To wrap up Women Small Business Owners month (my favorite month of the year), the women of OnDeck wanted to give back to the undeniable force that is the growing group of intelligent, fearless women taking on their dreams and starting their own businesses. We’re excited that over the past 11 years, the number of women-owned businesses surged 58%, while all businesses increased only 12%.
Because investing in your success as business owners is why we wake up every morning, the female leaders at OnDeck wanted to pass along their advice, which helped them get to where they are today in their own careers.
The burden of proof, so to speak, on women is higher, so:
- Make sure your numbers are detailed, comprehensive and that you know them inside and out.
- Create your own board of directors to ensure you have people who can give you advice, additional perspective, etc.
—Andrea Gellert, Chief Revenue Officer
Have confidence in yourself that you can figure out how to accomplish what needs to be done, even if you haven’t done it before. There is a now-famous and often-quoted Hewlett Packard internal report released several years ago stating that “men apply for a job when they meet 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them.” Women often assume they need expertise in something to do it well, when the fact is, they’re pretty good at figuring it out! Triangulating a few relevant past experiences and some good old intuition will usually get you there.
—Shannon Smith, SVP of Marketing
When we talk to successful and stable small businesses they all have very different ways of managing their businesses, but one thing they seem to have in common is that they set aside some of their earnings into a separate account to help them weather hard financial times. Doing this seems to help these small businesses survive past the notorious “5 year” mark.
—Tracey Varnell, Director of Design Strategy
Don’t worry about trying to do everything perfect and celebrate small wins… success is about the journey!
—Kelly Merrill, SVP of Financial Planning and Analysis
Cultivating mentors that you admire and respect is critically important—but don’t expect amazing mentors to just fall into your lap. You have to be proactive.
—Christin Spradley, Head of External Affairs & Associate General Counsel
Leverage your strengths such as empathy, listening skills, or emotional intelligence, that are typically slated as skills where women outshine men, as a differentiator for your business and customers.
—Rudmila Rahman, Director of Financial Institution Partnerships
Thank you to all the women small business owners who work hard every day. We look forward to continuing to serve you.