For years, women have had to adapt to the male way of doing things, even when starting our businesses. But things are changing! The number of women growing their businesses beyond $1 million has reached a tipping point. An impressive 24% of all businesses have more than 50% ownership by women, according to a report by the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce.
I just finished reading Being Equal Doesn’t Mean Being the Same: Why Behaving Like a Girl Can Change Your Life and Grow Your Business by Joanna Krotz. It’s an exciting time for women who recognize that trying to climb corporate ladders is limiting and too rigid. Instead, they are striking out on their own. These women are rewriting the rules for business, families and society.
Krotz shows how using our unique strengths women are blending purpose and profit to the betterment of all.
Women are creating competitive advantage by incorporating cause marketing. “By linking their brand and marketing to a cause, they can boost customer awareness, drive sales, burnish their reputation, give back to the community and lower marketing costs, all at the same time,” writes Krotz. Both Adrienne Lenhoff ‒ of Shazaaam! PR, an agency based outside Detroit ‒ and Diana Kimbrell – of Kimbrell & Company, a cause marketing agency based in Sausalito, California ‒ help nonprofits and corporations implement cause-marketing programs.
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Tory Burch knew from the first day of starting her business that she wanted to include a foundation that supported the growth of women-owned businesses. Others are following suit. Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss of Rent the Runway have created a foundation. They’ve launched Project Entrepreneur, which offers the training and networks women need to build their companies.
Women are 1.17 times more likely than men to create social ventures rather than only economic ventures, and 1.23 times more likely to pursue environmental ventures than economic-focused ventures, according to Global Women’s Entrepreneurship Research: Diverse Settings, Questions and Approaches. Seventy percent of the women and only 62% of the men were committed to increasing the level of their sustainable activities, according to Cox Conserves, a national sustainability program run by Cox Communications and Media. In Women And Nature: A Powerful Combination For The Planet And Business Growth, it is highlighted several women who are using using environmental and socially responsible practices to grow their businesses.
“Participating in community and nonprofit activities is becoming a hallmark of women owners, significantly more so than for male-led companies” writes Krotz. Even though Amanda Kahlow, San Francisco-based 6Sense, is dedicated 24/7 to scaling her Big Data startup, she finds time to be an advisor to Girl Rising, an organization that works for global education of girls, and she openly talks about her staff as family.
“Women entrepreneurs are creating new and innovative work environments that cater to an evolving and modern workforce,” said Amanda Brown, Executive Director of the National Women’s Business Council. I’ve written about how Becca Apfelstadt, founder of Columbus, OH-based treetree, a 20 person marketing agency, that has developed a maternity leave policy.
Women are also finding that their project management and marketing skills can be used to raise money for their businesses from each other. Women are more successful at rewards-based crowdfunding than men.
There’s no doubt about it! Women are equal to but not the same as men and that’s good for society and good for the economy. How are you making a difference?