A report published by the FSB has several interesting statistics about women in business.
The contribution of women owned business to the UK economy has been estimated to be approximately £105 bn, with an increase of 40% since 2012. The number of women owning businesses and employing people in their own businesses has also increased significantly. That being said, only one in five business owners is female despite the population of women in the UK being greater than that of men.
As an all-female business (though we have had men in the past), we have a special love for businesses run by women, or where women play a key role in leadership.
It isn’t easy. We know.
Here are a few things that we think are great ideas for female business leaders to implement.
Find a mentor.
There is wisdom to be gained from others, particularly others who have gone before you. Running a business is no different. Whether you work with a business coach, have a group of women to network with or a local business owner to bounce ideas off, we think it’s so important to have someone in your corner who knows what it’s like, and can help you brainstorm to problem solve. Many of you spend all day in your studios and offices, so it’s a great way to get out of the house as well.
Develop your skills.
A business is a living, growing thing. Okay, not quite sentient, but it requires nurture. Invest in yourself and your business by taking up opportunities to develop your skills. There are loads of classes, both online and offline that you can take. Need to learn how to pitch your product? Or do social media? There are masterclasses and webinars that you can do at your own pace even if you have a house full of boisterous children to contend with after business hours.
Apply for relevant awards.
Ladies, you need to celebrate your achievements. Several business awards are up for grabs each year for women running successful businesses. Our own Blue Patch Awards have a Female Business Leader award. Take a look at last year’s award winners, and keep an eye out for ones you can apply to. You deserve recognition.
Collaborate with your community
Wherever you can, share resources by collaborating. One of our key strengths as women is our ability to collaborate and find a way to build up our businesses together. Healthy competition is good, but collaborating to achieve greater things is even better, especially within your own local communities.
Pay it forward.
If you’re a business owner who has just completed one year of running your business – congratulations. It’s a milestone. You may think that it’s not a very big one, compared to businesses that have been running for 30 years, but it is. Guess what, you’re still one year ahead of someone who is just starting out, and you too have a contribution to make. People have probably invested in you during your journey. Try and do the same. Give advice and encouragement when you can. It may make a world of difference to a newbie.
As for us, it’s been 4 years and a few months of being Blue Patch. It’s not always been easy, and there has been a lot of trial and error, but we are that much further down the road, and still sometimes trying to take our own advice.
This week saw the start of #BStore19, the Blue Patch Sustainable Department Store popup in Manchester. Since we’re based in London, all our events to date have been London-based. For a business that is a collective of members from the length and breadth of this country, we felt it that is important to move away from being so London-centric.
If you’re in Manchester over the next few weeks, do stop in to see us. We’re at the Whitworth Art museum till the 31st of March and we would love to see you and show you some of the beautiful things created by our collective.