5 Business Success Tips for Businesswomen

Nigerian SMEs have a high mortality rate, with almost 80% mortality rate over 5 years according to United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). The odds are more stacked against women entrepreneurs due to the diverse sociocultural barriers they face. However, as awareness grows about the barriers to women’s inclusion and the government creates different policy interventions, there has never been a better time to be a businesswoman. 

Indeed, women can build profitable businesses that last, if they can follow some of these successful tips. 

Build your self confidence

Research shows that in order to apply for a job women feel they need to meet 100% of the criteria while men will apply even if they meet only 40% of the requirements. This is a confidence issue. Many women, especially women who live in societies where gender roles confine women to defer to men for decision making, have difficulty taking charge of their financial lives and making bold decisions. Building up self confidence is perhaps the most important determinant of business success for female entrepreneurs. Building a successful business is not just about making money. It requires complex decision making on getting loans, networking, entering partnerships, knowing when to expand, etc. Anyone who struggles to with self confidence will make poor decisions during business emergencies (which are inevitable in business). 

Get an education

Being educated has several obvious benefits. It prepares you for formal employment. Most business leaders start off as employees, learn the business, build industry relationships and then move out on their own. So investing in your formal education is a long term strategy to secure business success. But there are other indirect benefits of getting an education. In formal institutions, people tend to make long term friendships. Most founders of successful companies in Nigeria met their business partners while in the higher institution. School also gives you an avenue to interact with different people from different backgrounds which broadens your mind, and enlarges your worldview; essential elements for business success. 

Know your industry 

Because of the many barriers women face, many funds, grants and interventions have been created to support female entrepreneurs. But you have to understand your industry and the ways to access these opportunities. There are women struggling with basic business practices like bookkeeping, branding and marketing, communication, leadership, etc. Today, there are many programs targeting women entrepreneurs to equip them with these skills and training. But you have to know where the opportunities are and the requirements.   


Embrace mentorship opportunities. In a mentorship relationship, a more experienced business person hands down knowledge to someone who’s not so knowledgeable. It is one of the most efficient ways to leapfrog your business and avoid business pitfalls. Since women face many social barriers to success, it is important for you to have access to people who have gone ahead of you in your business or industry and can show you where the opportunities and dangers are. Good mentors can also increase your network. 

Use Technology

Female entrepreneurs not only run their businesses, but they are also burdened with home care – cooking, cleaning, child care etc. This means time is a scarce resource. Learning how to use technology to manage your time, tasks, meetings and appointments, etc is a good strategy to maximise your time. For example, rather than going to the bank to withdraw money, you can use a neighbourhood mobile money agent to make your withdrawal. You can also automate your repetitive tasks like paying your bills, employees etc. There are thousands of apps available, so reaching out to your friends to know which ones they use and the ways they leverage them can also improve your productivity. 

Running a business is a difficult task for anyone. But women are more disadvantaged than any other group. But with these success tips, you are better positioned to build a profitable business.


Posted on

February 17, 2023