#SWAAYthenarrative

Women Entrepreneurs: From Home To Office

Career

Women are coming together in support of equality and empowerment at home and in the workplace. The recent rise of girl power has been harnessed by many women-led enterprises to encourage and show young girls that they can be anything they want to be!


Did you ever imagine that you could be part of this movement? Being a female entrepreneur can be lonely, cut-throat, stressful and demotivating at times, but once you learn to navigate the process and realise your worth in the marketplace – great things can happen. Before you decide to move offices, you should ensure that you have a budget to do so, as well as a plan that you can bring to life with the money that you have. A good value Downtown Miami office space can make a big difference between a workspace that is located in a place that doesn't get as much attention, and a Miami district that is full of life. If you feel like you want to attract new customers, the ideal way to do so is to move to a place that has people that will be interested in your company and what you can offer

There is no lack of talent or appetite preventing women from entering the business world as leaders or board members. Rather it is the patriarchy and old school mentality of the baby-boomers that place unnecessary obstacles in the way of aspiring young women. Being a woman in business or trying to start a new venture as a female leader is hard. Very hard.

The issues around equality and empowerment must be addressed and corrected in order for the world to evolve and grow in a positive direction. The fact that we have the need for these sorts of discussions can be disheartening, but it has to be done and changes have to be made. The trick is to keep having the conversation and keep pushing for change in order to revolutionise an outdated business model designed to benefit only men in the working world.

You can't, however, wait for change; you must be the change and forge your way into the world of business and entrepreneurship. If you have started a business at home and have become so successful that you need to expand, don't fret, you have a lot of support around you. You only need to know where to look.

The Stats

According to Mastercard, 25.8% of business owners in the UK are women. Statista shows that in women starting their own businesses, a 72% increase occurred between 2000 and 2016, with female entrepreneurs generating 18,000 jobs in 2015, adding to economic growth and GDP.

Looking at these stats, one can see how significant women are to society and the economy. With this in mind, consider hiring women from diverse backgrounds to take your business from start-up to FTSE listed. Hiring women only is a good human capital model to encourage the model of equality and empowerment within the business world.

The untapped potential of female entrepreneurship can be a significant boost for the UK economy and needs more funding and attention to bloom. 'RBS has calculated that boosting female entrepreneurship could deliver approximately £60B extra to the UK economy,' according to Prowess. This astronomical figure alone should be enough motivation for leaders and governments to invest time and money into female entrepreneurship.

Funding For Growth

Accessing funding for businesses is still a stumbling block for women. Start-ups are especially difficult to finance with a female-only board. Research has shown that a women-only board is four times less likely to qualify for funding than one made up of men. Besides appearing on an episode of Dragon's Den, what other financial opportunities exist for women wanting to make their mark in the world of entrepreneurship?

Fortunately, there are funding opportunities and business grants available for women to take their business to the next level. The difference between a business grant and a loan is that the grant is given with the specific purpose of investment into the business. A loan must be paid back with interest over a specific period of time. In essence, funding is given, and a loan is money that is lent.

If you are considering approaching a bank, a start-up or business loan can be an answer to your financial needs. Start-up loans have also been popular of late which offers the opportunity to expand and grow your business with interest rates tailored to your needs.

Office Space For Employees

Finding appropriate office space will depend on what your business needs and budget are. Will you be needing an office type set-up, warehousing or manufacturing space? The best way to find office space is to speak to experts in fit-out, design, refurbishment, and furniture solutions first and then find office space to house your business.

If you are in Scotland, finding an office to rent in Glasgow can be daunting but also exciting as Glasgow is one of the top 15 cities in the UK for start-up and small business growth in the UK. Amos Beech offers refurbishment and re-design of office spaces all over the city at an affordable rate to suit your business needs.

If you find a space which you think is suitable for your business needs in Glasgow, try incorporating sustainable work processes and materials, which will pay off in the long run. Not only will you be a savvy businesswoman but an eco-conscious one too!

Stick to your budget and keep the end goal in sight. Getting your business up and running is a priority so at times just a simple coat of paint and upcycled office furniture used in clever ways may be just what you need.

Creating an office space with your business vision and mission in mind should accommodate your employees too. Consult with an HR professional to ensure that your contracts and workspace are all above board and compliant.

When hiring women, consider their needs – working remotely when they are needed at home could be a great perk! Create an environment and culture of understanding and empowering women which speaks back to your business strategy. Hiring diverse women can be beneficial for innovation, collaboration and cultivating a female entrepreneur-rich culture.

Networking

Gaining momentum or traction on female-led businesses can be achieved by networking with people or industries that are passionate about female-led enterprises locally and globally. Attending or hosting networking events at least annually provides the opportunity to grow your business by having the right conversations with the right people.

Keeping your finger on the pulse of entrepreneurship and women in business is achieved by subscribing to or reading publications that promote and understand the plight of a businesswoman. Books and talks on women empowerment are available at the click of a button. Simply YouTube or Google these keywords to stay up to speed on what is happening within the world of girl power.

Certain programs or events also allow the opportunity to not only network but mentor young girls and ladies in achieving their potential.

Initiatives such as Business Women Scotland Awards, showcase women-led businesses and place them in the spotlight. Not only do they have categories that highlight and celebrate women entrepreneurs, but they support a charity initiative for women. Proceeds from their evening soiree go towards a charity which provides interviewing skills and clothing for women in need.

Social Media

Social media is a powerhouse for women in business, as the organic reach and potential to promote women-led enterprises is enormous. This is partly due to the fact that the majority of active social media users are in fact, female. Creating awareness of the gender funding gap for female entrepreneurs can be done on social media platforms and attract investors

Women are natural communicators and social media provides the platform for engagement with like-minded individuals and companies which can add value to your company. Marketing and networking on social media can be done without cost, which makes it perfect for a start-up.

