At HerBusiness, we’ve spent the past 20 years honouring outstanding women with our annual Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame. Every year, the women we induct into the Hall of Fame share with us some of their strategies for achieving success.
Now, in our mission to help you achieve your IDEAL business, over last couple of weeks we’ve been looking at those strategies to figure out the five strategies you’ll need to employ to build a Hall-of-Fame worthy business for yourself.
The first strategy we shared with you was all about YOU, because you are your business’ most important asset. The second was PEOPLE, because your business doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The third was VISION, because you can’t plan your journey if you don’t know where it should end up.
The fourth strategy is also all about you – it’s a quality you have to develop within yourself if you hope to go far in your business.
That quality is GRIT. That’s strategy #4.
This strategy is also different because we can turn to science to answer the question: what is grit?
Angela Duckworth answers that question in her book, called Grit (and highly recommended by our CEO, Suzi):
“Grit is passion and perseverance for long-term goals.” – Angela Duckworth
That passion and perseverance is crucial for building an ideal business. The Hall of Fame women built businesses out of passion projects because they never gave up.
The first step in building a business is usually making the decision to set off on your own. That bold decision is going to be immediately followed by a whole lot of hard work.
Mia Freedman of Mamamia stressed how important it is to be ready for that new reality.
“Be prepared to work crazy-long hours, especially at first. There really is no way around it when you’re involved in a start-up.” – Mia Freedman, 2015
As Kym Clark of She’s Empowered pointed out, the crucial nature of good, old-fashioned hard work can sometimes get left out of the conversation in favour of stressing things like creativity or enthusiasm.
“Passion is paramount, but it isn’t everything. Hard work and tenacity are essential.” – Kym Clark, 2016
All that passion and vision is a great thing, but, as Annie Crawford of CanToo knows, you simply must put in the effort to back it up.
“Work hard, be persistent and walk the talk.” – Annie Crawford, 2013
When you take that leap and start your business, there will probably be one question that nags constantly at the back of your mind: what if I fail? We are raised to believe that failure is a bad thing, something we should avoid at all costs.
Carol Schwartz of The Trawalla Group doesn’t think that way, and she advised that you don’t either.
“Do not fear failure.” – Carol Schwartz, 2014
Chandra Clements of One Legacy expressed her belief that failure is not only something you shouldn’t fear but also something you should embrace as an irreplaceable teaching tool.
“There is no substitute for the school of hard knocks. When you make a mistake, celebrate the learning.” – Chandra Clements, 2014
If you ask Lisa Messenger of Collective Hub, the best way to fail is quickly. Small failures are inevitable, so get them over with, learn and move on.
“Fail fast! Setbacks are just that – they set you back. So fail fast and move on without losing too much time, money and resources.” – Lisa Messenger, 2016
Change If You Need To
You have to work hard and accept that, no matter how hard you work, you’re not going to avoid failure completely. The key to making setbacks and failures work for you is adaptability. Business is always changing, and you have to be ready to change with it.
Jane Cay of Birdsnest advised going beyond preparing for change to embracing it when it comes.
“Be flexible. Embrace all things new.” – Jane Cay, 2013
This flexibility is crucial to building a sustainable business, as Jacqueline Arias of Republica Coffee knows, and it requires paying attention to the market around you.
“The ability to adapt to the constant change in market forces and customer needs is crucial to business longevity.” – Jacqueline Arias, 2013
Flexibility is also about persistence. Designer Samantha Willis stressed the importance of keeping at it even when faced with change.
“Show up tomorrow, especially when people don’t expect you to.” – Samantha Wills, 2017
Never Give Up
Showing up tomorrow is all about perseverance, and perseverance is a key part of GRIT. There will be long hours, changes to the plan and setbacks. On the journey to your ideal business, you can never give up.
There will be people on the journey who doubt you. Trainer Michelle Bridges knows that you can’t listen to them.
“Don’t take no for an answer. If you believe in what you are doing and who you are, then go back to the drawing board and figure it out.” – Michelle Bridges, 2015
Anna Hooper of Cape Jaffa Wines sees the refusal to give up as your greatest weapon.
“If you are prepared to persevere and don’t like to accept defeat, then you can make most things happen.” – Anna Hooper, 2016
But persevering isn’t just about being headstrong. It’s also about being patient, which Teresa Cutter of The Healthy Chef stressed.
“Be patient. Some goals take a bit longer than others to achieve. If the doors are closed, bang a whole in the wall and build a new door where you have the key.” – Teresa Cutter, 2017
Love What You’re Doing
Working hard, failing fast, adapting and refusing to take no for an answer sounds like a lot – and it is. But remember, perseverance is only half of GRIT. The other half is passion. Remember, passion is one of the common elements all ideal businesses share.
Louise Olsen of Dinosaur Designs said your passion should come first. It’s where the business starts.
“Work from your heart, then your head. When they’re in alignment, that’s when the magic happens.” – Louise Olsen, 2015
Carolyn Cresswell of Carmen’s Fine Foods said that the passion you feel for the business is a main factor in deciding your outcome.
“Your passion, drive and enthusiasm will determine your business’ success.” – Carolyn Cresswell, 2013
The passion is what makes all the perseverance worth it. That’s Kristina Karlsson of kikki.K’s advice.
“If you have a real passion for what you do in your business life, you will always inherently enjoy it. Even when the going gets tough, you’ll find so much inspiration around you to build.” – Kristina Karlsson, 2014
GRIT is about perseverance + passion. If you work hard, embrace the setbacks, change when you have to, never give up and love what you do every day, it’s not a question of if you’ll achieve your ideal business. It’s a question of when.
There’s one last Hall of Fame Strategy left. We’ll give you a hint: the last one is a BOLD one.
This post was authored by Sophie Grosserode. Sophie is completing a journalism internship with HerBusiness. She studies journalism and media at the University of Tennessee in the United States.