Women Are Wired For Business
OR WHY FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS OUT PERFORM MALES
I recently participated in a strategic planning session with my daughter. She is starting a new business, her first. While working through the various customer segments she will be marketing to I could not help but to smile and remark how much she was like her mother. After all, mom has started five companies. One of which grew to nearly $25 million. Yes, I am very proud of both mother and daughter.
This scenario is not unique to my family. Women are starting business in record numbers. The Small Business Association recently published a report on women entrepreneurs which stated, “Women are playing a central role in rebuilding the middle class and keeping our economy growing. Women-owned businesses represent one of the fastest growing segments of the economy. According to the National Women’s Business Council women-owned firms grew 44% from 1997 to 2007, twice as fast as male-owned firms. There are 7.8 million women-owned businesses in the US.“
The accelerated growth in numbers of women entrepreneurs is not restricted to just the United States. The same rapid increase in the number of women-owned businesses is global. A fact that has not been lost on big business. Goldman Sachs has committed globally to their 10,000 Women Initiative which will bring business and management education to underserved female entrepreneurs in developing and emerging markets.
The rise in the number female entrepreneurs cannot be challenged. The data is extremely conclusive. But what is not as defined are the reasons why women owned business also do not fail as fast as male owned businesses. Yes we all have heard that “men are from Mars, and women are from Venus” but there certainly seems to be a real difference in success rates between the sexes. Those differences are somewhat subtle and definitely subjective.
So, before we go any further in this discussion of why women out perform men in what was once known as “A man’s world” I want to remind you not to kill the messenger. I am only restating information gleaned from various studies and reports on the differences between the sexes when it comes to problem solving, communication, multi-tasking and a host of other talents.
I agree that some of what I am about to share with you may seem clichéd or stereotypical. Believe me; as a male who has been in business over 40 years, I take no joy in this. Sometimes the truth hurts, and brothers this is one of those times.
Take for instance the somewhat cartoonish approach to dealing with becoming lost. Simple problem solving right? Why do men refuse to pull out the map when lost? It is probably the same defective or missing gene that keeps me, I mean men, from first reading instructions before trying to assemble furniture from Scandinavian countries.
The reality is that when it comes to problem solving women in general do not let their egos get in the way of accomplishing the task. Women are much more open to searching for a solution than men. Again, I am speaking in general terms. Women show much more flexibility in problems solving. This trait is invaluable in running a business. It is extremely beneficial when the challenge is to keep the business alive. Thinking outside the box is not gender specific, but the ability to let go of something that is not working and search for a different type of solution is more prevalent in female entrepreneurs than in male.
Another major advantage women have in business is their ability to communicate (that means listening as well as speaking). Being a good communicator pays off big time in business. It is not just the front office or sales side that benefits from being a good communicator. Being a good listener pays off at every level in the company. Becoming a leader who listens can save, a project, customers, team members and in some cases the company. Women tend to know what’s going on in their companies and then can proactively work to provide solutions before the problems become fatal. This is a major advantage in creating successful companies.
Another interesting trait that many women entrepreneurs have is a natural sense of community. Yes, I know, guys grow up in team sports and understand team dynamics and what it takes to build a winning team. But in business “community” trumps “team”. Women gravitate to an inclusive business environment verses the male dominate team concept. In teams there is a winner and everyone else loses. In community everyone shares in the victory.
Again, I am only the conduit here. You can believe me or not. But what is the absolute fact is that women are starting business twice as often as men. And, women are having more success in terms of continued operation over the same period of time than men are. It all adds up to women entrepreneurs are now creating more successful business than men. Pretty impressive. You go girl!
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