Women can engage with thought leaders and business minds to foster relationships that can be instrumental to business growth and awareness. Having a solid presence on social media can also establish women entrepreneurs as thought leaders in the business world too. Leveraging the reach of social media is important in creating awareness around equality and inclusion.

Defy Stereotypes

Unfortunately, when starting a business, there will be trying circumstances as most female entrepreneurs continually have to defy stereotypes to be taken seriously. Sexist tendencies still dominate the business world and women have had to accept that proving themselves to male counterparts or leaders is par for the course.

Constant education and lobbying for equality are needed to bridge the gender pay gap and support equality. When starting out in the world of business as a female, accept that you will be a guiding light and a role model in the industry. Take this responsibility seriously and help set the standard for women in business. Celebrate every victory, no matter how small, and promote those around you who are disrupting the status quo for female kind.

As exhausting and trying as this can be, there is light at the end of the macho tunnel. Turning to mentors, role models or peers for support can be a proper boost when fighting for equality has got you demotivated. It helps to remember that you are not alone, that there are many more women (and men) fighting the same fight, raising the bar and achieving their business goals. Find these people, build a rapport with them, and use them as a sounding board from time to time.

5 Min Read
Self

The Psychological Power Of Clothes

She walks into a room ready for her presentation. She wants to land this new client and has worked weeks on it. She heads to the 35th floor of the tallest building on the block knowing she has documentation that is sure to impress. The conference room has a 20-foot long table surrounded by executives in blue suits, button-down shirts, pencil skirts, and blazers.

At this point, she realizes she didn't take into consideration the other important component of her presentation... she is not dressed appropriately.

Is it true that there is power in clothing? Can an incredible outfit increase your confidence and add validity to your brand? Will you perform your job better or feel more empowered? Will first impressions of you be more positive?

For me, the answer is a resounding yes. I believe that clothing can greatly impact first impressions and make a lasting impact on anyone you interact with. Like it or not, people will judge you on how you look and they will make both conscious and subconscious decisions about you based on what you're wearing… Is she trustworthy? Is she the expert we need? Will she fit in our corporate culture?

Can an incredible outfit increase your confidence and add validity to your brand? Will you perform your job better or feel more empowered? Will first impressions of you be more positive? For me, the answer is a resounding yes.

After all, if you were hiring a financial advisor, and one walked in with a pair of jeans and the other in a pair of trousers and blazer, who would you trust with your money? Even if you don't realize what you're doing when you interact with people, there may be more going on beneath the surface. It's something to think about for sure.

Here's another example, let's say you want to hire a party planner for an event. You meet with the first candidate, and she is wearing a wrinkled shirt and her fingernails are chipping and half-painted. Whereas candidate number two walks in and has on a pencil skirt, pumps, and silk blouse. Who do you think would pay more attention to the details associated with your party?

In 2019, WWD wrote about the psychological effects clothing has on a person:

It is said that clothing is what makes and defines a person. What you wear tells others what you are and makes a statement about your taste, character and individuality. It gives an insight into your nature, whether you are casual or formal, playful or serious, cool or just composed. Whether you are attending a job interview, out on a date or just strutting by the beach, your apparel tells us so much about you at a simple glance.

We know that it takes 5-7 seconds for a person to subconsciously form an opinion about you. Our eyes take in how you look; after all, what you're wearing will influence how you are perceived. How do you want to be perceived to your audience, your clients, and in your working industry?

How do you want to be perceived to your audience, your clients, and in your working industry?

And it goes way beyond the external. There is scientific data that shows how an individual feels differently when dressed in a variety of styles. In an article from Research Gate, they found that, "Fashion choices can affect both self-image, the impression that you convey to others and in turn, the way in which people behave towards you."

Have you ever heard of the term "enclothed cognition"? It refers to the phenomenon in which people tend to adopt the traits and properties they associate with the clothes they wear. In a study on the psychology of clothing, that same article as above reports that, "Participants judged women to be more forceful in job interviews and were more likely to recommend them for hiring when they were dressed in a more masculine style compared with a more feminine style," and that "Both men and women are attracted to stylish clothing that fits them well, makes them feel well-dressed and looks current."

On some level, we may all agree with that statement.

Naturally, as a personal stylist, I am a true believer in the power of clothes. I have seen my clients' exhilaration as they take in their transformation, brought about by an outfit, a new style, and clothes that look incredible on them. I have also witnessed physical changes like their facial expressions, huge smiles, laughter, sparkling eyes, and even a change in the way they walk. It's almost like there has been a shift in attitude toward their inner beauty, which has increased because they feel and look amazing and confident.

Although most of us are no longer strutting our way to the boardroom, the psycholigcal power of clothing is still necessary and relevant, especially now that we're confined to our home offices. Most of us are on virtual calls or live streaming from our computer, and it's easy to not prep as much for your "waist-up" meetings. But, like it or not, you should look on-brand, and put together clothes that are relevant for your industry. Not only will your peers perceieve you as more professional and more put-together, but I am sure you will also feel better, be more alert, and have more energy.

Most of us are on virtual calls or live streaming from our computer, and it's easy to not prep as much for your "waist-up" meetings. But, like it or not, you should look on-brand, and put together clothes that are relevant for your industry.

I'm not saying you need to look like a superstar every second of every day. However, I want you to think about the positive impact well-fitting, stylish clothes can have on both others' perceptions of you as well as your inner-confidence and intrinsic behavior.