Why women make the best entrepreneurs

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Why women make the best entrepreneurs

Despite the entrepreneurship gap between men and women, it is widely considered that women leaders in business have specific qualities that make them better entrepreneurs than men. If you go through business and entrepreneurship blogs and magazines, there is a recognition of female leadership being slightly different yet very effective. Why is that?

Women don’t take unnecessary risks

Although risk-taking is usually a defining quality of an entrepreneur, many business owners overestimate their ability to cope with failure. Women, on the other hand, tend to second-guess themselves. Although at times this may lead to hesitation, it also allows women to analyze the situations properly before taking action. Rather than chasing any opportunity available to them, women leaders are more likely to choose an appropriate course of action. Yet, they actually take more risks than men – just not unnecessary ones.

Women want everyone to feel included and engaged

Women business leaders are more likely to include their fellow co-workers and underlings in decision making. They are usually more supportive and inclusive of people who are making an effort to improve their work and they are less judgmental, willing to accept different points of view to build a common vision shared by all. In short, women’s leadership tends to make businesses more democratic and inclusive to everyone involved.

Women are not afraid to ask for assistance

Oftentimes, male business leaders will refrain from asking for assistance because they want to appear in control. Women, on the other hand, are more willing to understand that asking for assistance is better than making a mistake that can damage the enterprise. If women are unsure of something, they prefer to consult with experts who might guide them through the process. Women are not afraid to put the needs of their business ahead of their ego, and that can make a tremendous difference.

Women leaders are more determined and ambitious than men

Although women are usually considered to be more restrained than men, research suggest they are actually more determined and they pursue their goals very seriously. Perhaps because women know they will have to work twice as hard to achieve the same goals as men, when they decide to invest in a business they really want to succeed. Also, unlike men, women tend to boast less about their success and always think they can do better. This way, they keep pushing themselves to achieve their goals and beyond.

Women do more with less

Interestingly, because access to finance and investments are so difficult for women, a study showed that women only need about half of what a man needs to start a business. Women are not willing to back down, even if they have fewer resources. As female entrepreneurs are used to having less opportunities and money than men, they just come up with different plans and strategies to guarantee they can still reach their goals. Women-led businesses tend to earn less and be smaller than men, but women are not scared to start a business even if they know it will not be as large as they wished.

Women have a long-term view

For men, the most important thing is to grow their business as quickly as possible. They are more susceptible to getting caught in short-term goals, while women plan long-term. Women prefer to invest in sustainable growth that generates revenue and that allows them to keep investing in their business, rather than hurrying the expansion of their enterprises. This focus on long-term planning might explain why women, despite having fewer opportunities and money, manage to keep their businesses afloat.

Women define success differently

For women, success is not only about profits, although it is obviously a major concern. The legacy of their business for the next generations is very important for women to feel successful, as well as the social impact of their enterprises. This is one more reason why women generally make better social entrepreneurs and are more likely to start a social enterprise – it is not all just about the money. As such, women have a more holistic approach to success and are not solely focused on the numbers.

 Women entrepreneurs are actually happier

In the U.S., women entrepreneurs are actually happier than men. As women tend to start businesses later in life, entrepreneurship provides a lot of women with the necessary flexibility to balance work and family life. Furthermore, although women tend to have lower confidence than men entrepreneurs, once their businesses actually become successful they feel much happier. By feeling more confident about their abilities to achieve their goals, women’s happiness and self-esteem also improve. We should also keep in mind that starting a business is for many women the only way possible to reach leadership roles, so the lack of a “glass ceiling” for women entrepreneurs may also be important.

Yes, women are better entrepreneurs

In 2018, a study that analyzed data from U.S. Census Bureau, Dow Jones and the Harvard Business Review, among others, found that women-led businesses fare much better than men’s in 5 key areas:

“1. Female-owned firms generate higher revenues, while male-owned businesses have higher survival rates;

2. Female-owned firms create more jobs than their male-owned peers;

3. Women executives significantly improve startup company performance;

4. Women are more effective in Senior Leadership roles;

5. Women have a larger appetite for growth.”

In short, women in business are more profitable, create more jobs and are more effective. Considering how much women still struggle to make it in entrepreneurship, this kind of data should contribute to key changes in policy-making to encourage more women to become their own bosses.

This text was produced in the framework of the project "Support to Priority Actions for Gender Equality in Serbia", implemented by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) with funding from the European Union. The views contained in the text are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of UN Women, the United Nations or any of its affiliated organizations. The project is part of the initiative for supporting women entrepreneurship, women in rural areas, decreasing labor market and employment discrimination, encouraging dialogue on the importance of economic empowerment of women and exchange of knowledge and information among women entrepreneurs.