When people think of entrepreneurs, they still often think of men. While the world has changed in the last 50+ years, certain individuals’ mindsets and perceptions continue to go into traditional ‘default mode’ when envisioning the gender of a successful business owner or leader.
However, numerous studies have shown that women make the best entrepreneurs. Many people have tried to understand what characteristics women have within themselves that make them so great at both starting and running businesses.
As a female entrepreneur and business owner myself, and someone who has worked with numerous entrepreneurs – both male and female, I have been able to observe firsthand some of the traits that make women entrepreneurs so effective and successful.
1) Women know how to multitask
Being a successful entrepreneur requires multitasking. You must get a lot of things done and are often balancing both short- and long-term goals along with competing priorities. Many women have a natural ability to multitask. Years ago, when most women were primarily in the home, they were accustomed to cleaning the house, cooking, taking care of children, organizing schedules, participating in the community, etc. There was not an option to only do one thing at a time. Women’s minds give them the ability to take care of what is in front of them while handling and remembering everything else that needs to be done. Those qualities translate well when overseeing a business.
2) Women know how to anticipate needs
Most women have inherent empathic strengths. That gives them the ability to recognize and anticipate needs in others. Being a successful entrepreneur requires understanding and meeting the needs (both realized and unrealized) of customers, investors, employees, vendors, and all other stakeholders. When you understand needs, you can then effectively work to meet them. This typically translates into higher sales, customer loyalty, employee retention, great vendor relationships, and happier investors.
3) Women often work harder to prove themselves
Since there are fewer women entrepreneurs than men, the ones who choose to take the leap often work harder to prove themselves. They understand that some people might not take them seriously, may believe they can’t handle being a great entrepreneur if they are balancing running their companies while also having a family, that they may be ‘too emotional’ to handle issues, or too timid to go after opportunities. Given this, many women entrepreneurs focus on going above and beyond and putting in additional efforts to dispel these perceptions. They always make sure to be prepared and follow-through and consistently deliver the best quality in all aspects of their business.
4) Women tend to focus more on profitability
Women tend to take more calculated risks and focus more on profitability. While it has tempered a bit, there was a time, especially during the dot com craze years ago, when investors were willing to support companies who had a great idea, but not necessarily a great business model when it came to making a profit. On the other hand, women want to increase their probability of success and are typically more methodical in ensuring that they have a strong business model and are executing it in a way where they have profits left over to reinvest in the business and give their investors a great return.
When thinking from a generational standpoint, many women homemakers in the past were responsible for managing their family’s finances, especially when it came to running the home. Many women paid the bills and ensured everything was done on time and in an organized way, even when their husbands were working at their jobs and were the primary breadwinners.
These same skill sets easily translate to being an entrepreneur and running a successful business today.
5) Women tend to take more managed risks
Women tend to take more managed and calculated risks because they know that they are often being scrutinized more than men. They understand they are role models as well as entrepreneurs, and the spotlight or story on their business’ success or failure might be perceived differently.
Also, most women’s nurturing side propels them to want to take care of their employees and stakeholders in a way that does not put them in a situation where they gamble recklessly and take on unnecessary risk. This enables women to better understand risks and still capitalize on opportunities to grow, expand, and take their business to the next level, while also showing a level of restraint.
Women make the best entrepreneurs because they know how to multitask, anticipate needs, work harder to prove themselves, focus more on profitability, and tend to take more managed risks.
Having women entrepreneurs makes the business world and society better. Let us celebrate and support women entrepreneurs. They deserve it. They are the best.