Things women entrepreneurs should keep in mind before beginning their startup journey
It is a universally acknowledged truth that women, in comparison to their male counterparts, have to scale more mountains in their professional journeys. Although less severe as compared to the landscape of the past, the challenges faced by women on account of gender bias are, unfortunately, still prevalent. The prejudiced social, cultural, and political backdrop continues to provide women with a thorn-riddled path to walk on in every sphere of life, be it the arts, sciences, sports, armed forces, or entrepreneurship.
However, in the celebrated words of the noted singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, “the times they are a-changing”. On account of an expanding educated class, the social and cultural landscape in India—along with the rest of the world—has changed radically over the past two decades. The modern professional disciplines, for instance, have aligned their focus and resources towards driving innovation and making the world a better place. In line with this commitment, such domains are proactively rejecting regressive attitudes that inhibit progress. The entrepreneurial community, which depends on the progressive tenets of science and technology, is one such example.
The people working in this dynamic domain come from diverse backgrounds and are dedicated to creating a welcoming environment for individuals across all identity spectra. This range cuts across all gender, socio-economic, religious, geographic, and linguistic boundaries. On the back of the concerted efforts of all stakeholders, the Indian startup ecosystem has evolved to become one of the safest and most forward-minded domains in the world. Many women of immense talent and focused vision have made a place for themselves in this dynamic industry while also inspiring and empowering an entire generation of future visionaries to come to the fore.
Women: change-masters and progress-drivers
It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that were it not for the intervention of past and present women leaders, women entrepreneurs today would still have found it next to impossible to penetrate the world of dreams and ambition. Even today, almost every professional sphere is primarily male-dominated. Nonetheless, both public and private stakeholders are aware of the benefits that increased participation of women can bring to the table. That is why major investor bodies operating in India today are focusing on encouraging the participation of women in the Indian startup ecosystem by facilitating equal access to finance.
Progress in this direction can hit multiple marks at once. As per a 2018 IMF study, titled Closing Gender Gaps in India: Does Increasing Women’s Access to Finance Help?, this would not only create employment opportunities but also strengthen the country’s GDP. The simplification of complex labour market regulations and a focus on women’s skill development will add further value to the same cause and drive an estimated 6.8 percent growth in GDP.
Against this backdrop, the next-gen women need to expand their horizons and open their minds towards the changing attitude of the world towards them. In other words, the onus of taking the reins of the Indian entrepreneurship has fallen upon the new-age Indian woman and she must leverage the benefits that are being provided to her to drive the maximum results.
Here, then, are some of the key tips budding female entrepreneurs in today’s startup landscape need to keep in mind:
- Human understanding precedes innovation: While it is true that the world of entrepreneurship is dynamic, it is worth remembering that technological transformations only enhance the way the solutions are created and implemented. The basics of entrepreneurship, on the other hand, will never change. The most vital elements include the ability to understand pain points within society, knowing how to grasp customer behaviour and preferences, inculcating good leadership and management skills.
- Confidence and ambition go hand in hand: It is noble to have ambitious goals but one must also have the necessary pluck to be able to achieve them. Iron-clad determination is necessary for facing and overcoming the headwinds that an entrepreneur will face in her startup journey.
- Co-operation makes a corporation: It stands to reason that to make a good business you need a good company of talented people to work with. Human resource is indispensable to any business process, and irrespective of the technological innovations taking place, the need for robust talent will always be present. In addition to working partners, a budding entrepreneur should also surround herself with inspiring people who can support her as her advisor, mentors, etc.
- Humility and hardwork make a success: It is often advised that one should not chase success; that it should be the corollary of all the hardwork that you put into your work. While there is merit in this line of thought, it is equally true that success is not as elusive as one thinks it is. What is more important, then, is knowing how to respond to success. The answer is humility. Not only is it the most critical emotion that one should aspire for in order to be rooted to the ground but it is also the key to be successful in both business and life.
Finally, every business leader will tell you that there is no secret ingredient to success. Contrary to popular belief, success in any field is the result of a tried and tested formula combined with innovation. Hence, the only significant advice that anyone can give an aspiring entrepreneur is that one should believe in oneself and endeavour to bring value through their participation. Doing so will make the road to success smoother, if not short.
(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)