Posted by: ginalazenby | November 19, 2008

Inspiring women share challenges & successes

everywoman3One of the most inspiring sessions during the Everywoman event was hearing the experiences of three women and the enterprises that they ran. Geeta Sidhu-Robb had moved from a lifestyle with a private plane and a fleet of cars through bankruptcy and marriage breakdown to currently leading two successful enterprises. Her biggest challenges in her business were facing her fears and ideas about her limitations. She had to work out what made her tick, how to get past what was holding her back and getting over being too frightened to say the big word LEADERSHIP.
Sharon Winter shared how she had run the family construction business from the background while nursing her disabled daughter who needed care 24/7. When her husband was forced into a wheelchair with MS and then died, she had to step forward and show herself as the leader of the business in order to survive. She had to face the challenges of being a woman boss of a scaffolding company in a male-dominated industry and had to get her customers to trust HER. She then found that they appreciated dealing with a woman as she was able to win people over whereas men tended to have arguments. Her caring family-attitude and loyalty to her team has led her to increase sales in the harshest of economic times and triple turnover over the years.
Jan Smith, chairman of one of the UK’s leading independent companies in IT equipment refurbishment, said that the most challenging thing for her was believing in herself. Afraid to go out and ask for money she has self-funded all her business ventures.  Her greatest learning has been to recognise when she was no longer needed by her business and acknowledging the appropriate time to move on and use her skills elsewhere. Her brother is now running her company and achieved 40% growth since he came on board.

Some of the tips they offered:
• Be optimistic
• Not everyone is having a recession, plenty of opportunities exist
• Refuse to buy in to the idea of a recession and get on with business, focus
• Do 3 things everyday that generate business
• Always feel like you have achieved something
• Stick to your values
• Don’t cut back on trained staff, you’ll regret it
• Work out solutions with your staff on cutbacks and savings, work as a tight team during lean times
• If you borrow it you have to pay it back, look around your circle of family and friends to see who can help. They trust you
• You don’t always needs loads of money to start up and grow


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