Guest post by Elaine Love, owner of Results For Life LLC (learn more about the author at the end of the article)
Women-owned businesses are among the leaders in job creation and revenue growth. Make no mistake, we’re not talking about fluffy industries; we’re talking about construction, transportation, accommodation and food, and wholesale.
There are three repeated focus points which distinguish women-owned businesses from their male counterparts. They have an attitude of education and service – service to the community and service to each other. Women start their businesses lean and continue to run lean as they grow. Women focus on efficiency and improving every aspect of their businesses.
57% of all college students are women. By 2019 that gap is expected to widen to 60%. Women Value knowledge. This is also supported by the fact that women tend to finish their degrees earlier than their male counterparts. By age twenty-five, 30% of women have their degree where only 22% of men have received their diploma.
Jim Rohn, famous business philosopher, said, “Knowledge without action is wasted wisdom.”
Angela Jia Kim applied her knowledge and ambition into the formation of Omaroma. In an endeavor to reach out to other women in business, she formed the networking group Savor the Success. Together they networked, shared ideas, challenges and solutions. Angela’s philosophy was “Give, give, get.” This attitude of giving before getting epitomizes the theme of so many successful women in business; they create an incredible culture within their organizations. Barbara Corcoran of the Corcoran Group created a real estate empire by first creating a business culture.
This attitude of mutual support, sharing of knowledge and service has extended beyond their businesses into the community. When the economy became increasingly challenging, women in business increased their involvement in civic, social or school activities. This increased community involvement not only extended the willingness to serve others but also increased their positive exposure within the community.
As president of our local Rotary club (Rotary’s motto is “service above self”), I relate totally to this giving and serving philosophy. Rotary and other highly respected community organizations are excellent opportunities for women in business to demonstrate our values. Whenever possible, set the example; we are known more by what we practice than what we say.
As an aside, my theme song is “Don’t tell me I can’t; Don’t tell me I won’t; Don’t tell me I’m past my prime.” Perhaps you can relate.
In 2012 there were 8.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States. Generating $1.3 trillion in revenue and employing 7.7 million is proof that even though the economy has been challenging, it has not stopped women in business from achieving their goals. The 7.7 million employees of women-owned businesses are 40% more than McDonalds, IBM and Wal-Mart combined. The $1.3 trillion revenue is more than the combined market cap of Apple, Microsoft, General Electric, Google and Sony. Celebrate the achievements of women-owned businesses.
The national average reports a growth rate of 37% in total businesses. Women-owned businesses increased 54%. It is interesting to note that three of the five states with the fastest growth were southern states: Georgia 95%, Nevada 92%, North Carolina 83%, Mississippi 75% and Texas 75%. (Texas as South Central could be considered number four)
Run Lean – Run Smart
Start-ups create the largest share of new jobs. Of the 27.1 million small businesses, 29% are owned by women and 21% are owned by racial or ethnic minorities. Why is that fact significant? The current United States unemployment rate is discouraging; especially if you have been unable to secure a position equal to your prior employment. The combined rate of these two groups represents half of the nation’s total output and an equal share of the total private sector employment. It is well documented that small businesses, particularly these two sectors, account for 74% of the total increase in jobs and 62% of the net new increase in employment. In addition, these two groups tend to hire the workers hardest hit by unemployment.
Once again women-owned businesses are serving and assisting their communities and fellow citizens. Rashmi Sinha of SlideShare cautions women not to focus on the difficulty; she focuses “on doing my thing and trying to do it well.”
From start-up capital through the growth stages, women have to rely on their own resources to fund their businesses. Women receive 80% less first year funding than men. Women own 30% of the United States businesses and attract only 5% of the nation’s equity capital. Of the 8.3 million women-owned businesses, 5.5% used a loan as funding for their start-up compared to 10.7% overall. Women-owned businesses started lean and continued to run lean. Why? Did they choose that path out of necessity or growth strategy; perhaps a bit of both.
Policy makers are most concerned about access to credit as a means for small businesses to grow; women place that issue at the bottom of the list.
Innovation and Efficiency
Women in business list improving management efficiency, improving product and service quality, improving product and service innovation, lowering labor and overhead and increasing business to business sales as their top five growth strategy objectives.
Women-owned businesses are not only growing faster than the national rate, but generating more revenue and more employment. All of this growth is being accomplished with an attitude of learning and sharing; sharing with each other and sharing with their communities. Their growth strategy has proven itself in every aspect of the marketplace. Never under-estimate the resourcefulness and accomplishments of women in business.
About the Author
Elaine Love is the owner of Results For Life LLC, a professional development firm that provides assistance in not only surviving but thriving in a challenging economy. She is a successful facilitator, workshop leader, trainer, author, keynote speaker, entrepreneur, and business owner. You can find Elaine at Elaine4Success.com, on Twitter (@Elaine44), Facebook, and LinkedIn.