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Shalini Lal

Dr. Shalini Lal is the founder of Infinity OD, a boutique consulting firm enabling Organizational Transformations. Before this she was Director HR, Deutsche Bank and CHRO, Escorts Agri-Machinery. She has a PhD from UCLA, and is an IIM-A and St. Stephen’s College Alumnus.

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12 Lessons Specially for Women Entrepreneurs

Advice to women entrepreneurs from the women entrepreneurs of IIM A, 93 batch.

Photo Credit : ShutterStock,

What advice would women entrepreneurs give others like them? I posed this question to three eminent women from the class of 1993, IIM-A. All three have been entrepreneurs for many years. Rashmi Bansal is best recognised as best-selling author and publisher (Stay Hungry Stay Foolish and many more); Namrata Rana is the Co-founder of Futurescape, a customer experience company; and Lira Priyadarshini the Founder of Web of Comms, a media and advertising company.

I asked them one simple question- What learning would you share with other women entrepreneurs that has served you well.

Here are 12 lessons I loved:

1. Get your support systems organized first. This is the foundation necessary to give you the space to do what you need to at work. Family, friends, and staff—each have a role to play. Pay extra if necessary, and keep them happy. This is most important.

2. Once that is done, refuse to feel guilty. There are many who may judge you because you do not fit their idea of how a women should live her life. That’s alright. Develop a thick skin, and ignore them. Also, in your own mind-- you need to stop the chatter, and just do what needs to be done.

3. Remember, you are an entrepreneur first. Don’t forget that. It is key to how you craft your identity. Think business first.

4. Become the master of what you do. Find your special niche. What is it that you can do better than anyone else? Cultivate this. Strengthen it. Tell your story around it. This is your professional edge.

5. Clients, Investors, all of them will hold you to higher standards than the men. You will have to be that much better. They will also question if you are serious enough, or committed enough. Be aware of that but don’t let that intimidate you. It sucks! But the world is not a fair place.

6. Believe in yourself like you are your own best friend. If you do not believe in yourself no one else will. Not your clients, not your employees.

7. Be Bold. Be Ambitious. Many women hold themselves back because they worry their business may become unmanageable. If it does-- you will find a way.

8. Become comfortable with the numbers. Yes, you can ask others for advice. But it is your business. And you must know the numbers inside-out. It’s alright—you can do it. Others have done it, and so can you.

9. Every business has cycles, there will be good times and there will be lean times. Understand these cycles. In the lean times—remember this is the rainy day you saved up for. And remember that this too will pass.

10. Get comfortable hearing No. You will hear No a lot. You can’t let that get you down. Try and learn what you can from it. Sometimes it is about something you can do better. At other times it isn’t. That’s okay. It’s all part of business life.

11. Find people you respect to be mentors. From time to time you will need an external perspective. There are times when you are too close to the business. It’s normal-- You will need good sounding boards to separate the wisdom from the noise.

12. Make time for networking events, for conferences and speaking opportunities. These take time and effort but build your brand. So don’t be shy or lazy. And yes, when in any doubt—schedule breakfast meetings. These are efficient, they have a time limit and most of all are safe!

There it is—some amazing advice from three remarkable women. Happy Women’s Day.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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