Last week, we began a discussion of women entrepreneurs and the way they differ from their male counterparts. A significant increase in American women-owned businesses over the past 16 years has placed women more firmly on the map, but trends in their leadership behaviors continue to hold them back.
Continuing our comparison of male and female business owners, here are my last two observations about their differences (if you missed the first two, check out last week’s post.
3. Even today, women owners are coming from a place of financial scarcity
Women owners have, at times, built their businesses out of necessity— to feed their families after the occurrence of a significant life event such as divorce, or the death or financial collapse of a partner. In some cases, women were dependent on their partner’s income prior to the life event—a rare situation among male business owners.
The vulnerability of starting a business in this context—from a place of fear and/or scarcity—can stick around for many years, becoming pervasive in women’s professional lives. This can limit her ability or willingness to take on risks, thereby limiting her potential for growth.
4. Women are better people managers and business drivers than men
It’s a generality, but women are better caregivers, peacemakers, collaborators and nurturers then men. This doesn’t mean they’re less tough, focused, or motivated; rather, it’s a strength that puts them at a distinct advantage. With the amount of people management required in running a business, these skills can work wonders.
These differences can, at some times, be a hindrance (especially when it comes to building business) but if properly understood and managed, these differences can greatly benefit women.
The time has come for women to resolve, or at least bypass, these constraints and beliefs. The good news is we’re seeing some attempts already. Women are joining more traditionally male-centric networking groups like Young Presidents Organizations or Vistage. Women need to continue to express and embrace what makes them unique as business owners.
This is the century of the female entrepreneur— and it’s about time. I am sure there are several more differences (and similarities) that you’ve observed. What do you think?