It is crucial for women entrepreneurs not to compromise on their companies’ core values, to have a modicum of structure in their daily operations, and to learn how to delegate tasks, according to a leadership expert and investor. Wura Abiola said that meeting these needs would increase a woman entrepreneur’s chances of getting investment for her businesses.
Abiola, who is also an entrepreneur and academic, was speaking during an event hosted by the Small Enterprise Development Agency to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March. It celebrated and reflected on the strides that South Africa’s businesswomen have made under the theme, “Celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality.”
Abiola shared some tips on how women could get ahead. She encouraged female entrepreneurs to start their businesses in a manner that would not compromise their core values nor their businesses. “As women entrepreneurs, we are so eager to get an investment that we compromise on a lot of things that are dear to us as women, because we that we need to do what it takes to get an investor,” she said.
“Because of being willing to bend the rules a little, investors can take advantage of this. We must have a strong voice, and firmly define our businesses and enforce what it stands for so that investors know what we want. “If we compromise how we define what our businesses are, then the investors will mold it into their own creativity to suit their own objectives.”
Abiola also stressed that investors would give wide birth to businesses that were non-compliant. “What investors don’t want is for a business to have regulatory issues which get our businesses penalised,” she said. “We don’t have to hire, for example, a permanent accountant to handle our financial affairs. But it is also important to have resources put together for getting your finances in order.
“No matter how financially challenged we are, once we work with an investor’s money our books have to be up to scratch,” she said. Abiola also advised women to have a disciplined schedule and a way to manage their time.
“As women entrepreneurs, we have to balance out all requirements for our time and schedule, and this means using our time properly and not having to do things like check your daughter’s homework at midnight when it is due tomorrow, or giving feedback to a colleague or partner about a presentation a few hours before they do it,” she said.