As a small business, we believe is teaching our girls the skills of entrepreneurship. A unique company called Mom and Daughters, Inc. that focuses on the principles of how mothers and daughters can learn how to start their own business. Entrepreneurship for young girls has an array of benefits including teaching kids to get comfortable with risk at an early age, boost overall confidence, develop negotiation skills, and much more.
To learn more about this New York-based organization, we had the chance to speak with award-winning small business strategist, Malla Haridat, who created this organization to help address the many factors that are keeping women from realizing their full business potential.
Momtrends: What are some of the factors that are keeping women from realizing their full business potential?
Malla Haridat: The statistics about women owned businesses are both encouraging and challenging. While more and more women are starting businesses, very few are able to earn significant revenue even though many women entrepreneurs would tell you that they are working tremendously hard in their enterprises. For example, 2010 Census statistics indicate that while women-owned businesses represented nearly 50% of privately held companies in the U.S., the majority, (75%) reaches only $50,000 in annual gross revenues or less, and only 2.6% reported more than $1 million in annual revenues, compared to 6% of men-owned firms.
There are a host of reasons to explain this phenomenon. One of the leading factors that I hear from my clients and students is rooted in traditional gender roles. Women have often been conditioned to focus on being right and doing things perfectly rather than being willing to risk making a mistake. For example, in school, we would often scoff at the boy who raised his hand - without thinking - to answer a question and would have to think off the cuff and face the rejection of being wrong. It was a great way to approach school. But when you are running a business, you really need to be willing to experiment - take risks - and deal with failure on a regular basis. Then pick yourself up and try it again. Because its often in the failures or experiments that the best business models develop.
Momtrends: What are some entrepreneurship skills that young girls can learn?
Malla Haridat: There are many skills that a young girl can learn from starting their own business.
The top five list for Mom and Daughters Inc includes:
1. Learning how to balance risk at an early age
2. Gaining confidence and finding your voice
3. Discovering how to channel your creativity with potential lucrative benefits
4. Understanding how to balance budgets and plan for future spending
5. The creation and sharing of a personal brand
Here is a recent example of a former student who took to heart the idea of conveying her personal brand: She attended my workshop several times and was awarded a scholarship alongside other talented and smart students. When it was time to give her thanks, she veered in a different direction from the nine other students who read their laundry list of thank yous and recap of who they were. She opted to tell a story. A story about where she had started prior to the program and what a difference the program made in her life. And she kept it under the three minute time limit! Can I say not a dry eye in the house? She received a standing applause. And more importantly, several prominent attendees spoke to her afterwards with an interest to meet her over coffee and see how they could help her during college.
Thats the difference that thinking like an entrepreneur makes. You enter a competitive situation and are able to stand out positively from the crowd because you have begun mastering how to present your brand to others.
Momtrends: Why is it still hard from women to realize their goals in business?
Malla Haridat: Women are amazing! Yet we often take on so many roles in our lives and neglect ourselves and our businesses in the process of supporting everyone in our lives.
I highly recommend that women do a serious self assessment of their strengths and weaknesses and commit to small daily consistent steps for where they want to improve - both personally and in their businesses. Small steps will translate into big movement over time. For example if you are trying to earn $60,000 during your first year of business, its easy to procrastinate and think Ill keep working on the plan. Its just too overwhelming. But if you break down the goal into twelve months and the daily actions that youll need to take in order to achieve each monthly goal - it becomes doable.
Alongside the small consistent daily steps - you have to get comfortable saying no to others when its not going to be a win-win situation. So come up with a script for t he time suckers, distractors, and any social activity that you feel you must say yes to but you know will be a drain on your time. And then start saying yes to other like minded entrepreneurial friends who are happy to cheer you on and are totally comfortable catching up via Gchat at 11pm at night while they are working on their website at the same time as you.
Momtrends: How do you help them to do so?
Malla Haridat: In addition to some of the strategies listed above, I encourage women to start small and take steps getting comfortable being uncomfortable and taking risks. A great place to start is increasing sales. Stop waiting for the perfect product, the perfect sales plan or the right processes that will help you manage your sales. Yes, its going to be messy and yes, youll hear no. But youll receive valuable feedback along the way and ideally get closer to your ideal business model.
We also have to get comfortable telling our stories - especially the things that feel like bragging. If you are a genuine person doing in the world and running a business - there is no reason why you shouldnt feel comfortable sharing your story. Especially the big accomplishments, awards and highlights.
Malla Haridat is an award winning strategist for small business owners and creator of Mom and Daughters Inc., an opportunity for mothers and daughters to learn about the principles of starting their own business. http://momanddaughtersinc.com/
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