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Challenging Business Lessons – Part II

March 13, 2010

Today’s blog continues the top challenging business lessons we faced over the past five years running our company. They are meant to help women entrepreneurs weather their own entrepreneurial storms.  Running a business isn’t always clear sailing – we get alot of gusty winds, torrential downpours and obstacles keeping us from reaching the other shore many times in our business careers. The ability to make it through the storms makes us more committed to our dream and better prepared for the next crisis.

Asking For Help In a Crisis

Most women entrepreneurs see themselves as capable, independent and smart women able to face anything life throws their way. Sometimes life throws us unexpected curveballs that affect us personally and professionally. When that happens we can’t be stubborn or weak in seeking support.

Twice in my entrepreneurial lifetime I have faced two major personal crisis – the sudden death of my father two weeks before a major event and a major health issue that required me to take a four month sabbatical from my business. During those time periods I had to rely on the support of other women, clients, business associates and friends who recognized I was struggling and needed extra assistance. I couldn’t be too proud or too weak to accept their support.

We are women first and foremost. We require special care sometimes to get through a crisis or to heal. We can, and must, allow ourselves the time we need to take care of ourselves. If it requires other individuals helping us during difficult periods of our life, that’s what we need to do.  Our businesses will be there. Our clients will be patient. We will come back – and in most cases stronger than before. Be grateful for people who want to help you and take them up on it!

Facing Failure and Starting Again

Instinctively people hate failure and all the emotions that swirl around it. But in business, just in life, we can’t avoid failure. It will happen to us either in small ways or big ways.  Losing a major client can collapse us and our revenue streams. Starting a new business and not getting new clients for months can stop us in our tracks. Investing a lot of money in our enterprise and not being able to pay it back in economic hard times can make us question our business acumen.

The best part about failure is there is always the opportunity to start again. We can start again with more counsel, wisdom and education. We can start again with a stronger determination for success. We can start again because giving up isn’t in our vocabulary.

After promoting women entrepreneurship in Syracuse for nine years before starting Women TIES, I was really surprised when I had to cancel our first luncheon because we didn’t have enough people to attend it. It was a tough “first” failure. But I knew I had to try again, market harder, sell more and do everything it took to deliver an exceptional program for the people who came (even if the numbers were small),  in order to prove our luncheons were valuable.  In 2009, we had over 800 women come to our events.  How could I have networked that many women together if I gave up in May 2005 because one program had to be canceled?  Do it again I say. It will work.

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