Women running a business quickly realize all the details that need to be addressed on a regular basis. Everything from prioritizing, wearing multiple hats, keeping your sanity when the going gets tough and staying organized through it all, are just some of the challenges faced.
Eco-Friendly designer Robin Wilson, who is president and CEO of Robin Wilson Home, and has a hypoallergenic bedding line at Bed Bath and Beyond stores, was named one of New York’s Top 50 Power Women by The New York Post, and has worked with an impressive list of clients that include Bill Clinton, The Good Housekeeping Show House and The White House Fellows Organization.
As a very successful entrepreneur and small business owner who now juggles a new family (recently married and had her first child at age 42), Wilson offers these 10 tips to women who want to make it big in business:
1. Use technology. Consider a smartphone, SKYPE, tablet computer or programs that let you file/ share on the run. My days have me running around the city to meet with clients, and I couldn’t do my job without technology.
2. Hire outside experts as consultants. Don’t keep a heavy payroll which can increase operational costs; consider hiring a consultant for bookkeeper, social media, computer technology and graphic design.
3. Manage cash flow. Watch your income on a daily basis until you fully understand the revenue and expenses; make sure your bookkeeper is your partner and does not just tell you “everything is handled.” know how to review Quickbooks and feel free to ask questions, as it is your money.
4. Delegate. Assign a task and don’t micromanage; allow your team to rise to the highest potential and if they cannot handle, then take time to understand why or make a transition.
5. Communicate. Make sure that you have conversations with your team on a regular basis that outline your goals and ensure that you have buy-in and dialogue to ensure your ideas are refined and can be executed efficiently without micro-management.
6. Organize. Have a plan, coordinate a schedule, ensure you know the budget and outline details before you start a project so that you can allocate your time properly.
7. Review email only 3 times a day. Do not make email redirect your day unless it is a crisis in progress. Check your email when you arrive at 9:00am, at noon and at 3pm and try to respond immediately to those things that are easy, while saving those items requiring more thought. Delete ads/spam immediately so it is not clogging up your mailbox and request to be removed from emails that are not important.
8. Manage the supply closet. Until I put a lock on the cabinet, we were spending 3x the amount for office supplies – and I learned later that some people were using our supplies for their home offices or school supplies. It is an easy cost center that can get away from you costing thousands annually.
9. Manage your meetings and calls. Always give yourself a chance to breathe between calls or meetings – at least 15-30 minutes so that you can collect your thoughts and maintain a sharp focus.
10. Dress comfortably. Wear heels to meetings but feel comfortable wearing flats around the office most of the day, as your comfort may help maintain your focus.