October 23, 2013 12:00 AM | by Amira Azzouz
15 Golden Tips for Arab Female Entrepreneurs
As a young entrepreneur or business woman I feel like it is my duty to share with you the 15 golden tips for Arab female entrepreneurs. I'm not saying I know it all, but I definitely have a good share of experience and I'm sure there's still more to come. Having said that, it's important that all female entrepreneurs and business women out there know of the important tips and rules to help them balance a healthy life, not to mention reduce the amount of stress they have to go through on a daily basis. So here you go:
1. Your Attitude.
This one of the most important tips every Arab female entrepreneur should know of. Yes, the way you approach life and work is pretty important. Don't be too friendly when meeting people for the first time nor give them too much attitude, especially when it comes to work. Balancing an attitude in between is really important, you wouldn't want to come off as weak or a snob. As a female entrepreneur you do meet a lot of men especially in networking events and you most certainly have to give off a professional vibe.
2. The Right Balance.
Knowing how to organize your time and balance your life is the most important gold tip for Arab female entrepreneurs. After all, we're women who are not just responsible for work, but also a family who needs extra care and attention. Learn how to make that perfect balance and always prioritize.
3. Time Off
As a business owner it's always hard to get my mind off of work issues and ideas once I leave the office, Though it may be hard, try your best to learn to leave anything related to work behind once your working hours are over, and start off with a fresher perspective next morning.
4. Pick Your Battles
In all business there are some great days and some bad ones. The issues and people causing these bad days make it harder for you to focus on getting things done, but the most important tip for Arab female entrepreneurs, is to learn how to pick your battles, as not everything nor everyone is worth fighting back for. Reserve your energy to issues that do matter. Example? If you get a rude email, think twice whether you should reply or simply ignore, because you're bigger than that.
Every entrepreneur should know that It's crucial that you keep track of every single contract or deal in discussion, in other words keep everything documented. Firstly on your email and secondly of course through written agreements. You can't trust anyone when it comes to business.
6. The Go-to Person
Have a friend or a mentor who you can always turn to for advice or a second opinion. It helps on days where the decision to be made isn't that clear, not to mention they can help you push your business further with a new and fresh perspective.
7. The 20-80 Rule
On days when I'm overwhelmed with the amount of work that needs to be done, I always start with the 20% of the work, that will get me 80% of the results. This is definitely a must know tip for entrepreneurs.
8. Vision and Goals
If I had a penny for every time I got side-tracked or distracted, I'd be filthy rich. Yes, it does happen to each one of us! So how to keep yourself really focused on your vision and goals? Personally, repeating it on a daily basis, having it written almost everywhere (my desk, my room) and I keep on telling the people close to me about it. Another way is to have your go-to person, be it a friend or a mentor, help you avoid being side-tracked.
9. There's No Box
You know what they say about creative people? They think outside the box! Well, news flash, there's no box to begin with. If you want to have something unique, a strong point that differs you from all the competition out there, then you need to do your research, find out why people pick you over the others and highlight it even further. Got a new idea that will help boost your business? Run it by your team and a few close friends to get a second and third opinion. Then go for it!
Well, everyone's worried to be taking risks, but guess what? You've already taken a big one when you decided to start up your own company. Now it's all a matter of taking well-calculated risks. Some might take your business to the next level, others will be a good lesson on what you should never do again, or how you could have turned it around to serve you better.
11. And The Wonderful Team
When it comes to young companies, you always need to surround yourself with a team you consider family, a team that shares the same vision and goals and you all work pretty hard to reach that destination. Having a team that doesn't share the same vision or has internal problems will do more harm than good. Did I mention that even though you're an entrepreneur, it doesn't mean you can do it all? Example, my strongest edge isn't necessarily financials, well I'm terrible at it. So after many trials, I decided to ask for help. And guess what, it's much easier now. Asking for help is crucial, you shouldn't hesitate to do that.
12. The Financials
I've learned that the hard way back then! Always make sure you know how much you spend per month approximately and then keep two month's money aside in the bank for those rainy days. Every business has its ups and downs, but the most important thing is to be prepared for those downs and come out of them stronger than ever. People and other companies can feel your weakness, so don't ever give them that edge.
13. Switching The Plan
Sometimes a great plan doesn't fully go through the way you thought it would. That's why you always got to have a plan B. Don't waste too much time on being stubborn and insisting to make your great plan work, just find a way around it and act fast to minimize your losses. I know your company is like your baby and that's why you need to be a bit more flexible for its ever changing needs.
14. Everyone Criticizes
While almost everyone seems to have an opinion on what's great about your business or what on the other hand should be done better, make sure you listen closely. Accept criticism as much as you accept compliments, filter it out and use what's truly important to move forward; you'll be the best judge of that.
15. Be Diplomatic
Being diplomatic wasn't something that came to me by nature when I first started Fustany.com, but with time I had to be. Why? Mainly because you might have to swallow your pride at times and keep your company's best interest in mind. That however doesn't mean you let anyone step over you, but always keep in mind what's the most professional way to say or put things, without getting emotional as we women tend to do that. At the end of the day, it's business and being diplomatic is the best way to go.