Women in businessIf Small Business is the economic engine for America, then women are the engine’s fuel.  Women are starting businesses at twice the rate of their male counterparts and recent research by Bank of America highlights that women are increasingly optimistic about their businesses’ futures.

So, with rising optimism, revenue and power amongst women in business, how can you leverage that momentum?  I recently moderated a Google Hangout presented by Bank of America, which included NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) Chair, Darla Beggs, Inc. Magazine’s Editor-at-Large Kimberly Weisul and Bank of America Small Business National Sales Executive Jill Calabrese Bain, and we generated fantastic insights on the state of women in business and tips for you to apply in your own business to increase your success.

You can watch the full event here, but some of the key takeaways included:

Embrace Your Differences as Strengths- Speaking in generalizations, while men put their self-confidence forward as a business differentiator, women focus on their creativity, empathy and ability to multi-task. Using these as your strengths can help set apart your business from the competition and allow you to lead effectively. 

Technology Drives Growth and Time Management– Technology, which has become very accessible and affordable for small business owners, is not only a way to streamline operations, but a great way to get precious minutes back in your day.  Look at areas in your business and your business day where you can make better use of technology. 

Create and Emphasize a Personal Brand- A personal brand can help you take your business to the next level.  Not only does standing for something set you apart from competitors, giving you visibility, it can also add to your credibility.  You can get an edge by enhancing your status as an expert because everyone wants to hire the person that wrote the article over the one who has read the article. 

Help is Not a Four-Letter Word…- Women are often afraid to ask for help, fearing it will make them look weak.  But seeking help is truly a strength in business.  Surround yourself with fantastic advisors who can help you see the forest when you are a little too close to the trees.

Work Life Balance is a Myth- It’s a continual struggle to take care of your business, your family and yourself. Put aside your notions about what balance is and focus on prioritizing what’s most important and urgent at that time.  At the end of the day, don’t worry about chasing balance—build the business that suits you and your goals and objectives, and don’t focus too much on what others are doing. 

Build Relationships with a Variety of Mentors- Having people around you who have been there, done that can help you avoid time consuming and costly mistakes and also help you find a quicker route to growth.  Seek very specific, limited advice as you build up relationships and source that advice from a variety of people to give yourself the power of extra expertise and differing perspectives.

You can get more details on these tips and some additional tactics to help you gain even more momentum in your own business by watching the 30 minute video of the event.  Make sure to make the time to do this and pursue other strategic endeavors where you can work on your business, not just in it. It’s worth investing a half hour of your time to take your business to the next level!