Writing an article like this is clearly fraught with danger. I have to generalize in a world that is already full of gender based land mines, but I feel qualified to do it in this instance. For many years I have worked with entrepreneurs around the world, big and small, male and female. So up front, I want to apologize if my article offends, stereotypes or just plain makes you grumpy, it is certainly not intended to do that. I am simply sharing some of my own observations and realizations about women entrepreneurs.
Here are six very important reasons why I think women make better entrepreneurs than men (and these characteristics also make women better equipped for doing business in the lead to 2020):
1. Women tend to be more honest about the business.
If I sit down to a coaching session with a husband and wife business team, the man will generally talk about what irritates him, the women will get right to what the big issues are facing the survival of the business right here, right now. Women open up, they talk about their fears, they are not afraid of sharing their failings because they have less ego attached to the success or failure of the business and they want to address issues not ignore them. In short women are more open and honest about what is going on--and that makes it easier for others to help.
2. Women are much more aware and emotionally intelligent about the human side of the business.
Humanity and business are colliding. We all need to run our businesses with much greater consideration for the people we interact with, our employees, our customers, our suppliers, our communities, the lot. Women seem to get this inherently. They want to make the world a better place, they want to take care of those around them, they sincerely treat people with respect (and expect to be treated with respect themselves). They understand the more emotive aspect of doing business and that is why they understand their customers. In an era where connecting and engaging are highly sought after by customers, women have a very distinct advantage over men.
3. Women are fairer negotiators.
Without doubt I find women much better negotiators than men. Why? They don't try to win a negotiation, because this implies that someone has to lose, they tend to go into a negotiation with a win/win attitude. To me negotiations with women are always tough but fair, the way a negotiation should be.
4. Women are better at getting to the point.
Women are like Gen Y--they don't really want to beat around the bush too much. They will have a few moments of pleasantries, then it's down to business. Men can talk about sport, politics, sport, the economy, sport, the weather, sport and then in the last five minutes of a meeting try to hammer out a deal. Women also make better networkers for the same reason. They don't really want to sit around talking about the canapes at a networking event, they want business. So either help them get some business or get out of the way.
5. Women appreciate the value of creativity.
We live in a world where creativity is a very important commodity. We need to be creative in every aspect of running a business and I think that any business that has a creativity shortage will find it very hard to survive in the coming years. Women tend to be more open minded, in touch with the creative aspects of life and they see value in creativity. As men if we can't fix it, sell it, win at it or do other things to it, we are not interested.
6. Women value relationships and well being more than the business.
Generally women will always put the health and well being of their spouse and family as their main priority. If they have to choose between the business and the family, the family will always win. Now I am not saying that men will choose the business over the family, but for many men, myself included for a very long time, the idea was to put the business first and build something that would support the family down the line. Sadly, all too often, by the time the business is financially successful the family have moved on because they got sick of being ignored.