Five Proactive Habits of Successful Businesswomen

According to the Women’s Financial Network, twice as many women start up businesses as men. All successful businesswomen share certain proactive habits that help them prosper. The following five proactive habits of successful businesswomen can help you increase your productivity and profits. These tips will help you understand the importance of believing in yourself and your abilities to work smarter, not harder, in business, and focus on attaining your goals 24/7.

1. Organization

Cultivating good organizational skills is the secret to getting organized. Take 20 minutes each morning to focus on what you want to accomplish during the day. Organize your immediate work environment by filing papers, putting things away, and writing your to-do list. List actions, phone calls, e-mail, errands, personal business, and so forth. Make your list manageable and attack each item individually.

Organize your schedule, plans, and appointments by using a laptop, a calendar, a day planner, or a notebook. Track your business activities and keep your records at your fingertips. Several word processing programs are available that come with accessories such as calendars, lists, and useful forms.

Organizing your finances and time helps you become more productive and responsive and ensures you avoid unnecessary pitfalls, such as incurring wasteful late fees. Setting your goals helps give you focus and gets you on the road to financial success. Be sure to set realistic time frames with each goal. Schedule your work time so you can get the things on your to-do list done. You may need to screen your phone calls and post a sign that lets people know you are working.

2. Networking

Successful businesswomen actively network every day, using strategic associations to generate more business. Networking helps you become part of the business community, which advances your business more rapidly by providing contacts that can open doors to potential opportunities, including customers for your business.

Build your business relationships slowly over time. Doing so helps ensure that you eventually get business from your contacts. After initiating contact, you should e-mail or phone the person to keep the association alive. If possible, get together in person for coffee or lunch. Bring a notebook and pen, or even better, take your laptop and use it to record information and make business presentations. Make notes of the meeting, including who you met with, what you discussed, your ideas, and any pertinent personal information about your contact.

Regularly refer to your contact files and follow up. Networking is a give-and-take relationship, meaning that when business associates help you, you in turn help them. As an extra leg-up, develop an ongoing relationship with a business mentor as well as join business-networking organizations such as LinkedIn that can provide valuable referrals and information.

3. Creativity

An essential business skill, creativity can give your company an edge over other businesses. Innovation is key when women need to adapt to a changing business environment or meet the challenges of unexpected developments, such as finding a more cost-effective alternative when money is tight.

One way to boost your creativity is to use verbal and visual metaphors. Compare your challenge to something else, for example, when you need to generate more sales, such as comparing selling your service or product to making a vegetable soup or building a house. It’s a lot like figuring out 20 ways to use a paperclip. It gets your creative fires burning and helps you think in innovative ways.

Use motivational tools to inspire you, such as success stories from businesswomen on Homebizwomen.com. Read business books and magazines, and surf to helpful Web sites. Ask other successful businesswomen about their experiences and what works best for them. The payoff is a greater chance of business success.

Go through old magazines and cut out images and words that describe a specific challenge and possible solutions. Create a collage out of the images or just lay them out on your desk surface. Take 15 minutes or more to freely associate your questions and solutions regarding the issue at hand, and make a note of any ideas that seem viable.

4. Education

Learning a new business skill helps women expand their knowledge and increase their earning power. Feeding your curiosity by taking a class and getting a certificate or a degree is a proactive use of your time and energy.

Take a free online business class designed to help professionals build and enlarge their businesses. There are minitutorials on various business topics, including e-mail, wireless networks, Excel, PowerPoint presentations, and business networking.

Take a course at a college, a training center, or a business school. For example, Kellogg School of Management, which is BusinessWeek’s No. 1 ranked graduate school in business in the United States, has ongoing one-day to five-day classes on a focused topic, a two-year program leading to an MBA degree, as well as executive MBA programs.

5. Perspective

Taking time to relax and reflect enhances creativity and lets women ponder new ideas. It can actually improve your productivity and profit potential. Ultimately gaining perspective through reflections can help you do a better job by cutting stress and giving you the opportunity to ponder what makes you happy and constitutes meaningful work.

The idea is to get away from the work environment and go someplace where you can gain perspective regarding your life and business. Any change of pace such as a day off at the beach or lake, or a two-day road trip, or even an hour break at the local park, can help you gain insights into any challenges you may be facing.

First and foremost, every day take a few moments to celebrate the things you do accomplish. Congratulate yourself for actually getting the job done. Stay on the proactive road to success by not losing sight of why you are doing it. Keep quotes, photographs, articles, books, and other written affirmations where you will see them while you are working to keep a balanced perspective. Visualize your goals for at least 10 minutes each day, and concentrate on the choices and actions that are producing the results you desire in business. Above all, have faith in yourself.


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