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International Women’s Day: Business advice by women, for women

8th March 2016 marked International Women’s Day, where women around the world and from all walks of life are commended for their achievements and efforts towards equality.

This year, to commemorate the day, dot2dot nursery insurance and its founder and director, Jackie Hyde, is celebrated businesswomen across the country.

They have spoken to female entrepreneurs from a variety of industries to bring four pieces of business advice to women, from women who have been there and done it. Read on to discover their keys to success...

1) Your time is precious, so prioritise ruthlessly

Being able to prioritise tasks and remain organised was the main piece of advice that was most strongly advocated by the businesswomen that we spoke to. Whether you’re starting your own business or looking to advance your career, being able to plan in advance and stick to a schedule is a skill that must be practiced and perfected.

Claire Young, managing director of The Forge Public Relations, said, “Prioritise ruthlessly. Have a [list of] ‘must do’ and ‘nice to do’ things each day, but don’t feel like a failure if you don’t get through it all. Always plan the following day - work and other things you need to do - the evening before. Try not to get distracted, and delegate.”

Hilary Frohlich, owner and CEO of Neat PR, added planning ahead is the best way to stay ahead: “Stay organised and be realistic, think ahead and think about what is coming up. If you have time earlier in the month use it wisely to help free up time later on.”

2) How to keep the balance

The work-life balance is something that we all seem to struggle with, whether you run your own business or not. But the ‘life’ side of the scale is something that needs just as much attention as the ‘work’ side, particularly when it comes to family and finding time to destress from a hard day of work.

Owner of School Speakers, Claire Young, commented, “Be brutally honest with yourself about what is important to you and prioritise your time accordingly - and stick to it!”

Farida Gibbs, founder and CEO of Gibbs S3, said, “There are only so many hours in the day. Although work takes up most of our time, it is vital that people maintain a healthy work-life balance. This will ensure individuals are motivated and achieve more fulfilment from their careers. The balance goes hand-in-hand, as overworking can result in your becoming burnt out, preventing you from being able to achieve your full potential. Business leaders should appreciate this and understand that longer hours don’t necessarily increase productivity.”

3) Surround yourself with like-minded people

Other people make for incredible inspiration, particularly in business. You can pick up fantastic habits from those around you, and other entrepreneurs can serve as great sounding boards for your ideas.

Jackie Hyde, director of Stanmore Insurance Brokers and dot2dot, commented, “Positive role models, whether male or female, are vital. I am also an advocate of reading good quality books about business and in particular positive ways to believe in your ability to succeed or overcome adversity. There are lots of these books available and they can give you great tips or sometimes just reinforce that you are doing a good job.”

Maxine Mackintosh, managing director of HealthTech Women, added, “Surround yourself with positive, ambitious and supportive people. As you strike out on your own and start to build your own career, meet those magnetic and engaging people and bask in their aura. Their energy, enthusiasm and confidence is usually contagious. Once you come across enough of these people, they will each have a small effect on your trajectory, and you will feel sufficiently inspired to carve out your own path.”

4) It’s okay to fail as long as you learn

Failures are part of life. If you don’t fail, you don’t learn. If you don’t learn, you’ll never change. So many people are kept down when they trip up and fall, no matter what industry they work in, but the real failure comes when you give up. The final piece of advice from the women we spoke to was to never give up, no matter what.

Young concluded: “The most important thing, above all, is that you just have a go. The worst that could happen is that things don’t work out, but you will learn from it and move forward having learnt and [will be] in a better place.”

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