Heidi Roizen was one of the first women Silicon Valley CEOs, sits on multiple boards, and was a VP at Apple. Today, she teaches a class called the Spirit of Entrepreneurship at Stanford’s School of Engineering.
Here are 5 entrepreneurial lessons from Heidi Roizen:
- Don’t take ethics lightly
Roizen believes that ethics have a trickle-down effect and she’s right. If you excuse unethical behavior or exhibit it yourself, your employees and team members will follow your footsteps. Set a good tone for your company by stressing ethics as a priority.
Ethics are more important than ever. Especially in the internet age with the demand for transparency. Start with values from day 1 of your company.
- Do the hard things
Roizen says the hard things are the important things and they also save you from boredom.
No one ever got where they wanted to be by avoiding the hard stuff. If you want to make a real impact, you won’t get there by playing it safe.
Skip the tasks that you enjoy but simply aren’t that helpful for moving forward and growing your company. This might mean focusing on sales and networking instead of website edits or social media. Every day, determine four tasks that will have the biggest impact on your company and do the hardest ones first.
Learn more about this prioritization technique in our interview with Paul Klipp.
- Build genuine connections with people you actually want to network with
One of Roizen’s main claims to fame are her network skills, which have played a big part in getting her where she is today.
Many think networking is a numbers game that involves connecting with as many people as possible. It’s far more effective to connect with people you are actually interested in and want to build a relationship with. Make sure you are investing your time and energy into people you want to have around.
- Don’t be afraid to be social
Despite living in the age of social media, many are still hesitant about being social about their careers or businesses. Or we don’t want to bug our existing network by talking about our businesses.
Roizen’s methods tell us to do just the opposite. If you make who you are, what you do, and what’s important to you very known on social media, you are more likely to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs. This can lead to partnerships opportunities or even just help you build a support network.
- Surviving misogyny in a male-dominated industry
Roizen is the poster child for this one and experienced sexism frequently, including a business partner who became inappropriate very quickly. And she’s not the only one. Just like any other industry or profession, females everywhere are living through uncomfortable and demeaning situations with their male counterparts while they are building their businesses.
This includes Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, who wasn’t taken seriously at all by the all-male run panty hose manufacturing plants she was trying to work with to bring her idea to life. It literally took the urging of the daughters of these plant owners to open their minds to working with Spanx. Read more about Blakely’s story here.
If you are wanting to enter a market that is typically male, do not let your fear of uncomfortable situations (because they WILL happen) scare you away. The only way these industries will change is if females persevere, set their boundaries, and take action when they experience misogyny.
If you want to read more inspiring lessons from fempreneurs, check out the rest of the series:
Do you have any fempreneurs you’d like us to cover in our next post? Comment below or send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.