Tips To Finding Success in a Male Dominated Industry
Recent reports have shown that women in business in the UK is on the rise. Almost a third of businesses are owned by women which highlights a remarkable shift from figures in 2016 when just 17% of founders were female. There is still some way to go before the playing field is even but undoubtedly female entrepreneurs have some of the most inspiring stories out there.
Today we are shining the spotlight on my journey as a successful serial insurance business entrepreneur and currently the founder and CEO of five very successful businesses globally; Pukka Insure, Action 365, Freedom Brokers, umbrella company Freedom Services Group and most recently, Stella Insurance which is a female-first, purpose-driven business, created by women, for women.
As a woman who has learnt the lessons myself, here are some tips for finding confidence and power when working in male-dominated environments.
At 24, I rebuffed conformity and set up my first insurance company, acutely aware that it was traditionally considered a male-dominated, almost-sterile industry. The irony wasn’t lost on me… Over 20 years I have built a number of successful businesses that’s currently turning over £14million and employs over 160 people. I believe in building businesses that work for everyone –the people they employ, the communities they operate in and the customers they serve – and I passionately believe we need more women in this environment. Whoever controls the money makes the rules and we need more women in power to change the rules we’ve historically been given – it’s part innovation and part revolution.
As someone who has weathered plenty of storms in my days, I can tell you that the rules of business are not gender specific. People within the business environment may have their biases but if you get in there, know your stuff and deliver results, you will experience success. If you’re a woman that is just starting out your career, or have founded a business, I hope to share some of my learnings that will be helpful on your journey.
- Have a clear understanding of what you want to do and ensure it's something you love. Business is tough particularly if you're a female founder so don't just chase the money. First and foremost, you have to love what you do, because if you don't then it's going to be soul-destroying when you hit the inevitable challenges
- Know your proposition and your numbers, this inspires confidence in investors and customers so make sure you know both inside and out. For example, my very first business was an outsourced telesales business. I knew I needed to make 400 a day to keep the lights on and move us forward. For me, that translated to four appointments a day at 100 and that’s the goal that drove me every day. Make sure you know what you need to survive and the model is sellable and doable.
- Don’t try to do it all yourself. Bring the right people into your business and learn to lean on them. I can’t stress this enough – you cannot and should not do it all yourself. I guarantee you that no matter how good you think you are at something, there will always be someone who is better. So surround yourself with equally talented and ambitious people who complement your strength and are as excited about your business as you are. This way, you can focus on doing what you’re good at and let the others do their jobs.
- Swim in your successes, move on quickly from your failures. As women, we have the tendency to care too much about how people judge us. I find it helpful to remind myself that the majority of people are far too caught up in their own stuff to worry about what you’re doing or not doing. Every single successful business we know of would have had experienced failures before success.
- It takes a lot of energy to be successful and you don't have spare energy to drain by focusing on failures. Each failure, if used properly, is just another step towards success – so build up your resilience to push forward.