Why Women make Businesses Great
Did you know that around the world, women are at the helm, leading some of the largest businesses on the Global 500. The success of these women is driven by both a sense of purpose and achieving business results – this is a trait most women in business have in common. Women have an unmistakably unique approach, partly due to nature and partly due to nurture. More than ever before, as clients and business owners alike become self-aware, the perspective and approach of women in business matters.
Women are not just running businesses, they are business owners in increasing numbers than we have seen before. Stats Canada data from 2021 shows the growth of entrepreneurship among women in Canada, there are more than 360,000 self-employed women in Canada, with a 30% increase in women-owned businesses in the last ten years. Globally, women own around 40% of businesses in the U.S and in China, women account for 55% of all entrepreneurs.
So what is it about women that makes them so successful? There’s certainly no one answer to this question, but here’s our take on a few of three key traits that drive women’s success in business ahead of the curve.
Generally speaking, women have found themselves needing to be more self-aware than their male counterparts. What this means is that women tend to be more attune to social cues and reading emotional situations. In business interacting with others, internal staff and external partners including clients and vendors relies upon building strong relationships built upon trust and respect. This trait is particularly relevant when facing challenges, which are again an inherent part of business success. Women are able to leverage their emotional intelligence when problem solving to bring players together to reach a successful outcome. On a related note, women don’t tend to hesitate to share credit for the success with their team, which naturally makes the team feel valued.
Awareness of one’s self and others further lends itself to building an organizational culture and team that is grounded in inclusion, values diversity and encourages fresh perspectives and thinking.
Strategic Risk Management
You may not realize it but when it comes to strategic risk taking, women have a higher risk appetite than their male cohort. Research from the Centre of Entrepreneurship found 87% see themselves as financial risk takers, compared to 73% of men, similarly, 80% of women say they are likely to see opportunities where others see risk, compared to 67% of men. So what sets women apart? Generally speaking, women tend to be less over confident or unilateral in their risk taking efforts, they are more likely to intentionally seek out different perspectives, assess the SWOT (strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) of a potential business decision and weigh all the alternatives before forging ahead. In this manner, women entrepreneurs in particular can save their company from taking miscalculated or unnecessary risks.
In addition, supporting the longevity of a business tends to be part of the strategic risk management approach women in business adhere to. Research suggests that “women are more likely to reinvest business profit in order to generate steady and profitable growth, while men are more likely to look for faster growth, possibly fueled by equity investment, and a quicker exit.”
When negotiating outcomes, women don’t take an all or nothing approach making them better negotiators, they aren’t going in with the winning outright approach. Here we see the tie between risk management and emotional intelligence as women value fairness and equity. They are able to push for better outcomes when faced with adversity and are more open to finding middle ground in a way that supports all interests, focusing on the long game so to speak.
Business is a Part of Life
At the risk of generalizing, women are used to having a lot on their plate both personally and professionally. Women entrepreneurs are also often also “mompreneurs” or part of the sandwich generation caring for both dependent children and aging parents outside of work. Their business life represents one of the many different roles they hold at the same time. Women are by virtue of this reality great at multitasking and are able to maintain multiple priorities and balance various demands at the same time.
This means that priorities and conflicting demands must be triaged and tough decisions need to be made on what will garner the most attention. A great way to conceptualize this is they are each made up of different things, one is a bouncy ball, one is a lead ball and one of these is a glass ball. Women in business will quickly assess which is the glass ball for the day and can’t fall; the lead ball may need attention but can wait, whereas the bouncy ball can be delegated to someone else. Similar to the way an ER team quickly assesses what needs immediate attention.
Women in business see themselves as a mentor and as they nurture the team they know they must also replenish themselves in order to continually inspire and motivate others. Women have a strong work ethic and tend to equally value maintaining a life outside of work. The balance between work and “life” isn’t a simple 50-50 equation, rather what this means is that at different times depending on the priorities at hand the balance will shift with the ebb and flow of personal and professional commitments. Women’s openness to collaborate further helps drive success; women are more likely to bring in others to work toward a common goal helping the company achieve their goals.