In a business hub like Hong Kong, entrepreneurs often feel isolated and disadvantaged because of the limited networking opportunities and informational access that infrastructure corporations can provide. Women business owners, being a smaller group, are particularly affected by these issues.
Global studies show the following:
1. Women businesses make up only 5-10% of businesses globally.
2. Women make up only 19% of high growth entrepreneurs.
3. Women only receive 5% of venture capital investments.
With 47% of Hong Kong’s employment coming from SME, we know that women have some part to play and need support, just like everyone else, to Scale Up.
Elizabeth Thomson and Kimberly Whiley have been mentoring women business owners for 20+ years in Hong Kong, and formed The Women Entrepreneurs Network (WEN) in Dec 2015 to help women deal with the issues below. Here are some of their tips:
Set Goals & Know how to EXIT
Best way to scale up any business is to set a target that is reasonable and find solutions to achieve this.
In many cases, setting these goals are harder to set than achieving them since you might be too “CLOSE” to the business to see the needed next steps. This is where mentors, circles, and other groups can help you. You can start today and set a few goals down on paper. Next time when you go out for coffee with a business savvy friend, explore your ideas with them and see where that takes you. To start a business is to figure out how to EXIT. Goals need to be set along the way as milestones to reach the exit stage, and discussing your ideas with others will help you through this process.
Work FOR your business and not IN your business
When you make your to-do list every morning (if you haven’t been doing this, start tomorrow), make sure it is not a list of admin work. Contrary to people’s belief, handling emails is not a way to build a business. Admin work needs to be done but it should not take up your full day. Your business needs your daily attention for ways to SCALE UP and constant evaluation on how to be better. Schedule that time, and have someone else to do the admin work. RESULTS happen when you are focused on the goals, not the admin work .
REMEMBER you are worth every cent… and more….
Women are the last to think about themselves. We have noticed that in many cases, they are the last to take a salary in a business and the first to price their services below market rate. Never forget how important you are. START TODAY and think about yourself first – what your values and expectations are and how you could achieve them, rather than how to reduce them. You might need to be creative and offer something different from your competitor. That reasoning will help you realize and achieve the fees that you deserve, and be at your personal best.
About the Author: Kimberly Whiley (Tamco Holding Ltd) is the current Chairwoman at WEN. She co-founded the group and was a past president of the Women Business Owners Club (WBOC).
The goal of WEN’s events is to bring together like-minded women into a small circle where they can find solutions to pressing problems. An example would be finding the right legal advice; discovering new markets; and structuring their company for a future sale. Information on membership, events, as well as WEN Monthly Networking Drinks can be found on their Facebook page and Web Site.