Gender-Neutral Approach to Business Success: Just Do It
Anything boys can do, girls can do better. As kids, we used to hear that phrase all the time. It seems, however, when it comes to business – to date, at least – that adage may not be quite right. That’s if you buy into the statistics as presented in the recently released 2014 State of Women-Owned Business Report, commissioned by American Express Open.
I feel those stats are skewed. In fairness, I’m going to present them here. However, before you read them, keep in mind most people, including women, do not go into their new business venture thoroughly prepared. I feel strongly if entrepreneurs took advantage of all the free help available, these statistics would be remarkably different.
According to the Report, “the number of women-owned firms grew at 1½ times the national average” between 1997 and 2014. In fact, it says, women own more than 9.1 million firms and they employ close to eight million people. The National Association of Women Business Owners reports that women-owned businesses generated $1.4 trillion in sales in 2014 – and that number has steadily risen year over year.
The numbers are great. However, a closer look at the statistics reveals that women-owned businesses aren’t succeeding where it counts most. Presuming the main goal of any business is to make money, women-owned businesses just aren’t making as much as their male-founded counterparts.
- Of all companies with $1 million or more in revenue in the U.S., only 1.8 percent are women-owned.
- Further, only 4.2 percent of all women-owned businesses in the U.S. have more than one million dollars in revenues.
The logical question is “why?” Why are women hitting the ground running with their businesses and then falling short of earning potential? The answer is both extremely simple and entirely far too complicated.
So, in this short article, I’ll focus on the simple answer. I believe wholeheartedly that any entrepreneur willing to invest the time and energy into launching a business can be an incredible financial success. Owning a business that makes enough to allow you to be able to save $1 million isn’t that difficult. It is about scale and growing your business; it is not just about creating a job. It’s not just hard work, dedication and the willingness to following basic best business practices. You need to know where to find help and advice to take your business to the next step.
If the glut of information on the Internet dedicated to offering women tips about how to be a “successful woman in business” is any indication, women-business owners are spending too much time looking for the special sauce when the recipe for success is far more straightforward.
The point is: many organizations know how to write the road map to success. They have done it time and time again. These same organizations are full of people who have had success in your industry and will help you get there. You just have to ask questions, follow sound advice, and implement.
You do not need a new innovative idea. You just need a good idea. You need an idea people will be willing to spend their money on. However, to do that, you do not even need your own money. There are investors out there looking for good solid investments. Why shouldn’t they invest in your business – especially when you have a sound business plan supported by your confidence and enthusiasm?
Further, there are a ton of people out there to help you succeed at every turn with free advice. Visit the Small Business Development Centers at the U.S. Small Business Administration to find out everything you need to know about getting started, including how to register as a woman-owned business. Check out the SCORE Association: to connect with people who’ve been there and done that successfully. Go to the Women’s Business Centers for answers to all the questions you need answers to today. You’ll also find out everything you didn’t know you needed to know. All of these organizations essentially perform the same services, a mentor/advisor and instruction.
Look, I get it. Women make 70 cents on every dollar a man makes in the workplace. But we aren’t talking about individual salaries here. We are focused on creating and growing a business that makes you, its owner, a millionaire.
If you are already confident, knowledgeable and have great leadership skills – awesome, you are ahead of the game. However, those skills can be learned and honed. To start, you just need to be a woman ready to take action and be willing to learn. Building a successful business isn’t rocket science. You aren’t curing cancer (unless you are trying to cure cancer). Take advantage of the experience – success and failures – of those who have gone before you, seek out advice and to put it to work.
All of the tools you need to start and grow a company to where you can make enough to save $1,000,000 are out there for the taking.So go out there and take them. You’ll have a great chance to succeed a million times over, regardless of your gender.