How do you help empower women-owned businesses? If you struggled to answer this question or can backdate your last involvement to March during Women’s History Month, it’s time to make a change by being the change. It might take a little effort at the start, but paying it forward pays off in the long run if you start now and stay committed to empowering other female entrepreneurs and small business owners. Here’s how you can easily step up to the plate 365 days a year.
- Set a good example as a woman leader in your organization.
Everyone remembers the bad boss they had in their lifetime. This was the person that micromanaged them, didn’t trust them with projects or assignments and might have even belittled them. When one comes away from an experience like that, they generally tend to make a silent promise to themselves never to abuse a leadership role if they are given one.
If you happen to be a woman leader at your organization, use your powers for good. Be kind and thoughtful to everyone on and off your team. Work hard and be committed to your role, but be open to feedback and encourage creativity and new ideas. This kind of behavior will reflect off of you and bounce onto everyone else you do business with, from partners to employees. You never know how many people your actions might wind up inspiring!
- Maintain perspective.
From publicly disagreeing with someone in the office to reacting to reading an email written in a condescending tone, just about anyone can succumb to letting emotions get the upper hand. However, rather than let frustrating moments in business push you over the edge, the best thing to do is to be the bigger person and maintain perspective.
Step back and calmly reassess the situation. Consider what is a priority and what is not and then handle items smoothly with a little thought. If you make a practice in doing this, you’ll find what seemed to be initially exasperating wasn’t worth getting worked up over. Much like our point about setting a good example, your behavior will be positively viewed by those around you. This will allow yourself to be seen as a true professional and will empower others to emulate your behavior.
- Connect women with awesome female mentors.
In 2017, McKinsey & Company released a study called “Women Matter” where it was revealed that better decisions are made when more women sit at decision-making tables. However, many women are unsure of what they can do or who they can talk to in order to get a seat at the table.
Do you know a smart, passionate woman who works hard and is searching for a great mentor to help guide her where she needs to be next? Do you also know another woman, who is established within her career and eager to provide advice to the next generation? Connect the two together so that a strong mentor-mentee relationship may begin to take root. Continue doing this so often as possible — and don’t be afraid to be a mentor either if someone with a similar career path to yours reaches out and asks!
- Don’t try to be what others want you to be.
You don’t need to be quiet when you know you must speak up. You don’t need to act “like one of the guys” to impress your male counterparts. You should not have to hide the unique aspects of your personality that make you stand out in the business world. Beyond being yourself, don’t try to fit the mold for what others want you to be. Let what is different about you guide you forward and watch as it empowers everyone else to think — and keep thinking — outside of the box.
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.