15 Highly Successful Female Founders Share Their Business Secrets


What does it take to become a highly successful female founder or CEO today? The research team from small business financing company OnDeck decided to find out. They looked at data from Harvard Business Review and several other leading business information sources to see what makes successful female leaders tick. And they put their best pieces of business advice into one infographic to help other women achieve great things.

The 15 pieces of business advice include tips from Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd. She stresses the value of embracing our failures. “When you accept that failure is a good thing, it can actually be a huge propeller toward success,” says Herd. Lisa Su, CEO of Advanced Micro Devices, has some similar advice for aspiring business leaders. “Run toward the hardest problems,” urges Su. “It’s helped me learn a tremendous amount from both success and failure.”

General Motors CEO Mary Barra warns against the pitfalls of doing everything yourself. Moreover, she believes there’s nothing wrong with showing your weaknesses. Barra suggests that displaying an element of vulnerability can make you a more effective leader. “It’s OK to ask for help,” says Barra. “And it’s more than OK to listen to the people you lead. In fact, it’s essential.” Helen Robertson is another highly successful leader who doesn’t let her ego get in the way. “You never need to feel like the smartest person in the room,” says Helen. “Building a good team requires you to hire people that may know more about a certain subject than you do.”

LeanIn Founder Sheryl Sandberg has some helpful advice for high-achievers struggling with their perfectionism. As Sandberg points out, the overwhelming desire to get everything exactly as you imagined can be a counterproductive business strategy. “Trying to do it all and expecting it can all be done exactly right is a recipe for disappointment. Perfection is the enemy.”

Caterina Fake and Karen Young’s advice is also about allocating your most precious resource: time. Flickr Co-founder Fake values smart work over hard work. “Working on the right thing is more important than working hard,” says Fake. At the same time, Oui the People boss Karen Young reveals the secrets to effective scheduling. “Time management comes down to understanding what’s important and knowing that it can change by the day or the hour.”

You can see all these pieces of advice (and many more) in the infographic below. You’ll also find some helpful tips on integrating these winning habits into your daily schedule.

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