I remember when I first started in the business, I decided that I was going to compete with the biggest and the best, I was going to change an industry and make a difference in people’s lives. There was only one problem with that vision – I was building the foundations, based on the old rules.
A world of men, who created empires through ruthless tactics, focused only on the bottom line and managing staff and customers as commodities.
- This structure created massively, highly financially valued corporations.
- This structure created thought leaders and industry captains. This structure is also killing people, through mental and physical stress.
Therefore, I had to focus on being a leader of change. However, by doing it the way it was, for so many years was not the solution.
As my business started to take shape, I achieved ‘success’ on varying levels, but it still felt like a horrendous failure. I did not understand why. Then one day I stopped, looked and focused on my vision and decided to commit myself to it in its entirety. Immediately things began to change positively and successfully. For a split moment, I chastised myself for not realising what seemed so obvious. However, I accepted that nothing happens before its time, but the clues were always there, on how I was going to achieve my success.
Clue 1: I had created two business plans. The first and original plan was the one I have never shown anyone. I have shared excerpts, with my team, but not the whole vision. The second plan is my public-facing business plan; this plan is a diluted version of my original plan. It follows the formula of the typical business structure in all its glory.
However, recently, I implemented the business plan based on my original idea and do you want to know something, it has proven to be the most practical course of action I have ever taken. At the core of my company, is a dedication to helping people communicate, confidently and bravely. The outcome of serving from my source of truth, based on my original vision has been a success in every single way.
Clue 2: I was operating from a position of fear. I was consciously afraid that people would consider my company and me a bit ‘woo woo’, too hands-on and too ‘out there’. That they would take advantage and I was not business savvy enough. I convinced myself that I had to be patient and wait until my company became one of the Fortune 500 companies in the world before I could execute my vision. However, I realised that if I did not build my operations based on a foundation of truth, I was never going to succeed in the way I wanted to. Besides, convincing people of my vision after building it on a foundation of compromise and tamed words, I was making my work harder.
Clue 3: I was always asking people ‘Does that make sense to you?’ I realise that when I asked that question on repeated occasions, I was acknowledging to myself that I was not being true to myself. I was diluting my message and as such not being completely honest about what I offered.
Eureka! I realised that I had a problem with my business. What I did not know was how to fix it?
I did not even know what I needed to fix?
I just knew that there was something wrong and I needed to figure it out as quickly as possible. My point about these clues is that we all receive positive and negative signals. Many call it intuition. It is that little ‘voice’ in our gut that niggles away at us. Please pay attention to them; they are there to serve us.
So how are business women leading the charge for change?
More women entrepreneurs are creating a different business landscape globally. According to Forbes Magazine 2013, there is a year on year growth of Female Entrepreneurs by 30% – It stands to reason that more female-led businesses are built based on different principles. The visibility of women speaking differently about business is increasingly being incorporated into markets today, and traditional models, reviewed.
People like, Oprah Winfrey, Arianna Huffington, Sheryl Sandberg, Louise Hay, Cathy Hughes, are a tiny handful of names that are leading successful empires but also evangelising about better working practice.
Men are copying their women. They say imitation is the best form of flattery and there are increasing examples of men led businesses that are now recognising the power and the skills women bring to the decision-making table, to help grow and sustain better businesses.
The world of capitalism is indeed changing, women are leading the charge, and as long as there are industries, there is an opportunity for growth and new players in the game.
As a woman, I have found my voice, my original business plan, is the only one from which I will base my growth and as for success – is not mine for the taking, I have taken it.