Whether you’re a seasoned business professional looking to achieve a leadership role or a young entrepreneur entering the working world for the first time, there are several keys to success that all women in business — both in retail and across industries — can benefit from following.
I’ve spent more than 20 years working with new and established e-commerce merchants as a small business advisor at Yahoo Small Business, as well as over 14 years working with my family in our brick-and-mortar retail store. During my career I’ve learned tips and tricks and gained valuable experiences that helped shape my future as an entrepreneur and business advisor. Building a support system, following your passion, and working with a partner company are key to career success.
1. Create a support system and community.
It’s important to build connections with people by having genuine, real conversations. Take the time to get to know your clients and customers. What are their unique interests and passions, and how do they align with yours? Being authentically you will help foster real relationships and build a strong community, ultimately enabling you to better understand how to best reach your clients and customers. In my experience leading merchants on their e-commerce journeys, I’ve found that clients working alongside women, and being mentored by women, tend to be the most well-rounded and successful. They feel listened to and supported, which helps them to thrive.
2. Work with a partner company to supplement your skills and complement your business.
When starting a business, don’t give up on your passion in the interest of business development. Work with partner companies to outsource areas of business management or development that are outside your purview, whether that’s creating a business plan, developing a website, or handling accounting or marketing. Outsourcing or partnering with a professional company to fill any “skills gaps” will enable you to continue perfecting your specific craft and grow your business. Identify what you like, where you excel, and prioritize that instead of trying to wear every hat and play every role within your business.
3. Do what you love and follow your passion.
Everyone has a unique career path and it’s paramount to embrace your own business journey instead of trying to fit a certain mold. If you don’t want to be a business leader, that’s OK. Understand that every area of work and job within a business or organization matters. At the end of the day, it’s most important to follow your passion, do what you love, and to feel fulfilled in your career or role.
What Steps Can You Take Now?
Wherever you are in your business journey — if you’re tracking toward a leadership position or just starting out — remember to always follow your passion and be authentically you. Take the time to build meaningful connections and collaborate with like-minded individuals as your career progresses. This will set you on a path toward business success.