Some of the UK's most successful women reveal their key strategies for getting ahead...
Nadja Swarovski, head of coporate communications, Swarovski
'I have meetings all day, so I schedule 'buffer' time between them to follow up on ideas or issues instantly, mentally digest everything and prepare for the next one. I keep emails very short and use my commute to address anything pressing.'
Sophie Turner Laing, head of entertainment and news, BSkyB
'I don't think people spend enough time cultivating their network. I encourage my team to cold-call people they admire- just ring them up and say, 'I've heard great things about you. Can we meet?'
Sahar Hashemi, OBE, founder of Coffee Republic
'It's not about coming up with a genius new idea, but recognising existing opportunities and finding out what your customers want. Aim for just a one per cent inprovement initially- tiny adjustments over a long period of time make a huge difference.'
Tamara Heber-Percy, co-founder, Mr & Mrs Smith
'If you have very little time to prepare for a presentation and you're talking about a situation you know well, have the confidence to speak from the heart. I often talk to people about how our business started because my husband was taking us away for dreadful long weekends at rubbish hotels. Those are the kinds of stories that win people over.'
Thea Green, founder, Nails Inc
'Be bold in expanding your brand and the infrastructure behind it- brilliant people pay for themselves very quickly. I've learned a lot from my mentors- entrepreneurs love passing on their war stories. It makes the failures seem worth it.'
Nicky Kinnaird, founder, Space NK
'In the US, everyone tries to 'round out' their personalities, perhaps by getting involved with non-profits. It looks good on a CV. Also, be interested in what's going on in hospitality, art, fashion... you can draw inspiration from all sorts of areas if you have an open mind.'
LOOK THE PART:
'Keep an emergency kit at work,' advises make-up guru Ruby Hammer, 'with essentials like a favourite lipstick, mascara, tweezers, a small mirror, nail polish remover and a toothbrush on hand. That way you'll never be caught out ahead of a meeting.'
'I always keep my work shoes on display,' says Tracey Woodward, commercial director at luxury spa Urban Retreat. 'That way, I can see if they need cleaning or polishing. There's nothing worse than worn heels or scuffed toes. Also, I avoid wearing the same perfume as another colleague. If someone has a negative experience with them, they could associate it with me.'
'My style is quite classic; for work, I like a really great tailored jacket and maybe a skinny trouser- but I'll always accentuate them with statement jewellery and killer heels,' explains Sarah Curran, founder of My-Wardrobe. 'Accessories are a great way to update those pieces of your capsule wardrobe that you feel comfortable in and stay up-to-date without appearing overly trend-led, which isn't appropriate in some organisations.'
'Don't look like you've spent hours on your appearance- too much make-up can be a sign of insecurity and could indicate that you have too much time on your hands,' warns acclaimed make-up artist Mary Greenwell. 'Instead, go for a fresh, clean face with a slick of lipgloss and mascara.'