Dogget a Partner in Corporate and M&A law in A&L Goodbody, one of Ireland’s leading law firms, has shared with us her top five recommendations for female entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses.
1. Change your mind-set and you can change anything
The most important thing is the mind-set of the founders. Building up a successful business is a journey – not a transaction. You must demonstrate confidence and stretch. You must be resilient and determined. You need to have the conviction and the ability to bring a team, founders and customers on your journey with you. Critically for Women, don't be afraid to fail. Research projects on entrepreneurship show one of the main reasons women entrepreneurs don't enjoy enduring success is that they are thwarted by a fear of failure.
Research carried out by the European Commission (Policy Brief on Women’s Entrepreneurship, European Commission, 2017) found that 25% more women than men cite fear of failure as a key reason not to start a business. That is a mind-set that women must overcome.
2. Build the right team
The next thing investors look for is the quality of your team. Surround yourself with the best management that you can afford; not just with the right skills set, but also the right 'fit' and a strong team of advisors, directors and business mentors. I use the word fit because you will be working closely with the team for some intense and potentially challenging times.
Separate your own ownership from the management of the business. Entrepreneurs who share management control are more likely to be successful in securing investment in their business. Be honest with yourself and identify what you are not good at, know what you don't know and invest in those areas to ensure the business has the best bench strength. A strong leadership team is a critical factor that investors will look at when they evaluate any funding or investment proposal. It is also important to appoint non-executive directors to your corporate board or advisory committee – people who will 'get' you, who will understand and support your ambition for the business, but who will also challenge you.
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