Achieving economic independence for women has been at the core of the vision for gender equality across the globe. It is about expanding the capacity of women to make genuine choices about their lives (through) recognising their work as valuable ; both economically and socially.
There is also a link between domestic violence and economic independence; as unemployed women are over four times more likely to be victims of domestic violence. What is even worse is that the poorer a woman is,the less likely she is to have the means to get out and support her kids alone. Even women in ‘Upper class’ abusive relationships stay longer for economical reasons eg lifestyle and private tuition for their children.
How about Polygamy? Which has been a subject of hot debate on this blog recently; truth be told, one of the key reasons a woman will choose to be a second wife in the low socio economic group is financial dependency and lack of Education; and in the higher group because they do not want to be in a relationship where the man will rely on them. Mmm.
Currently, women working full time earn 16% less than men who are working same hours. Gender pay gap is even greater when women work part time, with women earning 13% what men earn overall. More women tend to work part time to in effort to achieve work, life and family balance.
So, what if you have a choice, chance or thought about starting your own Business? Either to supplement income or start outright
I recently met up with Temi Koleowo of Business steps4Women and Business first steps that helps and support women (primarily, and everyone in general) in turning such ideas into successful and sustainable Ventures. Here is what she has to say
About Temi Koleowo
Temi Koleowo is the director of Business First Step and Business Steps 4 Women. She joined the self-employment route determined to maximise what she is passion about – helping people package their passion and start viable ventures. She started Business First Steps, a company that helps people package their business ideas into viable products and services. To date she has worked with numerous people and helped them turn their ideas and passion into viable businesses.
Tell us about BS4W- How it all started
Business Steps 4 Women is one of my dreams come true. After I had started BFS, I realised that most of my clients were women, and there was a gap in the market to provide an offline forum for BME women to meet up to learn and share business strategies over breakfast. The thought gave birth to Business Steps 4 Women. We currently meet in Woolwich – South East London. The networking group has been running for over a year and is now expanding into other territories – we start the Harrow group on the 4th of June.
How does your company serve the African Diaspora?
Most of our meetups attendees are Africans in Diaspora. I believe as an African woman, I am able to identify the challenges we face when starting or growing a business. I have tailored the networking group to accommodate the varied needs of the aspiring and existing business woman – including the African woman. The group ensures they find the motivation and support they need own and pursue their business dreams.
In your experience; what keeps women from achieving their full potential in Business and how can these be addressed?
In my opinion, one of the key factors that affect us in achieving our full potential is the willingness to stay in our comfort zone. Some of us do not want to step out into the unknown and try something different. I believe forums such as BS4W group helps address the issue. Many of the women who come to our meetup are not in business but through interaction with business owners in the group, they are inspired to be more and actually step out and achieve their business start-up goals.
On Being Ready for success ~ how does one know?
Success is progressive, and preparation is required to achieve success in our businesses. At every stage of our lives, there will always be a bigger goal we want to achieve. I would advice that we should always embrace growth as growth brings success.
Sustenance tends to be a Major problem faced by BME in Business (from my observation) what are your thoughts and advice to ensure success and longevity?
One of my favourite motto is consistency is the key to success. I discovered that many people find it difficult to consistently pursue a goal. They are therefore unable to keep on doing what is required to achieve business success and longevity. We live in a ‘microwave’ age where we want to plant our seed and harvest the fruit all in one go – with no respect for time. Time is a huge factor in business growth and we just need to consistently water the seeds we sow to achieve business longevity.
One challenge I have also discovered is the inability to apply the right tools and resources required to build a sustainable business. A business cannot survive without creating a foundation based on some basic business principles. Another key factor is using the right tools and strategies to maximise the business’ potential.
How do you juggle family and work, any advice for mothers?
Advice to mothers – create a realistic plan. If you can only give two hours a day, work with that. Do not create an eight hour to-do-list and face a life of stress – chasing your tail. Account for all your hours in the day – allocate time to tasks. I know this might sound rigid, but it is needful if we want to run successful businesses.
Planning ahead is extremely important to me; I plan my week ahead and create my to-do-list, mark them in order of priority, allocate a time to each task and get on with it. Some days, I am able to clear my to-do-list and some days I know it is going to be an uphill struggle to get through half of it. I do not kick myself when things do not go according to plan; I just re—strategise and keep moving forward. The best thing about owing a business is being able to adapt your work hours around your lifestyle. I work in between school run and a few more hours when my family is in bed – a few nights a week.
There are also days when I know I will have to work flat-out to get a job done, but I try and keep that to a minimum. I am also a firm believer of automating, delegating and outsourcing (ADO) – it has kept me sane as a business owner.
I know from experience that you are passionate about supporting people and women in particular to be the Best they can; so tell us about your forthcoming Package your passion ‘Bootcamp’.
The Bootcamp is put together to help those who want to stat living a life of purpose (men and women) discover what they are passionate about and learn how to package it into viable products and services fit for the marketplace.
My passion is to help people package what they are passionate about and start doing what they truly love. I love developing new products and services and help people discover their life purpose through their life components.
What do you have to say to anyone planning to start a Business?
Starting a business is an exciting journey, and there is great fulfilment to be found in seeing one’s idea come alive as products or services. If anyone is thinking of starting a business they should carry out a personal SWOT analysis to identify individual areas of strengths. Secondly, analyse your talent, knowledge, interests and what you are passionate about. I believe within those components lies the secret of a great business idea. Research is also extremely essential and so is ensuring your idea is meeting a need and a gap in the market. Emotional products do not make successful businesses, providing solutions and answers do.
At Business Steps 4 Women, we provide services and support women who are passionate about a cause, an idea, a range of products or services. We champion women who want to be the change in their sphere of influence and encourage women to be all they can be by rocking the world with their passion.