Creating a successful business does not happen by accident. Entrepreneurial ventures require countless hours of hard work, passion, and dedication. In the past few decades, there has been a large increase in the number of women successfully starting and running their own businesses. So, what’s their secret? Here are five habits of successful women entrepreneurs:

1) Plan for the whole week

Successful women entrepreneurs are very well aware that their time is valuable. Scheduling your week in advance can help reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed, and also helps you stay on top of both professional and personal matters. This is important because if not written down, some essential events or deadlines may be forgotten, causing a chain reaction of late work and unnecessary stress. Also, by the end of an unplanned week, you might feel as if much of the time spent working was unproductive. Planning ahead gives a clear overview of potential workload, and also allows you to carve out some much-needed time for self care. Devoting a few minutes on Sunday morning to plan the for the week ahead will greatly enhance your productivity.

2) Invest in yourself

Investing in businesses is common practice, but self-investment is often seen as selfish and nonessential. Successful women entrepreneurs practice self-care in order to advance in both their personal and professional lives. It is rather difficult to maintain a productive professional life if there are unresolved troubles within your personal one. Identifying what works best for you and being intentional about practicing self-care is the first step in investing in yourself. Self-care practices can come many different forms, from reading self-help books to attending wellness retreats. The willingness to invest in yourself is a clear indication of how much you value growing as a businesswoman. Never underestimate the power of putting yourself first!

3) Develop a strong support system

In order to continue progressing as a businesswoman, it is important to surround yourself with people who support your vision and professional growth. There are many ways that people in your inner circle can support you, and this support extends into both personal and professional life. First and foremost, your support system should cheer you up when you succeed and make you feel great about your accomplishments. However, they do not only tell you what you want to hear, but they provide constructive feedback and help you work through any issues. As Mother Teresa said, “to keep a lamp burning, you must put oil in it.”

4) Be comfortable with saying “no”

Another habit that successful women entrepreneurs develop is the art of saying “no” when necessary. As a woman entrepreneur, if you are constantly saying “yes,” the true vision and priorities of the business may be lost to other people’s input. Whether turning down a potential employee or opting to stay in for the night, saying “no”  can be uncomfortable. When confronting a situation that requires a yes-or-no answer, consider the pros and cons of both outcomes. Even if saying “yes” will please others, is it the best decision for your business?

5) Leverage your strengths and improve your weaknesses  

Finally, all successful women entrepreneurs are aware of their strengths and how to leverage them. When working in an area that highlights your strengths, you are likely to feel more productive and confident in your work. However, it is also important to be aware of your weaknesses and what can be done to improve in those areas. It may be tempting to avoid these areas altogether, but acknowledging that they need improvement is the first step towards becoming a more well rounded businesswoman.