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Entrepreneurship has been a male-dominated phenomenon from the very early age, but time has changed the situation and brought women as todays most memorable and inspirational entrepreneurs. In almost all the developed countries in the world women are putting their steps at par with the men in the field of business.
FACTORS MOTIVATING WOMEN TO BECOME ENTREPRENEUR
The desire to build wealth
The wish to capitalize on business ideas they had
The appeal of startup culture
A long-standing desire to own their own company
Working for someone else did not appeal to them.
FACTORS EFFECT :
WHAT WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS HAVE LEARNT FROM WORST OF TIMES:
A set of concluding insights can be drawn on how women-business owners dealt with the recession and what is the long-term impact on their business models.
Focus on cost control: Forty-five percent of WOBs focused on controlling costs in response to economic challenges, while 31 percent concentrated on increasing sales. In retrospect, nearly 60 percent of women are confident in their business decision. They believe they made the right decision at the right time.
Targeting the right customers: Although more than half of WOBs (55 percent) focused on new business among their existing customer base, one in four say they are marketing to a customer base today that is different from their pre-recession targets.
Social media as a business tool: Half of WOBs owners now use social media compared to four percent before the recession. Of those surveyed, 56 percent said social media is "very important" or "important" to their business. Some of this result may be due more to advances in all of us learning how to use social media for our businesses.
Finding outside help: The sales record of those who invested in outside help to control costs and/or increase sales (23 percent) proved somewhat better than those who did not. But always be mindful of what you're paying for - a bad investment can cost you more in the long run. If I drop back to adages - women are more likely to ask for directions? (actually - other research also supports that for women business owners).
Promoting the business through community activities: Thirty-nine percent of WOBs increased their involvement in civic, social or school activities to increase their exposure during the recession and create value for their communities. Although these efforts may seem like they don't involve money, don't lose sight of the actual value of your time. After all, a business owner's time is their most precious resource.
CONSTRAINTS FACED BY WOMEN ENTREPRENEUR:
HOW TASK OF WOMEN ENTREPRENEUR IS DIFFERENT FROM MALE ENTREPREEUR:
When men and women start companies, do they approach the process the same way? Are there key differences? And how do those differences affect the success of the business venture?
Women tend to be natural multitaskers, which can be a great advantage in start-ups. While founders typically have one core skill, they also need to be involved in many different aspects of their business. However, this can also be a negative. Multitaskers may try to do too much themselves. A woman will look at a task that needs to get done, and even if it's something she doesn't like or want to do, she'll hunker down and do it. I refer to this as "the do-it-yourself trap." Men don't seem to fall into this trap so easily. Men go out and find someone to do the task for them, which grows an organization more quickly. As a result, men tend to be big picture thinkers, which is better for setting the tone and direction of the start-up.
Women tend to be more sociable than men. In an environment where who you know and who knows you is more important than what you know, it is a strength to be outgoing and well-connected. Even men who are sociable tend to focus more on getting to know the right people, those who can help them get ahead, than women do.
When women leave college and start their careers, they build a network of other women professionals. By the time they are in their mid-thirties, many of these women will have left the work force to start a family or, if they do continue to work, to shift their priorities from their career to their family. As a result, many women find their network disappearing at the same time they catch the entrepreneurship bug.
Women founders are much more willing to discipline an under-performing employee, and much more likely to fire a non-performing employee, than men are. This is Mom versus Dad. Dad wants to win over the kids by giving them with whatever they want, or letting them do whatever they want. Mom considers their safety and health. Mom demands acceptable behavior. Mom puts her foot down. Women have a reputation for being the more nurturing of the species. If that's true in general, women entrepreneurs seem to be the exception.
Women tend to stick with a product concept or start-up longer, trying to work through it to find the answers. Men tend to abandon something as soon as they think there's a better opportunity available to them. Men will shut down a start-up, abandon one start-up for a more promising one, or change direction faster. While this trait of women has its upside, the downside is that women can sometime "beat a dead dog," trying to make a non-viable idea work.
Like it or not, women have more difficulty getting a company funded than men. Since women don't get financial backing, they start companies that don't require a big initial investment. As a result, women tend to build service companies or start-ups that can generate revenue quickly. Men are more likely to start a company with a long product-development cycle, which requires outside capital to develop the first version of the product before sales can cover operating expenses.
Most men founders who found a tech company have technical backgrounds. They were trained as engineers, programmers, or scientists. Most women founders have backgrounds in sales, marketing, or product management.
