Shared Leadership for the Future
As a business coach, I spend a lot of time encouraging my clients to rely on their gut when making decisions. However, it is just as important for women entrepreneurs to believe that they were born with brains that are perfect for excelling in entrepreneurship too.
There is a business networking group in every town, city and state in America. Women in business and women entrepreneurs no longer feel left out of the business conversation as, in most cases, women outnumber men at most networking events. However, showing up at networking events doesn't guarantee women entre into the business conversations that matter. The old boys club is alive and well and women who are serious about their business must take the next step to really be included.
Successful entrepreneurs are proactive not reactive. In case you don't understand the difference, the difference is making decisions before the roof falls off and you have nowhere to turn. I know from experience that women entrepreneurs have the guts to take action quickly and brutally if necessary.
In business, and life, it doesn't take long to learn that it isn't always what you say that matters, it is what is heard. Women in business need to pay attention to this more than men because every word we say is dissected differently due to our sex. If you don't believe me that read on.
Is it a myth that women entrepreneurs become more hysterical in face of failure than their male counterparts? I found a reference online that says "Google Books shows 42,700 hits for hysterical woman and 2,820 hits for hysterical man", but perhaps the reference is to which sex is funnier. In any case, as a business coach working with both male and female entrepreneurs my advice is 3 steps we all learned as children: Stop, Drop and Roll.
I love being able to start a blog with a famous quote - this one attributed to Thomas Paine, political activist and philosopher, in the 18th century. Lead, follow or get out of the way is my advice for women in business.
Extra Extra Read All About It a new study released by The Graduate Center, City University of New York, states, Dads earn way more money than men without kids! But, wait a minute what about women in business? The study reports Moms make less than Dads (surprise surprise), but also make more than childless women. Really? Hmmm...please explain.. Well, the truth is women who have children, perhaps by planning, earned much more than childless women during their years leading up to having children. Are you lost yet?
Studies like the one I am referring to only perpetuate stereotypes about men and women. Just in case the millennials haven't figured out that there are stereotypes that they will eventually fall into, case studies are released to say progress is all around us, but male and female stereotypes pretty much stay the same.
Entrepreneurship is my favorite topic - to talk about, to read about, to think about, and to write about. I get excited every time I hear about a startup business and especially enthused to learn that it is a woman-owned business. For some reason, that I can only attribute to a mutant gene gone wild, I am obsessed with dissecting small businesses and discovering the dark horse. As I turn the pages of Zero to One, written by Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal, I understand even more the importance of daring to be different.
I say, "Gals, there is no crying in baseball and there are no cutting corners in business!" If you hear someone say that they gained revenues by cutting corners, (s)he isn't telling you the whole story." Cutting corners in business eventually catches up with you and can irrevocably damage a business. Women entrepreneurs too often learn the hard way, just like the boys, that cutting corners in business leads to disaster. Let me tell you why? The first reason a business owner considers cutting corners is to boost the bottom line. As a business coach, I've heard time and time again about why a strategy to cut something is the only way to increase revenues. When I counter with questions on why (s)he doesn't consider a new product, a new channel for distribution, more social media to encourage inbound marketing, or a more focused sales strategy, I am often rebuked with the fear of taking risk. The truth is the biggest risk any business owner can take is to cut corners believing it will expand revenues.
Launching a business is a dream of women entrepreneurs and men entrepreneurs around the world. The goals range from wanting to control one's own destiny to becoming independent from the day to day of working for the "man". Owning one's own business is not for the impulsive, manic businesswoman who's only "MO" (modus operandi) is to operate a business on her own terms. Why? Because, unfortunately, no matter how much business ownership is in your control it will always require the owner to work within the guidelines of others. Let me explain.
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