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The essential role women play in small business and how they champion it

The Government announced a package of measures last week that will make a genuine and permanent difference to small business in Australia. There is a strong feeling in the market that by energizing small business the economy will flourish and this is great news for all small business owners.

The nation is being encouraged to ‘get out there and have a go’. Whilst many organisations are making a concerted effort to find equilibrium and many changes have occurred and will continue to occur, for some this isn’t enough. With some women still feeling underutlised or undervalued within the workforce, many are now turning their efforts to running their own small business.

The Minister for Small Business the Honourable Bruce Billson MP shared just recently that around one third of the nation’s business operators were women and that data collated in January of this year showed that there were 406,400 women running a business.

I see evidence of this every day. As a first-born son of immigrant parents, who in the ‘70’s started a textile manufacturing business that was employing about 100 people, it was my mother who led the family business. Yes my father worked hard, but it was my mother who led it. I grew up in an environment where my mother championed an ability to stay focused and true to the holistic balanced entrepreneurial commitment for success.

Almost half of the business owners in our community are female. Women are starting small businesses at twice the rate of men, from the highest levels of the private sector to showing great strength and courage by starting up home-based businesses – the ‘mumpreneur army’ is a force to be reckoned with, with many women starting up new businesses when they decide to stay at home to care for their children. There are thousands of women successfully running their own businesses, sitting on boards and advisory committees and making a contribution to advancing women through networks and mentoring. Realising and capitalising on this together with the nurturing maternal values of women is in my opinion a win win situation, and I firmly believe this is where women have the edge over their male counterparts.

Let’s face it, it doesn’t matter if you are female or male, running a small business isn’t easy, but then if it was, everyone would be doing it! I work with many women in our community, for which every one of them is advancing their opportunity. Women, who along with running a business also embrace the many roles of being a female today, juggling a business and everything else that life throws their way. Women in business are often more flexible and plan for the unexpected, set boundaries for their business and home life to ensure efficiency in both areas at the right times, and create a support network around them – great traits for all business owners – women or not.

So for those who are considering making a commitment to run a small business, how do you turn your small business ideas into reality? Running a small business can be fun as long as you learn a few fundamentals around mindset and critical thinking.

It all starts with Clarity. Clarity comes when you feel that you are winning. Clarity is not about dollars and cents and it’s not about how many clients you have. It’s not about your marketing or your cashflow or your balance sheet. All this stuff comes later.

Clarity is about the DNA of your business. It’s about what drives you and the people around you. It’s the heart and soul of why you go into the office every day and the promise you make to your customers. It’s an unshakeable confidence about who you are and why you do what you do for those that you choose to do it for. If you don’t have confidence, trust and self-discipline you can’t expect others to.

You’re enrolled or you’re not, you’re serving a purpose or you’re not, you’re maximising your opportunities or you’re not. You’re at your Personal Best or you’re not. It’s an ethos and it’s a culture for you and your business.

Are you clear what your #1 Big Outcome is? The quality of the decisions that you strategically make will determine the direction of your business. What is your #1 Big Outcome? For me it is to provide a better quality of life for my clients. Notice that it is not based on the dollars and cents; it’s more than that. What is it that you are in business to provide?

When the opportunity moves from the head to the heart, you will move forward. When you fully own and take responsibility for what you are doing, and when you are totally committed, good things will start to happen.

You will conquer all regardless of other people’s perceptions of you and what makes you 100%. Power to you!

About the Author:

Stefan Kazakis is a business strategist, and founder of Business Benchmark Group, which helps clients from a variety of crossroads and industries seize opportunities to achieve ongoing business success and profit growth. He is also the author of From Deadwood to Diamonds (Major Street Publishing, $29.95). For more information please visit www.businessbenchmarkgroup.com.au or email info@businessbenchmarkgroup.com.au

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