Every year, I attend the local Teen Entrepreneurship Conference. I noticed that young women almost always start ventures with a social purpose. They want to help humanity or save the environment. The young men only care about making money. Men almost never start a social venture. They want to start ventures that maximize revenue and profits. Investors often point out that women don't propose start-ups that are big enough to interest them and that women think too small. Men will propose businesses that shoot for the moon.
Women are more capital-efficient. A woman is more likely to start a company from her home, and only after it has taken off will she move into an office. A man will start by renting office space.
I know a woman who is a speech coach. When giving presentations about their start-ups, everyone needs to be convincing. The listener keys on the non-verbal signals sent by the speaker. When she first observes their presentations meant to convince an audience, women non-verbally beg, whereas men demand.
Start-ups with co-founders are more successful. Women are much more likely to be the sole founder, whereas men are more likely to be co-founders. Women do co-found start-ups with men. Sometimes the co-founder was their husbands.
SUCCESSFUL WOMEN ENTREPRENEUR:
Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi (Tamil: à®‡à®¨à¯à®¤à®¿à®°à®¾ à®¨à¯‚à®¯à®¿) (born 28 October 1955) is an Indian-American business executive and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo, the second largest food and beverage business in the world by net revenue. According to Forbes, she is consistently ranked among World's 100 Most Powerful Women.
Nooyi joined PepsiCo in 1994 and was named president and CFO in 2001. Nooyi has directed the company's global strategy for more than a decade and led PepsiCo's restructuring, including the 1997 divestiture of its restaurants into Tricon, now known as Yum! Brands. Nooyi also took the lead in the acquisition of Tropicana in 1998, and merger with Quaker Oats Company, which also brought Gatorade to PepsiCo. In 2007 she became the fifth CEO in PepsiCo's 44-year history.
According to BusinessWeek, since she started as CFO in 2000, the company's annual revenues have risen 72%, while net profit more than doubled, to $5.6 billion in 2006.
Nooyi was named on Wall Street Journal's list of 50 women to watch in 2007 and 2008, and was listed among Time's 100 Most Influential People in The World in 2007 and 2008. Forbes named her the #3 most powerful woman in 2008. Fortune ranked her the #1 most powerful woman in business in 2009 and 2010. On the 7th of October 2010 Forbes magazine ranked her the 6th most powerful woman in the world.
Dame Anita Roddick, DBE (23 October 1942 - 10 September 2007) was a British businesswoman, human rights activist and environmental campaigner, best known as the founder of The Body Shop, a cosmetics company producing and retailing beauty products that shaped ethical consumerism. The company was one of the first to prohibit the use of ingredients tested on animals and one of the first to promote fair trade with third world countries.
Roddick was involved in activism and campaigning for environmental and social issues, including involvement with Greenpeace and The Big Issue. In 1990, Roddick founded Children On The Edge, a charitable organisation which helps disadvantaged children in eastern Europe and Asia.
In 2003, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Roddick a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
In 2004, Roddick was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis due to long-standing hepatitis C. After she revealed this to the media in February 2007, she promoted the work of the Hepatitis C Trust, and campaigned to increase awareness of the disease.
Roddick opened the first Body Shop with the aim of making an income for herself and her two daughters while her husband was away in South America, with the idea of providing quality skin care products in refillable containers and sample sizes, all marketed with truth rather than hype. She opened her second shop six months later. On her husband's return, he joined the business. By 1991, the Body Shop had 700 branches, and Roddick was awarded the 1991 World Vision Award for Development Initiative. In 1993 she told Third Way Magazine:
" The original Body Shop was a series of brilliant accidents. It had a great smell, it had a funky name. It was positioned between two funeral parlours--that always caused controversy. It was incredibly sensuous. It was 1976, the year of the heat wave, so there was a lot of flesh around. We knew about storytelling then, so all the products had stories. We recycled everything, not because we were environmentally friendly, but because we didn't have enough bottles. It was a good idea. What was unique about it, with no intent at all, no marketing nous, was that it translated across cultures, across geographical barriers and social structures. It wasn't a sophisticated plan, it just happened like that. "
In 1997, Anita developed the Body Shop's most successful campaign ever, creating Ruby, the size 16 doll, who was thought to bear a passing resemblance to Barbie. The campaign evolved from a new strategic positioning developed by ethical communications consultancy Host Universal, who created the image of the naked red-haired doll, hands behind her head and wind in her hair, that became the embodiment of the campaign. The photographer was Steve Perry.
By 2004, the Body Shop had 1980 stores, serving over 77 million customers throughout the world. It was voted the second most trusted brand in the United Kingdom, and 28th top brand in the world.
