Are you truly loving what you do as well as loving the adventure of managing and running your own business? Doing what you love and knowing what you love to do is a good start, but it won't transpire into a successful business unless you are a business savvy entrepreneur.
Getting any business off the ground takes a lot of energy and commitment. That's why it's crucial that you know how to mix business with pleasure (what you love to do) successfully. As an entrepreneur, you are responsible for making key business and financial decisions. The decisions are endless and they will not go away. In fact, they will get more complex as you continue to grow and expand. To give your business venture the best shot at surviving long-term, you need to be business savvy.
Women who love what they do and do it because it brings them joy are the ones who will be successful and make money at it. Sounds cliché, yes? No, it's not. True success does not occur unless you are doing what brings you joy. So, why do too many entrepreneurs fail, even though they choose to do what they love? Their main problem is their inability to manage their business wisely- they were not able to mix business with pleasure successfully.
A sustainable and generative business is not built on genius, or better education or pure luck. Rather, it is generated by your capacity to manage your business wisely and with strategic awareness. To be profitable and oriented towards new and different possibilities you have to be able to mix business with pleasure (what you love to do) successfully. And, most important you must be willing to acknowledge that being business savvy is not only possible, it is a real part of your business future.
As much as you may not want to believe it, your ability to mix business with pleasure successfully is the lifeblood of your business. Without it, your business will come to a halt. This is why being business savvy matters so much. Whether you have already operating a super successful business or are still working towards it, your ability to mix business and pleasure successfully is essential for personal effectiveness, peace of mind and business success. Unfortunately, too many women entrepreneurs do not set a priority to become business savvy until their business is in crisis, which, in most cases, is too late. Not getting around to becoming business savvy will cost you in the long run.
You can alter your business by altering your choices.
The ability to mix business with pleasure successfully is indeed the great power of being in business for yourself. You can continue to not educate yourself about what it would take to mix business with pleasure successfully and ignore the underlying business realities. Or, you can make a different choice to become aware of what you need to know in order to create a strong foundation from which to grow your business and create a different financial reality. You can alter your business by altering your choices. If you don't know anything about business strategy, then most of your results you might achieve will be due to luck, and a lot of that luck can be bad.
What are your targets?
Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. That's why it's important for any women who want to start a business to have a "sense of excitement" about managing the business. You need to know what you would like to create and your priorities, and you need to expand your awareness to be ready to receive new and different possibilities.
Unlimited possibilities to generate a thriving business are present every moment of every day of the week. The question is, are you ready and willing to receive and benefit from them? Every waking and sleeping moment should be engaged by your vision of new and different possibilities. Take a moment to ask yourself:
- What am I choosing to create as a business and life?
- What is my target?
- Am I truly loving what I do as well as loving the adventure of managing and running my own business?
- Do I believe that it is truly possible for me to mix business with pleasure successfully?
Develop your business strategy
The reality is that any woman can acquire the knowledge to become business savvy. It starts with making a choice to discover where you are and what you would like to create and then develop your business strategy by outlining the key priorities of your business into the future.
The strategy must provide the details of your business, including the services you offer….
- What do you want to achieve?
- What does your business stand for?
- How does your business differ from the competition?
- Do you have financial projections and marketing strategies?
- What specific objectives do you want to achieve – both short and long-term?
To mix business with pleasure successfully, it is important to be aware of your money situation. It is essential to know what it costs you to live the life you desire and to run your business, so you can see what kind of money will be required to be generated by your business.
- Do you have a clear picture of your business and your personal financial position?
- Do you have a firm grasp on all of the financial matters in your personal life and in your business?
- Is your business healthy enough to support you as the founder? This is about looking at how things really are, instead of how you would like them to be.
The purpose of a business is to create, both create profit and to create more in your life. The reality is your business must be able to support you and your lifestyle. Are you aware of how much will the business need to generate to pay you, so that you could create the life and the financial reality you desire? Do you have an exact figure for what it costs you to run your business and to live your life?
Many women entrepreneurs are vague about how much revenue they generate each year. The question is - do you generate enough revenue to meet basic living requirements and to cover your bills, food and other miscellaneous living expenses. Your income needs will depend on your lifestyle choices, your living expenses, financial situation, and comfort level.
