I read a terrific Wall Street Journal article last week (by Sharon G. Hadary), called “Why Are Women-Owned Companies Smaller Than Men-Owned Companies?”. I recommend it as a “must read” for all of us!
It’s fascinating to me that even though statistics show that women can own and run businesses with million and multi-million dollar annual revenues, the average revenues of majority women-owned businesses are still smaller than (only 27 % of!) the average revenues of majority men-owned businesses.
Why is that??
According to this article, part of the answer has to do with “women’s own self-limiting views” and the other part is “the stereotypes, perceptions and expectations of business and government leaders.”
This article does a great job of describing ways to strengthen our internal and external perceptions and beliefs, many of which apply directly to the Big Fish concepts we learn about and practice daily. For example,
– “Change the Mind-Set”: We need to ‘think big’ (BIG, BOLD ACTIONS and GOALS) from the very beginning. Even if we don’t plan to grow a multi-million dollar business, we need to plan for growth, learn more about business finance, and start believing that we will get business capital if we ask for it.
– “Women Learn From Women”: This is not about male-bashing or right or wrong ways of leading. Women simply lead in different ways than men do, so women need other women to relate to. We need to support each other in growing our strengths and finding new ways of doing business that feel more natural to us. Natural = Best Self = Highly Effective!
– “Start with the Goals”: Hadary says, “Research shows that the only statistically significant predictor of business growth is not the industry, size of business or length of time in business. It is the entrepreneur’s goal for growth.” We must set our goals and we must set them for SUCCESS. The higher our goals, the higher our beliefs, and the higher our successes. (See other blog posts about goals).
I would also add a couple key points from my experience:
– It’s Our Choice: One of the response comments to this article pointed out that not all women entrepreneurs want a multi-million dollar business … that some women specifically choose NOT to grow their business beyond a certain point in order to avoid the potential stressors and demands of a “big” business. There is no right or wrong size for a woman’s business – the important thing is that we intentionally choose the size of our business and set our goals based on that choice. When we are “at choice,” we are creating our lives, leaving no room for self-limiting beliefs.
– Publicize Our Success: If we are to change stereotypes about the capabilities of women leaders, we must share our success stories. We must celebrate our successes publicly, using a variety of avenues to showcase our successes. Tell the media about your achievements, join organizations that provide networks to give you additional visibility, and always be aware of ways you can market yourself and your successes. It’s up to us to change the stereotypes one success story at a time.
I’ll leave you with a quote from the article, something for you to print and post as a reminder to take it to the next level:
“We have to show women how to embrace change; to be trend-setters rather than simply react; to innovate beyond expectations; to develop global integration; and to practice social responsibility. We need to help them identify ways to make their enterprises scalable and to build teams of talented people for where the enterprise should be in five years, not just today.” – Sharon Hadary