Boss Lady

3 tips to fast-track success when launching a small business


Small business is an area that I have always been extremely passionate about and in particular, women in business who are taking on the world and achieving great things. There are a multitude of women who are taking on new roles, seeking opportunities and working hard to achieve their career aspirations.

After eighteen years in business, I am often asked what drives me forward and how do I keep things fresh, exciting and challenging so here are three tips I recommend to help any woman in business look at taking their business to the next level.

1. Take Risks

‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained.’ This is a motto that seems to have been instilled in me for most of my life and I love this phrase. The other phrase that I adore is: ‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always have what you’ve always had.’

Most people in life are what I call ‘plodders’, they do very well for themselves and they enjoy life so there is certainly nothing wrong in being a ‘plodder’ but they lack that little bit of pizzazz to motivate themselves to jump to the next level. They are comfortable with their lot or what crosses their path, but don’t go seeking new challenges or opportunities. They are more than happy plodding along. Again, there is nothing wrong with that whatsoever BUT—and this is a huge ‘but’— do you want to change your life and the life of others in your sphere? Do you have dreams or goals to do something more, change direction, or change the world? Do you want to make a difference, pursue a passion, or deliver a greater or higher purpose? If you say ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then maybe you are ready to take on a new challenge, develop or grow, or even take on the world! And go for it! Work out what you want, how you’re going to get it, and take that big leap of faith.

Take risks; push yourself outside of your comfort zone and put yourself or your business out there. People can be terrified of rejection or fear failure but sometimes we have to accept the rejections or the no’s and keep pushing forward. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Would it really be that bad? Or is it possibly worth taking the risk?

To live your best life, you really do need to push yourself forward, overcome your inner critic, and embrace your fears; get out there and go for it! Don’t be afraid to take risks. At best you will shine and succeed, and then you’ll laugh and wonder what all the fuss was about and why you didn’t do it sooner. At worst, you may not achieve exactly what you wanted, but you will have learnt great lessons along the way and become a better person for the experience.

Work out how much risk you are prepared to take on, and then back yourself. Some will do whatever it takes and others will slowly push themselves forward out of their comfort zone. You don’t have to change the world in one hit, but do be brave and give it a go, whether it is a business expansion, new line or product, a career change, or whatever you have dreamed of doing for years. Now is the time to make it happen!

2. Back Yourself

Sometimes you’ve just got to back yourself. When you know you have something of value, something to contribute, and something that can make a big difference to your world then grab the bull by the horns and back yourself. When you have that fire in the belly, feeling butterflies of excitement in your stomach, but feel scared or slightly intimidated, take a deep breath and push forward.

We all have ideas but sometimes don’t share them for fear of being ridiculed or being considered wrong. Fear of failure can often paralyse us into submission and silence, too frightened to take a chance. What if it’s wrong? we ask ourselves. Instead, ask yourself this: What if you are right? What if you back yourself and it’s an overwhelming success, a giant leap forward, or an overnight sensation? You’ll never know if you don’t try. Don’t let fear hold you back; don’t let others frighten you into submission. This could be your big break, your huge success, your big chance! Easier said than done sometimes, I know, but try to overcome the things that are holding you back. Take deep breaths, dig deep, and dare to put yourself out there and express yourself. So what if it doesn’t all go to plan? Who cares? You will have learnt lots, taken feedback and comments on board so that improvements can be made, and who knows, you may have inspired others to join in and help. As the Nike slogan says, ‘Just Do It!’ Back yourself and see where it takes you.


3. Learn from Failure

Not everything always goes to plan or is a tremendous success. Often things don’t go exactly as planned or can be more challenging than you thought, harder to achiever, and sometimes things just don’t come together and work. What then? Be proud that you can hold your head high, knowing that you did your absolute best. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, so at least you’ve given it your best shot, no matter what ‘it’ may be.

Think of the valuable lessons you have picked up along the way. Embrace what you have learnt, look at how you may be able to adapt or change to make your idea a great success, dust yourself off, and try again.

Ask others for input or feedback. Welcome what they have to say and take it on board, as sometimes you may need a little push in the right direction from a different or expert perspective. Look at exactly what has occurred and work out where you may be able to improve to succeed.

Never give up, not if it’s something you are passionate and certain about. You may just need a different plan of attack or new or fresh ideas to help you bring your idea or business to fruition or realisation.


This is an extract taken from Zoe Spark’s latest business book –  Healthy & Wealthy – 100 tips to ensure YOU & Your Business are Performing at Their Best. For more information, check out or email [email protected]

About Zoë Sparks

Zoë Sparks has worked in business for 28 years, not only as a business owner but also as a franchisee, a Board and committee member in a range of not-for-profit organisations and as a volunteer and charity fundraiser. Having worked in large and small organisations, she has experienced business from all angles and from both sides of the desk. This year marks Zoë’s 20th year as a small business owner and her company is still growing and achieving great success. Zoë is a passionate business woman with a particular interest in helping women in business through reward and recognition, which has led to her recent launch of SHINE Business Women; to complement her travel and event business. Zoë relishes her roles as a mother of two rugby-loving boys and wife to a rugby tragic, which keeps her balanced! Twitter: @SpectacularEvts Facebook: @zoesparkstravel

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