As a mentor and strategic advisor to many entrepreneurs, male and female, I’ve seen each grapple with common business growth issues: access to capital, knowledge/skills gaps and time management, but note distinct differences in how they perceive and tackle them. For simplicity, we’ll focus on the three big ‘Ds’:
Women business owners tend to dislike debt financing relative to their male peers, preferring organic company growth through reinvestment. This is understandable, as many like the independence that ownership confers, and the thought of being financially ‘beholden’ to anyone displeasing. Others, unsuccessful in securing business loans sometimes assume they are turned away “because they are a woman”. The fact is women have a stronger track record of paying back loans in full and on time than male loan clients. And bankers know this, which is why they are increasingly courting women entrepreneurs and introducing training that helps loan officers ease women’s misgivings about taking on debt.
Women’s Enterprise Centre is one of several BC organizations that supports women’s financial management skills development and provides one-on-one advisory in the smart use of debt to unleash growth and achieve even greater financial independence through their own hard work.
Women also have a tendency toward self-sufficiency. They don’t like to ‘bother others’ for what we can handle perfectly well ourselves. When this carries over into the workplace, it can mean inefficient time management for a woman business owner. As a rule women tend to delay hiring on contractors and staff until they are under personal stress from the workload. Profitability comes from efficient and effective operations. As the CEO and owner, are you the best person to be running to the post office or picking up extra office supplies? What new business could you be winning with that hour?
Finally, women are more likely to ‘discount’ their capabilities. As a result they take fewer bold ‘leaps of faith’ in bidding large contracts or approaching top tier partners in their industry. The book “Everything I need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” is a great reminder that certain essential skills are as critically useful in the boardroom as they are on the playground. Pursue each goal the same way you approach life – head on – and you’ll find the roadblocks were really only speed bumps after all.
Aileen McManamon is the Founding Partner of 5T Sports Group, a management consultancy that works with professional sports teams to improve the bottom line. The firm has a particular focus in implementing ‘green’ practices and introducing new technology applications that drive profitability. She’s also a supporter of many women in business initiatives and organizations and lends her expertise as a contract Business Advisor to Women’s Enterprise Centre. If you’d like to connect with Aileen, you can find her on LinkedIn at ca.linkedin.com/in/aileenmcmanamon/