The number of women-owned business is rapidly growing, at 2.5 times faster than the national average, resulting in 114 percent more women-owned businesses in the U.S. than 20 years ago.
For every founder, making mistakes is inevitable but it’s how you recover and use those stumbles to course correct that can mean the difference between success or failure. So how do you chart a course that has the best chance of success? Founders can avoid some of the common pitfalls by learning from the errors of others, and surrounding themselves with both mentors and peers who can share some of their own wisdom and learnings.
Below is advice from three entrepreneurs who took wrong turns but ultimately built stronger businesses as a result.
Find Your Niche
Digital entrepreneur Marie Forleo had several failed attempts at starting businesses until she found her niche in the coaching industry. She eventually gained momentum, catching the attention of Oprah Winfrey, who named her one of the premier thought leaders of the next generation. Her TV show MarieTV, now airs weekly and has become a great resource for other entrepreneurs in the digital space.
Forleo is a great example of why failure doesn’t have to mean the end. So many founders ‘pivot’ until they find the approach and business model that works best for them.
Sabah Ismail Al-Haidous is the CEO of Silatech Foundation, an organization driving innovative education initiatives for young women in Qatar and neighboring regions.
Al-Haidous began by focusing her efforts on promoting Silatech’s mission via local government but she quickly learned that she needed to be more flexible and widen her circle of partners.
Al-Haidous advises all aspiring entrepreneurs to be open to change, and to find creative ways to build both awareness and relationships.
Delegate And Deputize
You’ve probably heard of Care.com, the go-to business for parents looking for trusted babysitters. Founder and chairwoman Shelia Marcelo came to the idea to solve her own challenges finding affordable childcare as a working mother. Care.com launched in 2006, and now serves more than 27 million people across 20 countries. It has since expanded into other housekeeping services such as maid service, senior care and pet caregivers.
With expansion and diversification, Marcelo ultimately realized that she couldn’t do it alone and that she needed others in positions of power to help drive innovation and growth. She strongly recommends that founders let go of the reigns and identify strong leaders they can rely on, early on in the process.