The information that is crucial here is the amount of revenue you would need as income in order to have your quintessential lifestyle. Once you know precisely how much money you need to create the life you desire, you will be able to move from just wishing or dreaming to the space of physically actualizing it with ease. When you are aware of what it truly is, then you can expand it or change it. You are the creator source of your own financial reality and you certainly don't have to be a victim to any circumstances. You can make the changes in your reality that will allow you to create a different financial reality.
I walk into a room full of men and I know exactly what they're thinking: "What does she know about whisky?"
I know this because many men have asked me that same question from the moment I started my career in spirits a decade ago.
In a male-dominated industry, I realized early on that I would always have to work harder than my male counterparts to prove my credibility, ability and knowledge in order to earn the trust of leadership stakeholders, coworkers, vendors and even consumers of our products. I am no stranger to hard work and appreciate that everyone needs to prove their worth when starting any career or role. What struck me however, was how the recognition and opportunities seemed to differ between genders. Women usually had to prove themselves before they were accepted and promoted ("do the work first and earn it"), whereas men often were more easily accepted and promoted on future potential. It seemed like their credibility was automatically and immediately assumed. Regardless of the challenges and adversity I faced, my focus was on proving my worth within the industry, and I know many other women were doing the same.
Thankfully, the industry has advanced in the last few years since those first uncomfortable meetings. The rooms I walk into are no longer filled with just men, and perceptions are starting to change significantly. There are more women than ever before making, educating, selling, marketing and conceptualizing whiskies and spirits of all kinds. Times are changing for the better and it's benefitting the industry overall, which is exciting to see.
For me, starting a career in the spirits business was a happy accident. Before spirits, I had worked in the hospitality industry and on the creative agency side. That background just happened to be what a spirits company was looking for at the time and thus began my journey in the industry. I was lucky that my gender did not play a deciding role in the hiring process, as I know that might not have been the case for everyone at that time.
Now, ten plus years later, I am fortunate to work for and lead one of the most renowned and prestigious Whisky brands in the world.. What was once an accident now feels like my destiny. The talent and skill that goes into the whisky-making process is what inspired me to come back and live and breathe those brands as if they were my own. It gave me a deep understanding and appreciation of an industry that although quite large, still has an incredible amount of handmade qualities and a specific and meticulous craft I have not seen in any other industry before. Of course, my journey has not been without challenges, but those obstacles have only continued to light my passion for the industry.
The good news is, we're on the right track. When you look at how many females hold roles in the spirits industry today compared to what it looked like 15 years ago, there has been a significant increase in both the number of women working and the types of roles women are hired for. From whisky makers and distillers to brand ambassadors and brand marketers, we're seeing more women in positions of influence and more spirits companies willing to stand up and provide a platform for women to make an impact. Many would likely be surprised to learn that one of our team's Whisky Makers is a woman. They might even be more surprised to learn that women, with a heightened sense of smell compared to our male counterparts, might actually be a better fit for the role! We're nowhere near equality, but the numbers are certainly improving.
It was recently reported by the Distilled Spirits Council that women today represent a large percentage of whisky drinkers and that has helped drive U.S. sales of distilled spirits to a record high in 2017. Today, women represent about 37% of the whisky drinkers in the United States, which is a large increase compared to the 1990s when a mere 15% of whisky drinkers were women. As for what's causing this change? I believe it's a mix of the acceptance of women to hold roles within the spirits industry partnered with thoughtful programs and initiatives to engage with female consumers.
While whisky was previously known for being a man's drink, reserved for after-dinner cigars behind closed doors, it is now out in the open and accessible for women to learn about and enjoy too.
What was once subculture is now becoming the norm and women are really breaking through and grabbing coveted roles in the spirits business. That said, it's up to the industry as a whole to continue to push it forward. When you work for a company that values diversity, you're afforded the opportunity to be who you are and let that benefit your business. Working under the model that the best brand initiatives come from passionate groups of people with diverse backgrounds, we are able to offer different points of view and challenge our full team to bring their best work forward, which in turn creates better experiences for our audience. We must continue to diversify the industry and break against the status quo if we really want to continue evolving.
While we've made great strides as an industry, there is still a lot of work to be done. To make a change and finally achieve gender equality in the workplace, both men and women need to stand behind the cause as we are better collectively as a balanced industry. We have proved that we have the ability to not only meet the bar, but to also raise it - now we just need everyone else to catch up.