7 Female Founders Share Tips for How They Work On Their Businesses
Being a CEO isn’t just about leading your business. With it comes the responsibility of both managing long-term plans and helping to execute daily initiatives—and that can be a lot when you’re growing a company. We asked seven female founders and CEOs to share their tips for how they balance it all. Here’s how they manage to work on their businesses to keep them growing, while also working in their businesses, day-to-day.
For an e-commerce business like ours, one of the best ways to feel in it is to keep feedback from customers front and center. One of the recurring topics on our weekly team meeting agenda—um, right before the last item, celebrity gossip—is customer of the week, when the member of our team who responds to every last customer-service email (glowing or otherwise!), Ruby, surfaces a note that she thinks is worth sharing with the group. It might be a rave review, but it’s more often a tricky situation, a weird conundrum or an issue. We think it’s important for the whole team to have visibility into that—it serves as a good reminder for the people who don’t interact as much with our customers directly due to the nature of their roles to keep them top of mind.
Beatrice Feliu Espada, Founder/CEO of The Honey Pot Company
In regards to staying in the business while working on the business, I make sure that I am in touch with my entire team on a daily basis. I want to know what’s happening both out in the field with the consumer to dealing with my vendors behind the scenes. I see my business as an ecosystem where everything works in tandem and you cannot expect one segment of your business to flourish without actively being engaged with all of the other segments. Now I won’t lie and say that I am always fully engaged with the consumer side of things, but I do like to keep an eye on what customers are talking about and how we can improve things going forward. Also, I allow my C-Suite executives to manage their departments, which allows me to focus my attention on growing the business.
Kate Arends, Founder of Wit + Delight
When I have a million things to do and no plan for how to tackle them, I feel overwhelmed and begin to procrastinate. I developed a way to organize my time to make room for big projects with dedicated time to do administrative tasks by batching my time. Organizing my week by tasks and the amount of focus needed depending on what I’m doing has helped keep my sanity. I try to do almost all my meetings at the beginning of the week, dedicate early morning to writing, and the later half of my week to bigger initiatives like new product launches.
Tina Wells, CEO & Founder of BuzzMG
Over the last 18 months, I’ve totally revised my schedule. I work in my business Tuesday—Thursday each week, and work on the business Mondays and Fridays. I don’t really schedule any meetings on those days and just keep it open for whatever great opportunities may come. I was able to launch an entirely new brand (Elevation Tribe) last year with this schedule, so it didn’t impede my work at all. I also feel really refreshed and excited to handle more creative challenges!
Hanneke Antonelli, Certified & Award-Winning Business Coach
As someone who helps women transform to Savvy CEOs, working less and earning more (read: going from the workhorse of your business to the show pony of it!), I’m constantly making sure that I’m doing the work that I’m naturally good at even when I’m working IN my business. And if you want to build a sustainable business that supports your dreams, you have to constantly make time to look at and work ON your company vision. For me, that means talking to my mastermind buddies and my business coach and taking CEO retreats. It’s amazing to see the results that happen once my clients incorporate this into their routine—all of a sudden, they make those small changes that turn into avalanche results!
Alice Lewis, CEO of Alice’s Table
Blocking out strategic time each week to work ON your business is key. It could be an entire day, or simply 90-minutes each morning. However, I’m also a firm believer that entrepreneurs have to remain flexible. If a stroke of creative genius comes to you at one in the afternoon, run with it. To effectively work both in, and on your business, you have to take advantage of the opportunities that are handed to you. The best ideas are rarely planned.
Jen Maseda, Founder & CEO of She’s Local
You are the best visionary for your business, but when you are running a lean company, you put the dreaming on hold and bang out the day to day work. It took me a long time to delegate the work that others can do better than I can. We all have our strengths. Mine is the dreaming of what’s possible and the connecting of opportunities for maximum growth. I work in my business after the kids are fed and watered and on the bus in the morning until they get off the bus again mid-afternoon. I work on my business when the Muber (Mom+Uber) is in hot demand later in the day and on the weekend. Spending time at the soccer field or the dance studio forces me to think. I might listen to a podcast or read an inspiring article, but mostly I breathe in and out, grateful for the time to remember why I started She’s Local in the first place.
Interested in how other CEOs run their companies? Check out our The Business of Wellness series.