- Blo Blow Dry Bar CEO Shares Advice for Aspiring Female Business Leaders - September 2, 2022
Women have a history of creating and inspiring change – from writers to politicians to business leaders. And many have founded businesses that began as a passion and have now grown to become industry trailblazers.
I may not have thought I would become the founder and CEO of a global business, but I have led the company to great success. After beating childhood cancer, I discovered a new level of strength that would prove to play an essential role in my career. I’ve worked for businesses across industries including marketing, nonprofit and beauty. But at age 40, I experienced a major career switch that has led to my current role at Blo Blow Dry Bar, North America’s original blow dry bar and blow dry bar franchise. Today the company boasts more than 130 locations open and operating across 30 states.
The entrepreneurial journey has never been easy and COVID-19 brought additional hurdles no one had ever experienced. And yet, many have started their own businesses over the last couple of years despite a global pandemic. Women should empower other women, especially with this surge of new businesses – so here are five best practices that I’ve learned along the way that laid the foundational success for Blo Blow Dry Bar.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions: Leaders are not experts in everything and won’t always have all the answers. Actively seek out clarity and understanding, which will enable you to further develop your skill set and make the best possible decisions for your business. Remember that the Internet will be one of your greatest assets with countless tools and resources available to answer questions about each facet of the business – from sales to hiring to technology. This is always at your fingertips, you just have to have the hunger to roll up your sleeves and take action to learn on your own versus sitting back and waiting for the answers to come to you.
As your business grows and your leadership style further evolves, make it a priority to ask more effective questions of functional experts as this can strengthen your leadership knowledge. This practice should continue throughout your career so you can consistently learn and adapt to benefit your business. Asking the right questions and utilizing learning resources at your disposal will help develop your skill set so you are in the best position to manage and lead.
Build strong support networks: It is important to surround yourself with two specific groups of people: those who can serve as mentors and those who can be your personal cheering section. The combination of these groups will provide business and emotional support as you are starting the entrepreneurial journey.
Mentors are a great source to offer advice, exchange ideas and learn from. Make an effort to diversify your bench of mentors because having mentors from different industries or stages in their career will offer unique areas of expertise. You may want to consider connecting with people outside your industry as a fresh, external perspective may be exactly what you need at times. As important as having business support is, every person needs to also have emotional support, regardless of where they are in their career. We all need people to celebrate our wins with and offer words of encouragement throughout trials.
Practice confidence with an open mind: As you begin a new career or entrepreneurial path, you may not know where to start. And that’s OK. One crucial step to take at the start of your journey is to prove to yourself that you are capable. Confidently take your place at the table, share ideas and seek out opportunities – but be equally open to critiques and constructive criticism.
There can never be enough value placed on how important it is to believe in yourself because when you act confident, you will start to feel confident. Make this a regular practice and rehearse self-assurance so you are equipped with courage to help you face challenges head-on and command respect.
Confidently take your place at the table, share ideas and seek out opportunities – but be equally open to critiques and constructive criticism.
Reserve the right to change your mind: Leaders are faced with tough decisions every day. You may want to stand firm in these original decisions, but you need to be able to admit when something isn’t working or could be done more efficiently. Being nimble is more important than being right. In starting your business, you will want to adhere to your vision and dream, but keeping an open mind and ear to change will determine your longevity.
Always be prepared to pivot quickly when the facts or situation change, and remain responsive to new information as it becomes available. The ability to practice this kind of flexibility will level up your business and make you well equipped to handle and own change.
Being nimble is more important than being right.
Keep your sights set on the end goal: The entrepreneurial journey is long and you will encounter barriers, trials and distractions that can interrupt your time line. Success does not happen overnight so when these challenges occur, as they most certainly will, don’t lose sight of where you want to end up.
Every effort, strategy and business practice should keep you moving forward. An important part of making this happen is ensuring your leadership team is fully aligned on the mission and vision, and both should be consistently communicated with the team to create that alignment. When the leaders are aligned, it is easier to overcome trials and barriers that may disrupt your efforts.
Entrepreneurs and self-starters have a unique place in the world and their contributions are invaluable. I’ve found success as a leader with these best practices and hopes others who are embarking on a new business endeavor or dream of becoming a leader are equally empowered and fueled for success.
Originally published March 21, 2022.