11 Reasons Why ’14 Will Be a Break-Out Year for Women Entrepreneurs (via Forbes.com)
There’s definitely something in the air these days (besides the polar vortex) that has me feeling very optimistic about 2014. Just when I thought it was simply a case of the traditional “New Year, New You” vibes we all catch at the top of January, the good folks over at Forbes.com confirmed my beliefs. Today, the highly respected media outlet published a story titled “11 Reasons Why 2014 Will Be a Break-Out Year For Women Entrepreneurs” and guess what? I’m here for it! Following are snippets from their top 11 reasons why this is the year YOU should launch your brand:
1. Women have the right stuff: Women make better leaders than men, according to research conducted by Zenger Folkman. “They build better teams; they’re more liked and respected as managers; they tend to be able to combine intuitive and logical thinking more seamlessly; they’re more aware of the implications of their own and others’ actions; and they think more accurately about the resources needed to accomplish a given outcome,” said Jack Zenger and Joseph Folksman in Forbes.
2. The proof is in the pudding: Two research reports find that women deliver better company performance.
Venture-backed companies that include females as senior executives are more likely to succeed than companies with only men in charge, according to Women at the Wheel: Do Female Executives Drive Start-Up Success? a report by Dow Jones VentureSource. VC firms that invest in women-led businesses performed better than all men-led businesses, according to the SBA Office of Advocacy.
3. Diversity improves performance and increases innovation: Organizations that are the most inclusive of women in top management achieve 35% higher return on equity (ROE) and 34% better total return to shareholders versus their peers – and research shows gender diversity to be particularly valuable where innovation is key, according to research conducted by Illuminate Ventures.
4. Untapped spending power: Women shouldn’t rush out and buy products made by women just because we’re the same sex. However, women understand other women. That insight gives us an edge in developing products that better meet our needs. With 80% of consumer spending controlled by women, and women having considerable influence on spending categories that are considered the domain of men, such as autos and electronics, that is a whole lot of purchasing power for products and services developed by women.
5. Women use the power of their portfolios: While the percent of women angel investors is still small — 22% — it jumped 50% from 2011 to 2012, according to the Center for Venture Research.
6. Men are bullish on women: It’s not just Warren Buffett who is bullish on women. Vivek Wadwa, academic, writer, and entrepreneur is a vocal critic of the underfunding of women-led companies by Silicon Valley and a supporter of women-led businesses. He is crowd-creating and funding a book about women’s global participation in the innovation economy. Male angel investors, such as Adam Quinton, recognize that the failure of the angel market in general to invest in promising women-led companies provides greater opportunity for him.
7. Women are building a vibrant and layered ecosystem: There are tons of networking groups to choose from. Some are general in focus and have been around for a long time, such as the National Association of Women Business Owners. Others, such as Women 2.0, are focused on specific types of women, such as those starting technology companies. One of the newest to the scene is digitalundivided, which is focused on women of color working in the digital space.
8. Women are shedding their cloak of invisibility: Last year was the first time that two American-born non-celebrity entrepreneurs — Sara Blakely and Tory Burch — made the 2013 FORBES World’s Most Powerful Women list. One of the selection criteria is media presence. Pretty impressive when you consider they’re competing with the likes of Hillary Clinton, Oprah and Sheryl Sandberg.
9. Women are starting to blow out their networks: Women are beginning to get the importance of networking: The bigger and more diverse your network the more likely your business is to break revenue barriers.
10. Women never stop learning: Admitting that you don’t know everything — and never will — is key to growth. Interestingly, self development is one of those areas in which women outshine men, according to Zenger Folkman’s research. Women share, and some women who have built $10 million plus businesses shared their secrets. You can learn a lot from trailblazers. Women listen, read business books and publications, and attend professional development training, etc. We are also learning to seek outside counsel from mentors and advisors, and participate in peer advisory groups.
11. Some women use failure as a launching pad to success: Women tend to be perfectionists. Speaking about failure goes against our grain. But, the truth is, no one will succeed all the time. We learn more from our failures than our successes. Kudos to Sallie Krawcheck for publicly talking about being fired from two big jobs. Even better, she didn’t hide afterwards. She picked herself up, dusted herself off, and bought 85 Broads – a networking organization for women who want to advance their careers.
As you can imagine, #10 and #11 truly hit home for me as In Her Shoes was created to give women entrepreneurs a safe place to share both their brand building successes and mistakes in an effort to inspire others. Click here to check out the entire story on Forbes.com.
Enjoy and let’s make 2014 our most productive, blissful and lucrative year yet!