“What are you, my daughter’s age?”
I clearly remember not being taken seriously. I was an engineer with a few years of experience under my belt, trying to fight my way to entrepreneurial success in a field dominated by older men. It would have been easy to allow this kind of disrespect to knock me down, but luckily, I had something that helped me bounce back after each punch: a vision.
There are now more women entrepreneurs than ever. Although the odds aren’t always in our favor, we have the opportunity to step up, take our businesses to the next level and be role models for future women entrepreneurs.
When it comes to accomplishing that, nothing will serve you better than remaining committed to your vision and developing a solid plan for the upcoming year. When I sit down to plan each business year, I hold onto the wisdom of Ronald Reagan’s words: “To grasp and hold a vision — that is the very essence of successful leadership — not only on the movie set where I learned it, but everywhere.”
4 Tips for Planning a Successful Year
Women with well-thought-out strategies and grit are hard to come by, but those are the ones who are habitually successful. This year, set aside plans for low-hanging fruit because success in 2015 will require big-picture plans. Here are some ways you can position your business to achieve success this year:
- Find new inspiration. Take a retreat by yourself and travel. Successful business plans require a successful mindset, so finding your inspiration will serve you and your business well. According to the Brightspark Edu-Travel report, 94 percent of American business leaders agree that being well-traveled gives them a competitive advantage in the workplace. Even if it’s just a three-day weekend, go somewhere you’ve never been. It will open your mind up to the world. Then, you’ll have a different perspective as you plan for the next year, enabling you to set even bigger goals and take your business in an unexpected, more fulfilling direction.
- Solidify your infrastructure. A successful year depends on a successful infrastructure.A successful infrastructure requires reviewing and documenting company processes. By ensuring your accounting process is in writing, reviewing your employee handbook and hiring practices, and addressing any other basic structural concerns, you can springboard your business into the new year.
- Feed your culture. Take a hard look at your company’s culture. Great culture attracts great people, and your people are the source of your company’s success. Mindvalley is a great example of a company whose cutting-edge culture is changing the way people everywhere perceive work. Its employees have bought into the company’s vision, but more revolutionary, the company itself has bought into each employee’s vision. It does this by getting to know employees on a fundamental level: understanding their goals for growth, experiences they’d like to have in their life and how they’d best like to make a contribution to the world
- Flesh out your target markets. Before the end of the year, create and execute your research plan. Send out surveys, request testimonials and ask ideal clients to do a short interview session with you. The holidays are a great season to do this kind of work, and the data you get will feed your company in powerful ways. Do whatever it takes to generate quality data and feedback about how your company is doing and what your clients truly want.
It’s certainly an exciting time to be a woman business leader. In 2014, women entrepreneurs pulled in $1.4 trillion in revenue — up from $819 billion in 1997. As a woman business leader, you have the power to set the pace for your peers. Get inspired, think big and focus on long-term goals.
If you match your inspiration and long-term goals with a solid strategy, 2015 will be your best year yet.
Sumi Krishnan is the President and Founder of K4 Solutions, Inc; a $20 million dollar consulting firm with more than 200 employees across the country. Her firm works with clients such as U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security. Sumi now has a passion for working with other business owners (particularly women) to help them thrive in life while creating killer businesses that do meaningful work. You can find out more about her and how she supports other women business owners here: www.sumikrishnan.com/work-with-me.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.