On 17 March 2006, L'Oréal purchased Body Shop for £652 million. This caused controversy, because L'Oréal is involved in animal testing and because the company is part-owned by Nestlé, which has been criticised for its treatment of third world producers. Anita Roddick addressed it directly in an interview with The Guardian, which reported that "she sees herself as a kind of 'Trojan horse' who by selling her business to a huge firm will be able to influence the decisions it makes. Suppliers who had formerly worked with the Body Shop will in future have contracts with L'Oréal, and whilst working with the company 25 days a year Roddick was able to have an input into decisions."
DISADVANTAGE AND ADVANTAGE OF WOMEN ENTREPRENEUR:
One of the most significant barriers to female entrepreneurship is the capital financing barrier. When starting a business, entrepreneurs need to line up capital to get the business "off of the ground." According to Mai Nguyen, female entrepreneurs often get their initial funding from family loans, savings, credit cards and home equity loans. However, women can obtain capital from government startup programs, self-funding and venture capitalists, among other sources. When women have promising business ideas, it is less difficult for them to obtain startup capital. Therefore, having solid business plans with persuasive product or service ideas helps reduce the finance barrier for women.
Lack of Networks
Female entrepreneurs are more likely to encounter difficulty because they are less likely to be associated with networks of people who can help them launch and sustain businesses. "Networks" include people who provide mentorship, referrals, help and valuable information to entrepreneurs. Men tend to dominate the highest levels of corporate leadership. Therefore, there are less women available to provide valuable advice to female entrepreneurs. Women also face "customer/supplier" discrimination, which occurs when customers or suppliers discriminate against women-owned firms. In response, women business leaders can create their own networks to cultivate the success of female entrepreneurs. However, these networks should include men who can also be helpful to fund-raising, business strategy or other critical areas.
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In the United States, women are more likely to shoulder a greater share of child-rearing duties. Children may demand their mothers' undivided attention, which can be a challenge for female entrepreneurs to deal with. Building and running a new business requires a great deal of time, which may conflict with one's family obligations. Women in this situation must balance their family life with their duties as entrepreneurs. For example, parents can communicate about the need to devote some time during the day solely on business, while other times can be devoted to family matters.
Although both men and women can face issues of self-doubt, or lack confidence to compete in the business market, men do not suffer from the same degree of "prejudgment" as do women entrepreneurs. For example, male business leaders may not believe that their female counterparts can compete or innovate to the degree that men can. The basis of these views are stereotypes about women. Having female mentors and confidants can help instill self confidence in your abilities as a female entrepreneur.
Social Networking. Let's face it-women are natural networkers. They love to talk, mingle, and rub elbows. This is the very reason why husbands rarely ever manage the social calendar. In today's business environment, mastering social media is mandatory, and the ladies absolutely have a leg up!
Want to read more about women entrepreneurs? Check these out:
How To Grow A Woman-Owned Business
Incubating Innovative Women Entrepreneurs
Are Women Less Interested In Entrepreneurship Than Men?
2. Intuition. They call it "women's intuition" for a reason. Women in general can size up another person much faster than her male counterpart. In today's ultra-fast paced business environment, you need the ability to quickly identify the allies and the enemies. Regardless if you are a male or female, you need to trust your gut.
3. Pain Tolerance. Okay, initially I would have said this is irrelevant. But after watching my children be born, there is no question that my wife can handle a lot more pain than I can. And I am not just talking physical pain, I mean emotional, too (have you seen how tough children can be on their mothers?). In business, there are a lot of painful moments. A lot. Women definitely have an advantage in this area.
4. Multi-tasking. Women are known for juggling many tasks at the same time and still being able to produce excellent results. Conversely, the guys are masters at focusing on one thing. Still, the advantage in today's distracting environment goes to women.
5. Patience. Women inherently seem to have more patience. And in today's business environment, patience is key! Aggressive business strategies are not paying off like they once did. Slow and steady wins the race in this category.
6. Listening. A friend of mine went to buy a new bed at a small bedding store owned by a husband and wife team. The female owner approaches my friend and asked all kinds of questions about why they needed a new bed, if they could fix their old bed, what else they were considering, etc. She asked questions and listened closely. She clearly showed that she cared about helping to meet their needs. My friend was moments away from buying any bed that she recommended. But just then, the frustrated husband on the sales team ran up and said "let me handle this." Then he just tried to hard close the sale. He was pushy, telling them what he recommended and what they had to have. Guess what? The sale was lost the second he began speaking! They walked out. I am sure he blamed her, but it was him. The key is to ask questions and really listen. Quite frankly, any great sales person knows this, man or woman, it just seems that the ladies are naturally better at doing it.