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For the last four years I have been involved with judging The Business Women Excellence Awards here in Sussex and Kreston Reeves is delighted to sponsor them. Last year there were over 250 entries with some of the finalists being nominated more than once, which is a fantastic achievement for them. The detail and quality of the award submissions was very high and they also made very interesting reading about a really inspirational group of women, about their businesses and about their careers in a variety of sectors.

Women inspiring and being inspired by other women is really important in the business community. How women see themselves as business women and see the women around them and supporting them is also very important to everyone achieving success; not just individual success, but success for the wider business community and our society as a whole. We need more role models and good news stories.

The business women who entered the awards were not just doing a bit of part time work around their children if they had them, they were running their own profitable businesses or leading organisations, employing thousands of people here in the south and trading all over the UK as well as overseas. Whatever their role in the organisation, they were achieving excellence and for them the sky really is the limit.

This has led me to think about how things are better for the next generation of young women coming into the workplace now, after the hard work of those of us who have gone before and who have helped to break down barriers and smash through glass ceilings, and hopefully having inspired them.

I have a daughter who has just finished university and she has embarked on her first job in London. When I consider the wealth of opportunities that are now available to her and her peer group as they start their working life, compared to when I first left school or when our parents left school, it is just incredible. So much has changed in the last 100 or so years, not just the vote but just think even married women are allowed to work now!

My daughter originally thought about starting her own business straight from university but decided that getting some business experience first might be beneficial. I didn’t imagine thinking about setting up a business when I was her age and I can’t think of any of my peers who did, but it is just the norm now, and I find it amazing, extraordinary, that she didn’t even think twice about this. What confidence!

So thinking back to all of those award entries, it is fantastic that most of those ladies all thought the same when they set up their own businesses and had the confidence, motivation, drive and support if they needed it, to succeed.

Female business leader and Editor in Chief of American Vogue, Anna Wintour once said: “People respond well to those that are sure of what they do.”

For the business community here in the south to have such a fantastic array of entrepreneurs and business leaders is incredibly exciting and the wider business community is taking note.

Being a business leader with confidence, enthusiasm, passion and drive and with clear objectives and a strong and credible business plan will help your business to grow and to succeed in the future. You will appeal to investors or lenders and you will be inspirational to the team around you. You will be the sort of future business leader whom people will want to join with.

Understanding and using your strengths makes you not just a leader who people will listen to, but a leader who will inspire others.

Encouraging women in business is a passion of mine and I would be delighted to help you achieve great things for your business.

Alison Jones is a Partner at Kreston Reeves and can be contacted at 

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