As the Founder and President of the Women Presidents Organization, success is a topic that Marsha Firestone, Ph.D., is very familiar with. The WPO is a non-profit membership organization for women presidents of multimillion-dollar companies. Members of the WPO take part in professionally-facilitated peer advisory groups in order to bring the ‘genius out of the group’ and accelerate the growth of their businesses. In addition to holding positions such as the Executive Director of The Women’s Economic Summit, Dr. Firestone also led the development of a master plan for accelerating the growth of women’s businesses, which was presented to Congress and the public in March 1999, and in 2003, was appointed to a term on the National Women’s Business Council representing the Women Presidents’ Organization. She is the author of The Busy Woman’s Guide to Successful Self-Employment and has published research in business and educational journals on adult learning theory, nonverbal communication, and managerial competency. In other words, she’s qualified to give you advice on how you, too, can be a successful, multi-million dollar earning entrepreneur. Here are her five tips on how to become a success.
- Clarify the company’s uniqueness and know where you want to go: The first step in running any business is to decide what your unique selling points are and hone in on differentiating yourself from the competition. Set concrete short- and long-term goals for the direction in which you want to take your company, where you plan to be in the next six months, a year from now and in two years.
- Lead from both inside and outside the company: Leaders have different strategies. One strategy that resonates across all platforms is to take your leadership outside the walls of your company. Set an example for others — whether through peer advisory, mentorship or something else — and you’ll earn their trust and respect. The fundamental premise of the Women Presidents’ Organization peer-to-peer learning tool focuses on sharing experiences instead of giving advice.
- Hire carefully, train thoroughly and retain competent employees to build a committed team: People are the most important resource to any business. As an entrepreneur, it’s natural to feel you need to control all of the minutiae because the business is “your baby.” Take your time hiring people you can trust to take smaller responsibilities off your plate, so you can focus on larger business goals. No one likes a micromanager; it also impacts your efficiency.
- Focus, focus, focus: Identify what needs to happen and go for it. It’s easy to get caught up trying to fix everything all at once. Prioritize your goals and issues; check them off one by one when completed. The more specific you are about your goals, the better off you’ll be. Be the voice for the company’s mission.
- Know when to let go: The “art of the pivot” is important for all entrepreneurs. Knowing when to acknowledge a failed idea is key to staying afloat. Keep in mind that it’s OK to admit failure and move forward. It will make your business stronger in the end.