5 Practical Advice for Women Entrepreneurs

The number of women entrepreneurs and businesses owned by them continues to increase by each year that passes; however, it is also a fact that women-owned businesses generally have higher rates of failure, earn less, and employ lesser people.

It is impossible to pinpoint one main reason behind this, mainly because there are actually various reasons for different cases. The reasons, however, is not our focus here.

Based on these facts, there’s one thing we know for sure: that women entrepreneurs need advice much better than what they are currently getting. You probably already know about the cliches productivity, positivity, confidence, etc., so here are pieces of practical advice for women entrepreneurs like you.

  1. Plan well.

Women are generally neater and more organized than men. Make the most of this. Take out your planner, coloured pens, and post-it’s, meet with your team, brainstorm, and plan the following days, weeks, and even months including the long-term decisions.

This is important because planning prevents you from making mistakes or misled uninformed decisions. It prepares you in case there are any setbacks. By planning, you also make sure that no aspect/division/group/detail is forgotten about.

We could go on the whole day here enumerating the importance of planning, but you get the point. Please, do not wait until you make the mistake to learn this lesson.

Word of Caution: While planning is highly essential, recognize the fact that things do not always go as planned, even if everyone of in your team has done everything you could. Sometimes, mistakes will be committed as well.

In cases like this, let who is accountable be so, but do not dwell on it. Be flexible enough, and do not lose sight of the goal; cool your jets and collect yourself before thinking of another plan and making a decision.

  1. Use your connections/network to your advantage.

It’s true — studies actually back up the claim that “network more” is a better advice to men than it is for women. However, that does not mean that your network could not be of any help to you and your career.

You might think that it would be such a bother to send an email and ask for advice, but you have no idea how many honed professionals are willing to embrace you with open arms and lend you a hand by sharing their experiences and what they know. Do not be afraid to ask for help and to learn from them.

Word of Caution: This does not mean you get to be a freeloader. Some take this to mean that you get to have services for free from the people you know, but never actually assumes getting free things and services unless you are offered.

Consider your relationship as well with the person you are asking help/advice from. While some will embrace you, some will not be as welcoming or even feel threatened by an emergence of a competition. So be careful as well in choosing the people you go to for help.

  1. Hire the right people from the beginning and set expectations.

Save your future self from the problems of managing people by hiring competent ones in the first place. It is also important to make your expectations known; this way, they know what they signed up for and what they need to have produced by each payday. Do not be thrift in giving them the advice and training they need.

Word of Caution: The tricky part here is actually how you can make sure the employees do their job without being too scared to go to work the next morning.

In other words, there’s the problem of being a nice boss vs. being a terror boss. While you will develop your own style, it’s never a good idea to be entirely one of those. The key is to find the perfect balance.

Keep things professional and give credits and praises when due, regularly motivate them and provide them with feedbacks regularly, but you should also teach them to be responsible for their actions and held accountable for their mistakes.

5 Practical Advice for Women Entrepreneurs

  1. Don’t be shy to speak up.

We know it is not always easy for a woman in a sea of men to speak up and stand up for what she believes in, especially when it is going against what the men think. Overcome your fear and brave through it. It will eventually come up roses once a competent employer recognizes that.

Word of Caution: Sometimes, speaking up comes off as overconfident and belligerent, which are not exactly great. So while it is important to make your presence felt, know to pick your battles.

Not everything should be a competition, and while you can make your ideas known to them, that does not mean they will always be followed or considered. Recognize as well that sometimes, you are also wrong. In times like this, do not beat yourself up over it. Learn from it and move on.

  1. Explore and make use of your resources.

Because of the gender gap that’s still not coming to an end, various groups and organizations have actually started many different projects, conferences, and programs to support women, and some of those are specifically targeting women professionals and entrepreneurs. Do not be afraid or too proud to join some. Explore your options and choose which you think will be of greater help to you and your business.

  1. Work on gaining more confidence.

One of the reasons why female-led businesses tend to fail more than the men’s is the lack of the necessary confidence and the fear of failure. What can you do? The suggestion is to stop overthinking and act more instead. While mistakes will be made, this will get you used to the idea that failing is actually okay. It is not something you should be afraid of. Be comfortable with failing at times.

Word of Caution: Do not fall into the trap of overconfidence. This does not also hinder progress; overconfidence can be a major turnoff to potential clients/customers and other networks as well.

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva


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