I was running a course recently on governance for female entrepreneurs. Yes, I know governance sounds deadly dull, and it’s the last thing on your mind when you are starting up your business – there are so many other exciting and interesting things to do – but trust me, it’s not boring…and it is sooooooo important…more of that another day however.
On the course we talked a lot about the benefits of building a board for your company – experience, skills, contacts, credibility, and governance, to name but a few – and how to build a board. By critically assessing your skill gaps, working out what help you need, and by reaching out to your network and beyond, it’s fairly easy to build a highly competent board around you, at minimal cost, to help your company grow.
What struck me, however, was the surprising number of women who said,
“But why would anyone want to help me and my little company?”
(By the way, never refer to your company as a small company. A growth company, yes, but never small – please.)
Well, why wouldn’t they? People generally love to be asked for help (if they don’t, they will soon tell you about it). It makes them feel good about themselves, validates their own confidence and experiences. It feels good to give back and help others.
Women, in general, are particularly good at helping others when asked…
…but on the other hand, women are particularly BAD at asking for help. We often feel as though it’s a sign of weakness to ask for help. It’s not. It’s a sign of maturity, confidence and strength to ask for help when you need it.
It might feel a little uncomfortable at first, but try reaching out for help as soon as you need it, if not before. What’s the worst people can say? No? That’s not that hard to deal with. Move on and try someone else!
Seriously, if you don’t ask, the answer will ALWAYS be no. But if you ask, the answer could be a maybe, or even a yes.
As women, we must get better at asking, getting over our egos and getting over a fear of rejection. Ask for the sale, ask for the business, ask for help, JUST ASK!