New lessons are learned every day while building a business, and some harder than you’d like. The good thing about lessons is that you have a building block to improve, change, or stop doing whatever it is to get back on track.
We asked four executive women in the technology industry to share the most important lesson they learned while building a business. There are certainly some key takeaways that any female founder could use.
Ask For Help
Lisa Skeete Tatum, CEO of Landit, a platform that was created to increase the success and engagement of women in the workplace, said that your to-do list is going to get long and it’s important to ask for help.
“There are so many opportunities, possibilities and challenges when building a business that you don't seem to ever get to the end of your ‘to-do' list. Get comfortable with this reality and become a master at prioritizing, delegating and asking for help.
“The other lesson is the importance of being resilient. You will hear ‘no' a thousand times and from all directions. The road to building a company has its ups and downs. You need to be able to stay firm in your belief and vision, and unwavering in your commitment to succeed,” Tatum said.
Know What You Want
Namrata Ganatra, formerly with Facebook and PayPal, now CTO at Stockpile, the world’s first gift card for stock, said that sometimes you need to ask for what you want.
“When I started my career, I worked harder than anyone else and believed that promotions (title, salary, visibility etc.) will take care of itself if I make an impact. But it didn't take long for me to realize this early on that it doesn't work like this. You have to be in the driver seat for your career. You can't rely on anyone else. Be your own advocate for your promotion and don't be afraid to ask for opportunities that you deserve,” Ganatra said.
Karla Friede, CEO and Founder of Nvoicepay, a platform that transforms the massive and expensive effort that goes into paying suppliers into a simple and automated solution, said that perseverance and focus has served her well.
“I’ve learned three crucial lessons while building Nvoicepay with my co-founders. The first is that perseverance pays off. We started a tech company in the middle of the recession in Portland, OR. Not only is Portland not the tech capital of the US, but 2009 was also not an ideal time to start a company. We persevered though and I’m proud to say that we have a thriving payment automation software company in the Northwest.
“The second is that you need to focus all your energy on the customer. The customer should be at the heart of every product decision. Take the time to listen and understand their needs before you start building products. The final lesson is to work with people you trust but who do not think like you. My co-founders and I all bring different strengths to the table. We strive to hire people who bring a diverse way of thinking to our team,” Friede said.
The Importance of the Team
Kelly McNelis, founder and CEO of Women For One, a global platform with a unique approach to empowering women to unapologetically live a life they love, said that recruiting the best team can make or break the success of your business.
“Having the right team on board is everything. Pulling a powerful group of people together means recruiting those with skills and personalities that complement yours. A successful team must be composed of individuals with a strong work ethic, knowledge, curiosity, passion, and the capacity to be in creative mode while simultaneously knowing how to get things done. And honestly, you need people who are just really nice, mature, hard working, and easy to get along with. I’ve also discovered that if you don’t surround yourself with employees who know more than you in certain areas, you don’t get anywhere, and you certainly don’t give yourself an opportunity to grow,” McNelis said.