We are continuing to shine the spotlight on women in business for the month of March. The last post explored women in the Cultural and Creative Industries amidst the unique challenges they experience and their resolve to be bold and push for equality in their field through the excellence of their work. Today, the Entrepreneur Weekly explores the life of a woman in business and does a quick dive into this world with Shani Duncan-Falconer, giving tips and advice for female entrepreneurs.
Life as Shani-Duncan Falconer
Shani was grown in Trinidad but a Jamaican national by birth and has within her veins the rich blood of entrepreneurship, as she witnessed this lifestyle from her grandparents and her mother. Her love for entrepreneurship and thirst for knowledge within this space led Shani to pursue a Masters in Entrepreneurship from ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain. Along with this she also holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and International Business from the University of Maryland. With these qualifications, she is now able to serve both men and women pursuing the path of entrepreneurship. Shani has over 16 years of experience working with small businesses in various industries in Trinidad, Jamaica and the U.S
Like many others, she was enamoured by the freedom that entrepreneurship gifts an individual. Duncan-Falconer branched out on her own with Off the Hanger, a fashion business and a business consultancy. She now enjoys a slice of the best of both worlds as she continues to run her consulting business while serving as Senior Corporate Manager at Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB) in Jamaica. In this role, through the SME Resource Centre, Shani helps SMEs deemed to be high potential by facilitating access to the right resources to allow them to grow and develop throughout their business life cycle.
Women in Business
There are unique joys and unique challenges that life in entrepreneurship affords a woman. These joys and challenges must be met with a tenacious zeal to ensure the joys abound and the challenges lessen. Mrs. Duncan-Falconer said, “One challenge I think women encounter, especially in business, is the challenge of your voice being heard, not in an aggressive way but a way that creates impact.” Continuing, she shared “There are times I have observed, I would’ve suggested the same idea as a male counterpart, and it’s treated differently. In moments like this, I reinforce that I shared the same idea. This is also where it is important for women to stand with each other and be willing to remind the group that this idea was said. Women must be willing to speak up.”
Budgeting Like a Girl Boss
Women are often said to be very cautious when it comes on to money and men tend to be more risk takers. Shani agrees with the popular observation and shared “I think women need to begin thinking bigger. Men often come into business thinking big and therefore they end up spending big because they believe in their ideas. Women must begin to believe in the success of their business and investing in their ideas.”
Budgeting seems to find the middle ground and balances both caution and risk taking. Budgeting is an integral part of our life, both personal and business, and as the times are unpredictable, it is best that there is an increased measure of prudence employed to your business. According to Forbes Magazine, “It is all about wants versus needs. Before you go out and spend money on something for your business, you need to pause and ask yourself, is this a want or is this really a need? Resist buying those things you want, and instead only buy what you need.”
Shani shared with the Entrepreneur Weekly that it is always important both for your personal and business life that an emergency fund is set up. She said, “Make sure you always have your reserve in place, just like how we are always encouraged to walk with our back up money, in business always have your emergency fund set aside.”
Continuing, Shani shared “As a woman, we multitask very easily and so I always encourage women to have diversified income streams to bulk up their monthly income, so they have more money to budget, both for business and personal life.” Concluding, Shani encouraged “While I want women to think bigger, I must add that alongside this is the need to budget realistically.”
JBDC and Shani Teach Budgeting Prowess
One of the biggest concerns for many entrepreneurs is financing and accessing various types of funding. The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) is empowering entrepreneurs to think innovatively about money and the prioritisation and allocation of their funds. The JBDC launches its first Virtual Biz Zone for 2023 tomorrow, Tuesday, March 14, 2023, the first of a two-part series on Financing. The webinars begin by addressing the theme: Innovation: Budgeting for Business. Shani Duncan-Falconer leads this conversation and entrepreneurs can participate by registering at www.jbdc.net.