It’s no secret that women in positions of power often have to get there on a different track than their male peers. In 2011, only 15.5 percent of Canadian small and medium-sized businesses were owned by women. And that number doesn’t include solopreneurs who are trying to make their way on their own. The majority of those female entrepreneurs also have no business growth goals. Even if they do have growth in mind, female-owned businesses in Canada have lower growth rates than male-owned businesses.
Why is that? Well, as female entrepreneurs, we’re constantly having to apologize for appearing too harsh, too soft, too emotional, too masculine, too feminine, too unstable, too… everything. Of course, there are also women who want to own a business while having a family. We are constantly accused of wanting to have it all, but who says we can’t have it all?
As a business owner, I am constantly keeping myself in check, re-reading emails dozens of times before hitting send even if it’s a routine invoice reminder, a quick question about a project I’m working on, and just generally worrying that I would offend someone or, horribly, someone doesn’t like me.
A lesson I am learning on a daily basis as an entrepreneur is that not everyone is going to like you or how you run your business. Rather than dwelling on those people, focus on people who appreciate you. To stand out, female entrepreneurs need to stand up and use our voices. It’s OK to have an opinion. It’s OK to have ideas that are better than those of your peers. And it is definitely OK to talk about why you are so great.
The reality is that all business owners, men and women, should conduct themselves with a certain sense of tact and business etiquette, but stop apologizing for wanting to be a successful, female business owner. Set high goals for yourself and do what you need to do to get there.
Candace Huntly is the Founder and Principal at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.
Connect with Candace