It’s Harder to Be a Man in Business
Content was originally published on Inc.com on June 28, 2018.
Women business owners make up approximately 20% of the executive workforce pool. They make less than their male counterparts and are far less likely to receive funding for their business or startup. So, how in the world could you think that women have it easier in business, David?
Over the years, I have had the privilege of working with thousands of business owners, giving them the tools to grow their business. During our coaching sessions, we cover a myriad of topics with an overall focus on helping the business owner reach their desired goals. In my experience, our women business owners come to the table better prepared. They have developed a set of skills that qualitatively sets them apart from their male counterparts.
I’m not naive enough to pretend that the deck isn’t stacked against women in business in several important arenas. But in three important ways women have real advantages over men in business.
Advantage #1: Women Business Owners Are Better at Leading Teams
Women business owners, in my experience, are far more likely to nurture and support their workforce. They take the time to get to know their staff, and find out what makes them tick. They listen to their employees and take note of their goals and aspirations and then find a mutually beneficial way to grow together. Men, on the other hand tend to look at employees as “worker bees.” They are tools to get to an end product.
For example, a male client who had just lost two of his most senior employees lamented to me, “David, I don’t understand why they quit. I treated them like family.” I then asked him to tell me about these two former employees. What were their goals and life ambitions? How was his company supporting those goals? His answer, “I don’t know what their goals and aspirations are.” Hmmm, might this be a strong clue about why they left?
Contrast this with Sasha, who runs a successful service business in California. She’s made it a priority to develop her existing team and allowed them to step up in responsibility and take on a leadership role in her company, in order to fulfill their personal goals. Any wonder why her company has grown by over 50 percent in the past 36 months in mature business that was already the largest player in her market of Santa Barbara?
Advantage #2: Women Are More Willing to Implement Systems and Controls
In a study by Babson College/MassMutual Financial Group, they found that women owned businesses were 1.7 times more productive than male owned firms. This doesn’t surprise me.
When we first introduce the idea of systems and controls to our business coaching clients, woman business owners are much faster to embrace and institute the ongoing discipline of leveraging systems and controls inside their companies.
They are even more successful in the long run with these systems because their employees more likely to adopt such a system when they know that their superior has their best interests at heart. The end result is a more productive workforce with the ability to scale faster than male owned businesses.
Advantage #3: Women Develop Deeper Relationships with Customers and Vendors
This final skill set is one that can’t be measured by statistics. I have found that my female coaching clients are much better overall at developing deep relationships with their customers and vendors. They take the time to really understand why a customer is purchasing from their business, and then they focus on ways to keep that relationship alive. Female owned businesses tend to excel at repeat business, and often see higher sales because of it.
Think Like a Woman.
If you are a woman in business, keep going! While the deck may be stacked against you in many meaningful ways, you have likely already developed some of the most important tools needed to rise above the pack. Trust in your abilities and make smart choices.
If you are a man in business, think like a woman. Pay attention to relationships, nurture your employees, and be strategic when it comes to systems and controls.